The Road Theatre on Magnolia steps up with the world premiere of ACCORDING TO THE CHORUS by Arlene Hutton. This tight little space in a spiffy senior living complex in NoHo serves as a wonderful opportunity to see theatre that relies on the writing and acting to succeed. Paul Dufresne's scenic design is just tacky enough.
|PHOTO CREDIT: Elizabeth Kimball|
> Jacqueline Misaye, Maria Spassoff (with Gidget Carradine), Kristyn Evelyn and Gloria Ines
Even with a program, it's difficult to tell the chorus gals apart. Each dancer is self absorbed in her own way, but they all rally to support one another when a crisis erupts. Director Emily Chase has created some impressive moves as the girls warm up in the Quick Change Room. Every dancer has an issue but getting their names straight was a bit of a problem. The cast had one understudy (Brittany Visser for Sorel Carradine who usually plays Joyce). Monica (Gloria Ines) stands out as always being hungry and probably bulimic and Jessica (Kristyn Evelyn) who is in a bad relationship and Niki (Jacqueline Misaye) who argues with herself about going on the road after this show closes to cross those "big mountains just beynd the big river."
The actual star of the show is Olivia the Dog, Mallory's (Maria Spassoff) brand new pup. I believe that the doggie in the photo is not the doggie credited in the program! THIS JUST IN. THE DOGGIE IN THE PRODUCTION I SAW IS BARON. How director, Emily Chase, got a sweet little Egyptian Spider Dog (Mallory wanted her to have a pedigree) to be so cooperative and even sit on command is a feat of fine directing. If credit is forthcoming, I will credit the stand in for Olivia. Cherish Monique Duke will play Mallory for the remainder of the run. Cherish was a stand out in the recent Antaeus production of "Everybody." ALSO, THIS JUST IN. CHERISH WILL NOT COME INTO THE CAST AFTER ALL. MARIA SPASSOFF IS SCHEDULED TO COMPLETE THE RUN.
Amy Tolsky as Brenda, the senior dresser who is never wrong, delivers the crusty character that easily might have been too much. She finds just enough authority.
Peter (Juan Pope) is gay. He's a successful actor in this show and pops in to say hello to KJ, to whom he was, at one time, married. The tension builds slowly. The AIDs crisis is evident. It's the summer of '84. Many male dancers have been "replaced."
Van (Danny Lee Gomez) brings home the Stage Manager nicely. Because I've been brought to task for negleting to mention stage managers from time to time, my search of the program fails to yield the name of this production's Stage Manager. HANKS TO PR GUY, DAVID ELZER, HE POINTS OUT THAT THE NAME OF THE PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER, MAURIE GONZALEZ IS PROMINENT SOMEWHERE THAT I OVERLOOKED. I LOOKED AND LOOKED AND I GUESS IT WAS IN PLAIN SIGHT.
It's New York.. show biz.. bright lights Theatre.. KJ has finally wtitten a hundred pages of a play. Peter wants to help. It may be a play about the backstage antics of a Broadway show? Or, a failed marriage?
"Chorus" presents a little bit of Gypsy; a smattering of A Chorus Line. Certainly, playwright, Arlene Hutton, has spent time backstage and if she created "KJ" from her own experience, it's a slice of theatre life that is summed up warmly with the anecdotes and "remember when's" bantered back and forth by Brenda and Audrey as the show packs up and the cast and crew scatter to the four winds.
The Cast of ACCORDING TO THE CHORUS
Samantha Tan as “KJ,”
Avery Clyde as “Audrey,”
Amy Tolsky as “Brenda,”
Juan Pope as “Peter,”
Maria Spassoff (first two weeks);
Cherish Monique Duke (final weeks) as “Mallory,”
Jacqueline Misaye as “Nicki,”
Julia Manis as “Linda,”
Gloria Ines as “Monica,”
Kristyn Evelyn as “Jessica,”
Brittany Visser as “Joyce,”
Mara Klein as “Stacie,”
Danny Lee Gomez as “Van,”
Gidget Carradine as “Olivia the Dog.”
The World Premiere of
ACCORDING TO THE CHORUS
Written by Arlene Hutton
Directed by Emily Chase
Opens: Friday, October 21 at 8pm
Runs: Friday, October 21 – Sunday, December 11, 2022
Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm.
Previews: Tuesday, October 18; Wednesday, October 19
& Thursday, October 20 at 8pm
The Road Theatre
10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601
Sunday Performances are Pay-What-You-Can
For tickets – visit www.roadtheatre.org or call 818-761-8838