Review of “A Chorus Line” by Roy Keeler – Pottstown Herald Staff Reporter
On Sunday afternoon, September 13th, I attended a matinee performance of “A Chorus Line” at the Genesius Theatre in Reading. The theatre is a very intimate space and my seat was dead center so viewing was perfect. The seat was comfortable which was good because this production is performed without an intermission.
The set is stark. Everything is black and there are large rectangular mirrors that can be turned to show the front or back sides. The orchestra is behind the mirrors and can only be glimpsed when the mirrors are being turned. The theatre was not full but that is to be expected for a Sunday matinee at 2 pm.
The Director and Co-Choreographer, Irving Gonzalez came out to welcome us and make the normal announcements. Without further delay, the show began.
The story revolves around a group of hopefuls auditioning to be part of a chorus line for a Broadway show. The characters run the spectrum of age, size, gender and orientation. The casting was well done. The individuals chosen seemed to fit their character extremely well. There is no elaborate set so the acting has to be believable in order to draw the viewer in. Otherwise, there is not much else to look at.
“A Chorus Line” is a musical. Two of the most important elements are singing and the orchestra. I found the singing good to excellent depending on the character and the orchestra was excellent. The orchestra plays almost constantly in this show and their timing is crucial. Everything was well executed and the group blended together nicely which is a direct reflection on Music Director Melody Pierce.
The last major element would be the dancing. Characters are singing and dancing for a good portion of the show although there are spoken lines as well. Again, I found the skill levels good to excellent depending on the character. Irving Gonzalez and Deena Linn did a fantastic job with the choreography!
Richard Bradbury did an outstanding job as Zach. Zach is the director who is auditioning the dancers. Richard plays his part extremely well and even spends time in the audience delivering lines which further involves you in the story.
Timothy Feeg plays Paul. Paul is deeply conflicted and bares his soul in an emotional recollection of how he came to terms with his orientation. Tim’s ability to capture these intense emotions is amazing.
Deena Linn plays Cassie. Cassie has a past with Zach which is uncovered as the story unfolds. Deena has another difficult character to portrait and captures the raw emotion of Cassie in all her flawed glory.
Comic relief is provided by Matthew Kleckner (Mark) who offers an R-rated adolescent memory during his interview with Zach, Erin Stevens (Val) with her naughty little song “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three” (the original title more aptly suits the song) and Christina Ferlazzo (Kristine) with her very funny rendition of “Sing!”
The most familiar and anticipated song for me was “One”. It was well done. I definitely enjoyed the costume change at the end. The glitzy finale provides the appropriate closure and left us on a high note!
After seeing this production, it is no surprise “A Chorus Line” was one of the longest running and most highly awarded Broadway musicals of all time. In my humble opinion, this production does justice to the story and provides several hours of highly enjoyable entertainment. Kudos to everyone involved for bringing Broadway to Berks!
This is not a show for young children as some of the subject matter is very adult! Sexual subjects are frankly discussed and some course language is used. Parents should be cautioned.
The show runs through September 20th. Call the ticket office or check the Genesius Theatre website for dates and times.
153 N. 10th Street
Reading, PA 19601
(610) 371-8151 or (610) 373-9500