Nancy Sasso Janis
- OnStage Connecticut Critic
Bristol, CT - Get Up Stage Company (GUSCO) worked with performers ages 16 to 22 to produce a danced-filled production of ‘Chicago The Musical’ on the stage at Trinity-On-Main in New Britain. There was an impressive crowd on hand for a stormy opening night; the weather and the steamy temps only added to the dark ambiance of the musical by Kander and Ebb. These teen theatre performers strutted their stuff in both song and dance throughout the dark tale of murder and corruption with a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. Lindsey DiPietro directed these talented teens and early twenty-somethings with a sharp eye to detail, while Nick Stanford served as music director and conductor of the amazing ten-piece onstage orchestra.
I have grown to appreciate ‘Chicago’ over the many times I have seen it and the complex choreography by Samantha Putko made this production one I won’t forget. The young dancers carried it off without a misstep and in fact, everyone had beautiful lines; kudos to dance captain and Southington HS senior Katerina Belales (who played Katalin Hunyak) for helping to keep everyone in line. “All That Jazz” was a spectacle, but so was “Roxie” and “Razzle Dazzle (even without feathered fans.) I loved the marionette motions in “We Both Reached for the Gun Suffice” and the moves of the six girls (and the awesome lighting) during “Cell Block Tango.” Suffice it to say that I repeatedly noted “dancing” next to number after number in my program.
The staging of so many of the classic scenes on the stark black set designed by Lea McCabe and Joe Guerin was fresh and the costumes designed by the director were a bit more age-appropriate without losing the feel of the era. The location of the orchestra was literally in the middle of the action, so a few times the musical director joined the action with the well-rehearsed members of the cast.
Declan Devaney, in what he calls “tight pants and a vest,” served as the Master of Ceremonies of the proceedings. Benjamin Marcil was the doomed Fred Casely and Bristol Central HS senior Kevin Michaud tugged at the heart strings as the put-upon Amos Hart (“Mr. Cellophane”) who doesn’t even have exit music.
The six merry murderesses included, in addition to the lovely Ms. Belales, Katerina Levasseur as Liz (“Pop,”) Ariana LoCascio as Annie (“Six,”) Marisa Sullivan as June (“Squish,”) and Destiny Whitten as Mona (“Lipschitz.”) Devin Orde (Pennywise in ‘Urinetown’) was also strong in the role of their matron, Mama Morton.
Bristol Central HS senior C. Runkle was a riot in falsetto as Mary Sunshine; he wore a red suit and fox stole and senior Thalia Palacios was Go-To-Hell Kitty. Andrew Ewart played both the doctor and the courtroom judge, Simon Andrews was a tailor, Harry, and Martin Harrison, while Lauren Santiago made her GUSCO debut as the court clerk (“blah, blah, blah, truth, truth.”) Alonzo Santiago played Aaron and Jared Greenbacker was a riot as the entire jury, as well as playing Sergeant Fogarty.
The wonderful Michael Ricciardone took on the role of lawyer Billy Flynn and was spectacular; a true song and dance man, this rising senior at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts will make his mark. Shannon Sullivan, another graduate of the Greater Hartford Academy, kicked the role of Velma Kelly up to the next level; from her first note in “All That Jazz” to her duets with Roxie, this young lady commanded the stage.
Reilly Lincavicks was so polished in her GUSCO debut in the role of Roxie Hart that is was difficult to believe that she just recently graduated from the Greater Hartford Academy. She was “on” 100% of her stage time and both sang and danced beautifully; this triple threat will be pursuing her BFA in Musical Theatre at Shenandoah University in the fall and I expect to hear great things about her in the future.
Congratulations to this teen theatre company on yet another impressive production. Try to catch one of the remaining performances through August 13 at Trinity-on-Main in New Britain.
Photo by Kristen DiPietro, Illuminating Photography