Theatre Mirror Reviews - "A Chorus Line"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"A Chorus Line"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Owner and producer, Bill Hanney and producing artistic director, Evans Haile spare no expense to bring Broadway style entertainment to the North Shore. This version of the show is performed without an intermission. From the opening montage of ballet, tap and jazz movements to the final chorus line, the magnificent choreography flows out to the audience, one song after another. Mark does a fantastic job recreating Michael Bennett's choreography from the original production. He molds them into brilliant dancers and has them make the most of the comic moments with some of the one-liners supplied by an uncredited Neil Simon as well as the comic songs "Sing" and "Dance Ten, Looks Three". Mark also does a tremendous job with the dramatic moments including the confrontation scene between Zach and Cassie, the gut wrenching monologue by Paul and the emotionally draining "What I Did For Love". Nicholas conducts a dynamic 11 piece orchestra and plays the lead keyboards. The harmonies of this cast in their solos, duets and trios are terrific to listen to. The most impressive costumes in this show are the finale designed by Jose Rivera.

This very talented cast is lead by Derek Hansen as the director/choreographer of the show within a show. His physical presence both onstage and throughout the theatre and his control of the cast is marvelous as are his confrontation scene with Cassie and his consolation scene with Paul. Derek has the chiseled good looks of a matinee idol reminding you of Clark Kent without glasses and is one of the best dancers I have seen play Zach. He handles both the dramatic and comic moments terrifically, making every bit of his dialogue meaningful. His best moment comes when Zach can't understand why Cassie has returned to audition for a chorus role after 10 years. Gorgeous raven haired Rebecca Riker plays Cassie, Zach's former girlfriend. She is spectacular in this role with an awesome soprano voice. Cassie explains her motives of why she has returned to audition for the chorus in "The Music and The Mirror" which stops the show with its intensity and shows off her breathtaking dancing prowess. Rebecca has an outstanding voice to go along with her fantastic dancing skills. Brava.Kurt Domoney plays Larry, Zach's assistant choreographer wonderfully and was the assistant choreographer for this show.. Julie Kotarides is fantastic as Diana. Her strong acting prowess comes through in this role when she displays the many layers of emotions as this character. Her marvelous singing voice sells the comic song, "Nothing" about her terrible improvisation teacher which wins her a multitude of laughter as well as the emotion packed anthem of this show "What I Did For Love" which leaves the audience in tears. The harmonic blend of the chorus in this number doesn't leave a dry eye in the theater with its powerful rendition. Miguel Angel Falcon is dynamite as Paul who is not only an excellent dancer but shows off his strong tenor voice in "Who am I Anyway?" and gives the monologue an impressive poignant rendition. The emotional monologue tells about Paul being molested at the movies as a child, eventually becoming a drag queen in the Jewel Box Theatre who is seen by his parents on closing night and is finally accepted by his father when he calls him, son.

Jonathan Day as Mike, does a fabulous job in this show especially in his solo number called "I Can Do That", performing a terrific tap dance with many athletic moves in it as well as his dynamic somersaults in it, too. The character explains how he took his sister's shoes to dance class one day and how he became the dancer in the family. One of the funniest performers in this show is red headed Katie Cameron as Sheila, the bitchy 30 year old diva. She has some of Neil Simon's best biting and cutting one liners, delivering them in a throaty, sexy voice and makes each of them strike pay dirt. Katie, Cary Michele Miller as Maggie and Katerina Papacostas as Bebe sing the touching "At the Ballet" number which tells about their tough family life while growing up. Both Cary and Katerina get to show off their terrific soprano voices in this song. (I last reviewed Cary as Peter Pan the summer of 2009 at TBTS) The other cast members do ballet moves in the aisles dancing in red light. Another comic role is Val, played by Leslie Flesner who sings and dances up a storm in her tits and ass number called "Dance 10, Looks 3". Her strong belting voice soars over the audience and her colorful language is hilarious, eliciting many laughs from the crowd. Other funny roles include Bobby played by Sean Quinn whose anecdotes about his family and line delivery are a hoot including one where he spray painted a kid with silver paint, broke into people's houses and rearranged the furniture, Greg played by Aaron Umstead who changed his name because he was Jewish, walked around during puberty with a constant hard on and realized he was gay while feeling a girl's boobs, Judy played by Bethany Moore who is high energy and bubbly as the girl who lost her number at the start of the show and Mark played by Christopher Shin who is the youngest auditioner at 20 years old and gets to tell a humorous story about thinking he had gonorrhea when he had a wet dream at the age of 13. Venny Caranza and Nancy Renee Braun as Al and Kristine are a laugh riot in the "Sing" number where the audience learns that Kristine can't sing so Al sings all her answers in his strong tenor voice. The married dancer Don is played by Joe Grandy who explains he needs the job to support his wife and two kids, tells a story about Lola Latour, a stripper while the basketball playing teacher-to-be Richie is played by Delius Doherty who shows off his dynamite voice and dancing skills during "Hello 12" which is one of the strongest ensemble numbers in the show and the shortest member of the line, Connie is played by Hannah Chin who sings four foot ten and wishes she had one of Val's boobs. All of them have their moments to strut their stuff and shine in their roles. So for a trip back to 1975, be sure to catch this fantastic, high energy musical before it dances its way of town. (I also reviewed 2 other cast members before Brian Bailey in 6 shows at TBTS and he will be earning his equity card in this show as well as Maggie Marino in "A Chorus Line" in 2004 in Worcester, MA and in "Anything Goes" when she was a student at Bishop Feehan High School.)

"A Chorus Line" (2 - 21 November)
NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE
62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY MA
1(978)232-7200

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