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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Reviews are in: A Chorus Line is FABULOUS. Get your tickets right quick

Tickets: http://www.ticketstage.com/T/AFD

From Nancy Rogier
“I saw “A Chorus Line” last night and it was nearly sold-out . . . don’t wait until the last minute to get your tickets. The cast was amazing–they really made their characters come alive. Fabulous dancing and singing and the whole theatre really got into the NYC 1970s vibe. Everything you are seeing is happening for a reason. Magical!”

From Wilda Ward

“This was one of the most fantastic performances I have seen in a while…and I have seen some great ones that AFD has done….These kid were perfection…I don’t know how they can improve…. 
This is one show NOT TO MISS. I am glad I am bringing a bunch of friends…they will absolutely be raving about it for quite a while.”

From Rachel L. Roccoberton Griffin

“Just saw this show at AFD. It was excellent. You should go too. They even have a matinee on Halloween so you can get your pre-sugar high musical in.”

Chorus Line snaps!

_MG_1150 _MG_1185 _MG_1219 _MG_1283 _MG_1311

Coming in November: ArlingTEN short play festival at AFD

Only ten bucks gets you into the theatre for a rousing and innovative evening of short plays.

Seven great, original ten minute plays by local playwrights. Laugh, cry, AND provide encouragement to budding authors.

November 20 & 21, 2015 | AFD Theatre | 8pm

More info coming soon!

Open seating in our state-of-the art theater, conveniently located in Arlington Center. For more information: corsinievelyn@gmail.com

“NEXT!!”

“THE EVALUATION”

“FATHER TO SON’

“PLEASE PASS THE SALT”

“STUCK”

“BEATIX POTTER MUST DIE!”

“A PREGNANT PAUSE”

Drumroll! Cast of Clybourne Park announced

Whenever we hold auditions, we’re stunned by the depth of great talent in our community. Many thanks to everyone who came out to audition for this profoundly interesting play.
Congratulations to these folks who were cast:
  • Bev/Kathy:  Jennifer Shea
  • Russ/Dan:  David Kimmelman
  • Francine/Lena:  Regine Vital
  • Jim/Tom/Kenneth:  Randal Lawrence-Hurt
  • Albert/Kevin:  Floyd W. Carmant
  • Karl/Steve:  Jason Myatt
  • Betsy/Lindsey:  Allison Rudmann Putnam
The play will run in January 2016!
Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play, “Clybourne Park” is a sharp-edged comedy about race and community. The play walks a dangerous tightrope between social commentary and comedy, exploring and exploding cultural myths about race, community and the pursuit of the American Dream.
The story builds on events depicted in Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 drama “A Raisin in the Sun,” in which a black family decides to buy a home in an all-white Chicago neighborhood. Norris sets his comedy in the house the family hopes to buy, and the audience watches the conflicts unfold: first, in 1959 when the white couple agrees to sell the house, and then again in the second act, when a new couple seeks to buy and renovate the house 50 years later.

Chorus Line director tells you why the show is so special!

Auditions for Boy from Oz in December

Auditions for the Broadway Musical “THE BOY FROM OZ”

December 10th, Thursday beginning at 7PM

December 12th, Saturday beginning at 1PM

December 13th, Sunday w/call backs at 1PM

PRODUCTION DATES

Fridays, April 1st, 8th, 15th @ 8PM

Saturdays, April 2nd, 9th, 16th @ 8PM

Sundays, April 3rd,10th,, 17th @ 4PM

All auditions, rehearsals, and productions will be held at our theater home:

22 Academy Street, Arlington, Ma.02476

STAGE DIRECTOR JIM GRANA

MUSICAL DIRECTOR MARIO CRUZ

CHOREOGRAPHER RACHEL ROCCOBERTON GRIFFIN

PRODUCER GINGER WEBB

“OZ” tells the story of Peter Allen, his life as a boy in Australia, his loving mother, abusive father, and his beginning in show business. Discovered by Judy Garland, and married to her daughter Liza Minnelli, he was the only male dancer to appear with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. His loves and losses are sensitively portrayed in this high energy show, all surrounded by his own fantastic music.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

PETER ALLEN: must sing, dance (tap, too) act and do everything. High Baritone (solid F, occasional G/A)

JUDY GARLAND: charismatic diva in her mid 40’s. (strong contralto, solid low F)

MARION WOOLNOUGH: Peter’s Mom, salt of the earth, mid 50’s and up. (strong ‘rangy’ alto, A/B below middle C-high end solid Eb)

LIZA MINELLI: a star is born. 20-something with spunk (strong alto)

YOUNG PETER: aged about 10, sings, tap dances (boy soprano, up to D)

CHRIS BELL: young songwriter, one of the Allen Brothers (baritone comfortable E high end)

GREG CONNELL: sexy cowboy (high baritone, up to G)

ENSEMBLE: 6-7 women and 5-6 men who will perform in the big numbers, as well as taking on small roles: Peter Allen’s US agent, Peter’s alcoholic father Dick Woolnough, The Stage Manager/announcer, Mark Hammer (Liza’s male escort), Peter’s flat-mate, and various singing/dancing configurations such as the Rockettes, a female back-up trio and a soloist in the song “Continental American.”

AUDITION REQUIREMENTS

Please prepare 16 to 32 measures of a song which best displays your vocal talents.

Bring along your sheet music, resume and recent photo.

In addition, if you are auditioning for the following roles, please prepare another song in the style of your character. You will be asked to sing this “character song” first, and may be asked for the alternate number to see your broader range.

PETER: 16 to 32 measures of a song written by Peter Allen. Stage moves during song should highlight your ability to charismatically sell yourself to an audience.

JUDY: 16 TO 32 measures of any Judy Garland song: i.e. “I Got Rhythm” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” “The Trolley Song” “Over the Rainbow” etc.

LIZA: 16 to 32 measures of any Liza song: Re: “New York, New York”, “Cabaret” “Some People” “Ring Them Bells” etc.

All will be required to sing and dance at auditions, with readings from the script.. Dress comfortably. Time slots will be available in one hour segments, 8-10 people per hour beginning at 7PM and each hour following, ending at 10PM.

For an audition slot: Contact Ginger Webb, Production Manager gs_webb@yahoo.com

Audition Form OZ 4

REHEARSAL SCHEDULE

Rehearsals will begin early in January: Sunday afternoons, Monday, Thursday and Friday evenings.

Occasional Tues and/or Wed. evenings cast members will work with Costume Designers. Times will be arranged not to conflict with rehearsals.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Director Jim Grana via e-mail: actorone_2000@yahoo.com. or you can leave a message on 781-646-5922.

Get to know the folks behind AFD’s “A Chorus Line” — Great interview

Thanks to the lovely and talented Nancy Rogier for this interview with the fellows working furiously to bring “A Chorus Line’ to life at AFD. Opens October 23!!

A Chorus Line at AFD Theatre is being directed by Nicholas Meunier with music direction by David Lien and choreography by Todd Rinehart. The trio took time out from rehearsal to answer some questions about the show.

What drove each of you to bring A Chorus Line to AFD?

Nick: My relationship with A Chorus Line is somewhat abnormal, and my love of it actually comes from a bit of mistaken understanding. I did not grow up loving, adoring, and memorizing the show as so many people did for so long. The show ran on Broadway for fifteen years between 1975 and 1990 so it has hooked several different age brackets. In the 1980s when I was a kid, I remember seeing TV ads for the show in New York and the images were always of that grand finale in the tuxedos. So from then until about two or three years ago, maybe, I was under the impression that A Chorus Line was really that type of thing: a glitzy revue type of a show.

When I finally had the opportunity to actually digest the entire show I felt like such an idiot, because that finale is such an ironic, almost tragically so, comment on what the show actually is artistically, which is this perfect encapsulation of this mid-70s stark, verite style, which is essentially a documentary. And the themes of identity and the poignant stakes involved in defending your life, your identity really made me flip. It immediately became a show I wanted to be involved in, so when AFD presented the opportunity, I knew I had to try and join up.

Todd: ACL is a dancer’s musical, and as a retired dancer it has always been on my bucket list of shows to perform in or choreograph.

David: As opposed to many people currently involved with theatre, what initially drew me to theatre at a young age was how much I loved listening to and playing the dance music. A Chorus Line is no exception. I remember playing songs from A Chorus Line on repeat since I was in middle school.

Talk about what it’s like to have more than 20 actors on the AFD stage. What’s been your approach to manage this large cast?

Todd: The last show I worked on had a cast of 30. Twenty is nothing! Seriously, it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it might be choreographing for a cast of 24 on a small stage. My approach has been to choreograph dance that is contained, whereas in a larger theatre I would create more expansive movements of dance.

Nick: The spatial reality of AFD Theatre has definitely been one of the biggest challenges, but I think it’s one we are meeting.

The stage is wonderfully deep, but very narrow. So it is not so much the number of people in the cast, which is manageable, but the specific blocking requirements that have created some challenges. As a director, one of the golden rules in blocking is to avoid straight lines, but this show explicitly requires the actors to stand in a straight line for most of the show.

I will tell you that one area where I have tried to use the smallness of the space to do something a little different is with the character of Zach, the director.

I think there is frequently a feeling with this show that the members of the Line are in a void, so to speak. Yes, they are auditioning for a show, but they are also in a blank space revealing their humanity. While I have tried to hold on to that theme, I think the reality of AFD Theatre provided the opportunity to bring Zach into the space in a more present way.

So rather than having him in the back unseen, or over a microphone, he is very much in the house with the audience, where they can choose to focus on him at various times and get another perspective on what is going on.

Nick, it’s the 40th anniversary of ACL opening on Broadway in 1975. Has that influenced your artistic vision in directing this show at AFD?

Nick: I am beyond thrilled to be doing this show at the time of its 40th anniversary, because I think, as universal as the show is, it also says so much about a specific time and place. I am a history buff by nature so whenever I direct, I get very invested in portraying a specific atmosphere. And New York City in the 1970s had atmosphere to spare. We have enough distance from it now, and NYC has changed in so many ways since then, that that time and place has almost become mythic.

The city was literally bankrupt. There were police strikes and sanitation strikes, the national economy was floundering, and you had large swaths of the city in the South Bronx being intentionally burned to the ground on a regular basis. Violent crime and general prurience in the city was omnipresent (think of the Broadway area at that time, riddled with pornography and general sin).

New York City was kind of a free-for-all place, which was stressful, but it also imbued the city with the energy and opportunity for creation. A Chorus Line springs directly from that—downtown theater workshops with no defined goal that ended up producing a landmark Broadway experience. And that is happening alongside punk in the Bowery, and the emerging dance music scene, and an explosion of salsa Uptown, and avant garde jazz in Alphabet City. It’s a fascinating slice of recent history. And it is so New York, which, even as a Boston guy, excites me to no end.

ACL is one of the rare musicals where acting, dance, and music are each so integral to the story. What has been your approach to stage this unique musical that so wholly combines these elements?

Nick: You really hit it on the head, when you use the word “integral.” A Chorus Line is a fully integrated musical, while it is actually documenting the end of its predecessor. All of these characters are “dancers” who were used to dancing in a “dancing chorus,” which was different from a “singing chorus.” And when you could afford to have 100 people in a show, that worked fine. But the economic reality of the 70s made that no longer feasible. So work was drying up for this type of performer. In showing that, they create this wonderfully “integrated” show where these people get to do it all.

David: Not only is the music so integrated with the dancing, even with dialogue scenes, the music is present and interacting with the emotions. So my approach has been very careful and deliberate to make sure all three aspects come together seamlessly.

Todd: My approach has been to focus on the dancer’s strengths and incorporate these strengths into my choreography. Some of the dancers have had many years of dance training and others limited, but everyone has committed 100 percent of themselves to the process. Watching them work with each other to learn their choreography is for me what dancers do for one another.

Todd, how has the show’s history influenced your choreography?

Todd: Choreographing this show has been a bit more daunting than I expected because of most theatre-goers’ familiarity with Michael Bennett’s choreography. Creating my own choreographic interpretation of ACL has been equally challenging and fulfilling.

David, in some musicals people stay in one place in sing, but in ACL there’s a lot of movement and singing at the same time. How has this affected your musical direction?

David: As addressed in the show, these are actors auditioning for a show and nobody should pull an eye. Likewise the music should be just as precise. Especially in this show the music and dance are one-in-one.

Why should people come to see A Chorus Line at AFD?

David: Remember that time you said you wanted to be a dancer? These guys are doing it!

Todd: The show has heart! The music is gorgeous, lyrics touching and funny, and hearing these familiar songs sung live is a thrill. You become involved in these dancers’ lives and forget they are actors. The cast is brilliant! You might be moved in ways you thought not possible. It is a great night (or day) at the theatre!

Nick: Musical theatre is an American art form to be cherished. And A Chorus Line is a building block of our musical theater tradition. It’s a fundamental show that everyone should experience. And if you have seen it before, those themes that tug at the heartstrings are still there. Everyone has had to defend their place in the world at one point in time, so it always speaks to us.

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