FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2015
Contact: Jeffrey Dunn, Executive Director
Administrative: (860) 283-8558
Box Office: (860) 283-6250
Event Dates: CHICAGO
April 18, 24, 25, May 1, 2 @ 8pm
April 19, 26, May 3 @ 2pm
Location: Thomaston Opera House Main Stage, 158 Main Street, Thomaston, CT
Landmark presents Chicago in the “FOSSE” style at the Thomaston Opera House.
THOMASTON– The long-running hit musical Chicago will be presented by Landmark Community Theatre at the Thomaston Opera House on April 18, 24, 25, May 1, 2 @ 8pm & April 19, 26, May 3 @ 2pm.
Chicago has been presented on Broadway for over 6,300 performances since it opened in 1996, and won six Tony awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. The original production, directed and choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse, opened in June of 1975 and was nominated for nine Tony awards.
Specific dance selections of Landmark’s production were choreographed by Broadway Alumna, Carolyn Kirsch. Ms. Kirsch appeared in 15 Broadway productions over a 21 year period of performing in New York City. During that time she worked extensively for the Director/Choreographers Michael Bennett and Bob Fosse.
While working for Mr. Fosse, Carolyn appeared in both the First National and Broadway companies of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying”, “Sweet Charity”, and she toured with the first National Company of “Chicago”, in which she played Velma Kelly. She was one of the first teachers of the Fosse Technique in the country to be sanctioned by The Verdon-Fosse Estate. The Estate, led by Nicole Fosse, daughter of Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse, has a stated mission to ensure that the Verdon-Fosse style is passed on to younger generations in an authentic manner.
Landmark is proud to include two dance numbers with choreography by Ms. Carolyn Kirsch, taught in her master class studio. The cast of Chicago worked tirelessly to learn the intricate and stylized movements attributed to the Fossee tequnique. Executive Director Jeff Dunn remarks on the enthusiasm exhibited by the cast, production team and Director; “…[they are] very excited to bring this Award-Winning Braudway show to the Thomaston Opera House stage for the first time! The heavy dance infused musical is a welcome challenge to the cast and the Theatre is thrilled to present a cult favorite on our historic victorian stage…”.
Billed as “a musical vaudeville,” Chicago is based on a play by the same name written in 1926 by Maurine Dallas Watkins. It tells the story of Roxie Hart, who finds herself on Murderer’s Row in the Cook County Jail after shooting her lover. Smooth-talking attorney Billy Flynn agrees to take on Roxie’s case and manipulates the Chicago press to make Roxie a celebrity. Roxie has a rival for the media’s attention, however: another Billy Flynn client named Velma Kelly. Chicago is a cynical look at America’s celebrity culture and its corrupt judicial system, presented through the highly stylized language of song and dance.
Leading the production of Chicago is director Foster Reese, a TOH veteran director, actor and Board Member. Muiscal Direction provided by TJ Thompson, the Music Director for Taft School in Watertown. Choreography is by Foster Reese, with original choreography by Bob Fosse, reinstated by Carolyn Kirsch & Mary Ann Lamb for Landmark’s premier production of Chicago on the Opera House main stage.
Appearing as Roxie Hart is Emily Diedrich, who last played Glenda the Good Witch in TOH production of the Wizard of Oz. Janina Gonzalez, who is making her TOH debut will play the role of Velma Kelly, while lawyer Billy Flynn is played by WATR Radio Personality Tom Chute. Playing the role of Mama Morten is Carletha Hawley and Chuck Stango as Amos. An ensemble of talented dancers & vocalists round out the vaudeville cast.
Chicago runs April 18—May 3, 2015 . Tickets are $24, $20 for students and seniors and are available online at www.landmarkcommunitytheatre.org or by calling the Box Office 860-283-6250. All seats are reserved. For more information on subscriptions, gift certificates and group sales contact or visit the Box Office (860) 283-6250 Monday – Saturday 1pm – 6pm @ 158 Main Street Thomaston, CT 06790
CHICAGO REVIEW by Nancy Sasso Janis
Landmark Community Theatre opened their first musical of the 2015 season on Saturday night. 'Chicago' runs through May 3 at the historic Thomaston Opera House. Even if you have seen another production of the Bob Fosse musical, the dancing (and everything else) in this Landmark version makes it one that you truly do not want to miss. Foster Reese not only directed the talented cast but also served as their choreographer, as he has often been known to do. The cast of 'Chicago' had the pleasure of working with and learning from two Broadway veterans during rehearsals. Carolyn Kirsch was Velma Kelly in the first National touring company and worked directly with Bob Fosse. Mary Ann Lamb played June in the original company of the 1996 revival with Anne Reinking and Bebe Neuwirth, the version currently running on Broadway. The cast members will forever have the stories that these dancers told about Mr. Fosse and the mounting of this iconic show. The ladies worked on the choreography for final three dance numbers of the Landmark show.
The quality of the dancing, the look of the show and the talented cast members made me appreciate this show more than I have in the past. Mr. Reese made some excellent choices in his staging, especially during Roxie's trial scene. Paul Revaz designed the simple set of a black staircase that separated the halves of the onstage orchestra under the direction of TJ Thompson. The talented music director became a part of the action a couple of times and this orchestra was one of the best he has ever assembled. Aurora Montenero designed the all-black costumes that definitely set the mood, as did the outstanding lighting designed by Alex Dunn. Organist Juan Cardona Jr. also helped set the mood for the audience before the show began on the beautiful theatre organ. After one major sound issue on opening night, the rest of the show ran smoothly. The gushing about the cast begins here. Dan Beaudoin showed off his amazing range as reporter Mary Sunshine and the uncredited and dreamy Moses Beckett performed as one of the wonderful male dancers as well as the doomed Fred Casely. Other male dancers included Nathan Rodriguez, Shelby Davis, Jonathan Zalaski, and Naugatuck native James Goggin. The Cell Block girls included Erin McAvoy (Murderess,) Katie Brunetto (Annie,) Amber Mason (Murderess,) Caitlin Barra (Kitty/Murderess,) Jean-Marie McGrath (Mona,) Malie Grasmere (June,) Martha Martin (Liz,) Leslie Bacon (Murderess,) Beth Harvision (Murderess,) Leanna Scaglione (Hunyak,) Erika O'Keefe (Murderess) and Jennifer Bunger (Murderess.) The wonderful Chuck Stango made the most of the relatively small role of Roxie's long-suffering husband Amos. Clad in a frumpy sweater and white gloves, his "Mr. Cellophane" brought down the house and made everyone notice him. WATR's Tom Chute returned to the stage to play one of his favorite characters, the slick lawyer Billy Flynn. He brought considerable charm to the role and his smooth voice and fine dancing made "All I Care About" and "Razzle Dazzle" a pleasure to behold. Waterbury resident Carletha Hawley returned to the TOH to play prison matron Mama Morton and wow, can this lady sing! Emily Diedrich returned to the stage after a maternity hiatus to play the role of Roxie Hart. Janina Gonzalez made her Landmark debut in her dream role of Velma Kelly. These two triple threats were equally matched and turned in amazing performances as the rival murderesses. Landmark Executive Director Jeffrey P. Dunn honored Opera House Commission Board Member and long-time volunteer "costume maven" Barbara Piscopo before the show with a video tribute and framed certificate. He also informed her onstage that a much-needed washer and dryer would be added to the costume shop. A reception had been held in the costumer's honor before the doors to the house opened. Ms. Piscopo has costumed over 100 shows on the opera house stage. Upcoming volunteer opportunities at the TOH include running crew, ushers, box office attendants, marketing and office assistant and construction and set builders.
CHICAGO REVIEW by Joanne Greco Rochman
Thomaston’s ‘Chicago’ has all that jazz
* * * * * (best rating 5 stars)
There are a lot of community stars in Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago,” currently playing at Thomaston’s Landmark Community Theatre. A steamy, sexy, production with a dream team cast and production team, the show earned a well deserved standing ovation. Certainly, Janina Gonzalezens is a star. She sings the first solo, makes her Landmark debut, and raises the bar for the rest of the cast. She has a voice that won’t quit even when she’s kicking up a storm. She plays Velma, a murderer who is in prison awaiting her trial. She intends to beat the charge and go into show business.
Emily Diedrich is a star as Roxie, playing another murdering female who outsmarts even shrewd Velma. Roxie also wants a show business career post jail. After a theater hiatus of a year and a half, Diedrich doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to performing. Her vocals are right on and her performance dramatic.
Tom Chute as fast talking lawyer Billy Flynn is a star. Chute is a first class act and a smooth shining star. His stage presence is so powerful that as soon as he enters the stairway to the stage, even before he sings his powerful solo, he already has the audience in the palm of his hands. Chuck Stango as Amos sings “Mr. Cellophane,” but Stango is anything but invisible in his star performance. As for Carletha Hawley, she earned her star as tough acting prison matron, Mama Morten, and Dan Beaudoin hangs his star on delivering the surprise of the show. Add to this, stellar performances by: Erin McAvoy, Katie Brunetto, Amber Mason, Caitlin Barra, Jean-Marie McGrath, Malie Grasmere, Martha Irving, Leslie Bacon, Beth Harvison, Leanna Scaglione, Erika O’Keefe, Jennifer Bunger, James Goggin, Jonathan Zalaski, Shelby Davis, and Nathan Rodriguez.
T.J. Thompson as musical director and piano conductor is a sheer pleasure to watch and listen to. His enthusiasm goes straight from his baton to his orchestra. He and his orchestra are all star musicians in this show. The biggest star goes to director Foster Reese, who not only pulled the whole show together, but who brought out the best in each cast member.
Some of the highlights of the evening include Tom Chute as a puppeteer and Emily Diedrich acting like Roxie the puppet, with all her strings being pulled by the sharp, money loving lawyer. Another great scene is the musical number “Mr. Cellophane,” featuring Chuck Stango as Roxie’s duped husband Amos. What makes this scene work so well is that when the spotlight should be on him, Alex Dunn, lighting designer makes sure it moves away from Amos. Even the orchestra stops playing for him. He might as well be invisible. The audience loved the effect and laughed heartily. Frank Beaudry’s sound design works like a charm especially when machine gun shots are fired rapidly, and Paul Revaz’s set design proves to be functionally attractive as a stairway smack in the middle of an orchestra. Aurora Montenero’s costume design of basically black works well.
Overall, this is a memorable production playing through May 3.