Audiences will remember ‘A Chorus Line’ for its energy, its humanity and the way it faithfully captured the spirit of a show that’s about, well, spirit.
A CHORUS LINE earns rave reviews from Kitsap Sun’s Michael Moore. Read the full review below.
LOCAL THEATER: BPA richly captures the ‘singular sensation’ of ‘A Chorus Line’
Hard work shows in a production that’s long on casting, courage and commitment
- By Michael C. Moore firstname.lastname@example.org 360-792-9218
- Posted May 11, 2013 at 3:41 p.m., updated May 11, 2013 at 3:25 p.m.
Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2013/may/11/local-theater-bpa-richly-captures-the-singular-a/#ixzz2T22hdBeh
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BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — I’ll get around in short order to congratulating All Concerned for their on- and off-stage contributions to the opening-night performance of Bainbridge Performing Arts’ production of “A Chorus Line.”
But first, I’ve got to tip my hat to them all just for making it through the rehearsals.
The amount of preparation required by director Stephen Fogell and co-director—choreographer Joanna Hardie’s BPA company is … well, we already used the word “staggering” once, didn’t we? It’s a load and a half. What’s amazing is that the whole bunch of them weren’t staggering out of the customary “hell week” and into the first weekend of performances.
Despite its straightforward and spartan trappings, “A Chorus Line” is a hot-blooded bitch for a community theater group to even think about attacking. The choreography is staggering, the songs compositionally complex and vocally demanding, and the whole concept — musical theater stripped of its lavish sets, lush costumes and other accoutrements, in favor of a parade of human backstory and a whole lot of pedal-to-the-metal song and dance — challenging, to say the least.
That’s what BPA bunch — some of them trained dancers, some not so much — managed on opening night, and that’s probably the most impressive thing on a long list of impressive things about this production.
You know the players, who portray a gathering of dancers in a make-or-break audition for a new Broadway production, had to be tired, and bruised, and sore, and quite possibly under the weather, even before they hit the stage for opening night. But you wouldn’t have known it from the energy and trumped-up smiles (they are, after all, in an audition) and downright outstanding dance acumen to which they treated the opening-night full house.
That’s what show biz is all about: You work yourself ragged on the journey, and have to look like a million bucks at the destination.
I was excited when I saw that Witt — who’s been oustanding in previous BPA productions of “The Producers” and “Chicago” — was cast as Cassie, and she more than lived up to expectations, singing and dancing the daylights out of the show-stopping “The Music and the Mirror,” and deftly trading crackling dialogue with Paul Bryan’s Zach — who, as it turns out, is a lot more to her than just a prospective director.
And they don’t just dance. Backed by musical director Chris Kolbegger’s tight, brassy baker’s dozen set up behind the stage, the vocal sound is full — so much so that when the whole cast is cranked up, you’d swear Kolbegger’s got a few extra singers stashed back there somewhere, too. Individually, they start at good and get better. And amid all the crooning and hoofing, the show is acted well enough that the audience comes away caring about all of them.
The show’s hardest-hitting number is dependent on a triple-threat performance — sing, dance, emote — and BPA gets a dandy from Rebekah Witt as Cassie, perhaps the most desperate of those auditioning for spots in the chorus.
But the cast are all good. Port Townsend’s Jennifer Ewing was a potty-mouthed charmer as Val; her “Dance Ten; Looks Three” was a highlight. Diane Peterson’s Sheila was all attitude on the outside, all insecurity on the inside, and she handled some of the show’s trickier lyrics with aplomb. Bremerton’s Xavier Euzarraga was both funny and empathetic in his part of “Hello Twelve,” and Evan Louis Thomas was winning in an all-too-brief turn in “I Can Do That.” DeSean Halley and Ryan O’Donnell, both BPA regulars. were their usual strong selves. Hardie, adding the role of Zach’s assistant, Lorraine, to her duties, danced every step as if the world depended on it. Elizabeth Grant (Maggie) added another strong singing voice, and Elizabeth Racely maxed out the matter-of-fact emotion of “What I Did For Love.”
And if I didn’t mention someone by name, it doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate and admire their work. I did. All of them.
“A Chorus Line” is officially OPEN!
And what an opening we had! I, for one, have stupid amounts of fun performing in this show with such a wonderful team, I hope you all can come have fun with us too! Word on the street is that tickets are already close to sold out for tonight and tomorrow - so book quickly!
Thank you Bainbridge Performing Arts for having me in this fantastic production, and for all the love and support!
May 10-26, 7:30 Fridays/Saturdays, 3:00 Sundays
Click here to purchase your tickets online.
Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
Make it on the good days too.
Neil Gaiman, Keynote Address at The University of the Arts
Read or watch the full address here.
From Bainbridge Performing Arts:
Our second poster! Jennifer Ewing as Val and featuring the costume design of Barbara Klingberg, who worked on the original 1975 Broadway production under Theoni Aldredge.
UP NEXT: A CHORUS LINE
Jennifer will be playing Val Clark in Bainbridge Performing Arts’ production of contemporary musical classic, A Chorus Line.
Seventeen dancers face a bare stage in an empty theater, where casting for a new Broadway musical is almost complete. This audition offers the chance of a lifetime. Every drop of sweat, every hour of training, and every moment of dancing comes together in A Chorus Line, the musical for anyone who’s ever had a dream and put it all on the line.
Performances: May 10 – 26, 2013, Fridays & Saturdays @ 7:30 p.m. + Sundays @ 3:00 p.m.
Pay-What-You-Can Preview: Thursday, May 9 @ 7:30 p.m.
Opening Night Reception: Friday, May 10 @ 6:30 p.m.
Directed by Steven Fogell.
For tickets and more information: www.bainbridgeperformingarts.com
Jennifer was thrilled to be awarded special mention for her performance of Viola in Twelfth Night in the Best Actress (Non-Musical) category of the Kitsap Sun’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards for the 2012 season! Twelfth Night also received a nod in the Best Show (Non-Musical) category.
Many thanks and congratulations to Key City Public Theatre, and the wonderful cast and creative team behind Twelfth Night!
The full article can be read on the Kitsap Sun’s website.
Up Next: 17th Annual Playwright’s Festival at Key City Public Theatre. March 7-24.
Jennifer will be performing in two plays, Diptych Deluxe: What You Wish For by D.D Wigley and Two Angels Walk Into A Bar by Susan Solley, both directed by Zachary Hewell.
Tickets and more information available at www.keycitypublictheatre.org
Jennifer is interviewed by Dave Cunningham of 91.9 KPTZ, Radio Port Townsend about her acting career and future endeavors. Listen to the full segment, originally aired January 1, 2013.