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Victoria students bring feminist approach to Neil Simon show

Taxi girls were a phenomenon that began in the U.S. in the 19th century and continued until after the Second World War. Working in dance halls, taxi girls earned their money by collecting dance tickets paid for by male patrons.
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Canadian College of Performing Arts students Emily Rittammer, Annie O’Connor, Lara Hamburg, Avery Fehr and Joscelyne Tamburri strike a pose in Sweet Charity.

Taxi girls were a phenomenon that began in the U.S. in the 19th century and continued until after the Second World War.

Working in dance halls, taxi girls earned their money by collecting dance tickets paid for by male patrons. Sometimes, extra services were performed that earned these women a reputation as sex workers.

Instructors and students at the Victoria-based Canadian College of Performing Arts are determined to bring a feminist perspective to the 1966 musical theatre piece Sweet Charity.

Originally performed on Broadway, with a script by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and choreography by Bob Fosse, Sweet Charity offered a chance for student performers to discuss topical issues.

“Sweet Charity is about women who came to New York to be actors or dancers or secretaries or whatever and something happened,” said director Barbara Tomasic. “So are these issues and these values and this conflict still there?”

The Canadian College of Performing Arts has been training students in singing, dancing and acting for 20 years from its headquarters in Oak Bay, at 1701 Elgin Rd. It has 70 students from across Canada and around the world.

Sweet Charity runs Feb. 1 to Feb. 9. For information or to buy tickets, go to ccpacanada.com