Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Chorus Line

Stumptown Stages
October 2 - 17, 2009

Review by peanutduck

True to story, only star is Cassie (Lisa Schale), her impassioned “The Music and the Mirror” a show-stopper. Ensemble’s spirit whole-hearted, nary an ego in sight; and strongest in group numbers, notably “At the Ballet.” Individually, acting, vocals weak; show drags, nail-biting audition angst absent. Cavernous space grossly distorts sound.


Anonymous said...

well..... I saw the show last night and I try to only say positives about shows so.... Cassie was fantastic, and that is all I have to say.

Anonymous said...

The actress potraying Cassie was excellent. The rest of the show? Ouch.

Anonymous said...

You're being a BIT harsh, aren't you?

Cassie was good, you're right.

And Shiela, and Val and the Director.

And really, the dance itself was FANTASTIC.

But yeah, I run out of good stuff after that.

Anonymous said...

yah I guess I should have said Sheila was pretty good as was Zach, not to fond of Val's voice although the girl can dance circles around most the cast. and a nod to the chorus girl with the big voice that sang the "I really need this job" solo.

Anonymous said...

whos in this cast? Stumptown's press releases always seem to lack the cast information.

Anonymous said...

I have not had the opportunity to see this production, but I am in love with this show and would love to see a cast list. I was surprised that I was unable to find a cast list anywhere, including the company website. Is anyone able to provide this? Thank you.

followspot said...

Cassie - Lisa Schale
Sheila - Beth McShane
Val - Erin Shannon
Diana - Melanie Wygal
Judy - Emily Kelly
Kristine - Erika Boudreau
Maggie - Tiarra Roberts
Bebe - Margaret Lamb
Connie - Victoria Holt
Vicki - Bonnie Auguston
Tricia & u/s Sheila - Brooke Markham
Lois - Aubrey Lynnette Packham
Marie - Marie Auxier
Rachael - Rachael Hoppock
Caitlin - Caitlin Edwards
Sarah - Sarah Gomez
Hope - Hope Hickson
Elizabeth - Elizabeth Bressler
Aiano - Aiano Nakagawa
Mike - Quincy Hickson
Richie - Isaiah Tillman
Don - Samuel Benedict
Paul - Jarrel Newsome
Mark - Adam Harris
Greg - Kevin Clark
Bobby - Jeff George
Al - Clay Neal
Zach - Kirk Mouser
Larry - Jerrod Neal
Frank - Riley Meskill
Butch - Michael Munday
Roy - Anthony Chan

Anonymous said...

Val can neither sing nor dance IMHO. Worst part of this show which is overall a disappointment

Anonymous said...

I saw the matinee today, and I have just a few thoughts on the matter:

a) Cassie was, indeed, wonderful. The only actual triple threat in the bunch.

b)There were other notable performances, including Sheila, Val, Richie...all for different reasons, and not without criticism.

c)Stumptown Stages has had to make some concessions in order to be housed in the Jefferson Auditorium...whether the trade offs are worth it are subject to speculation at this point...but it seems that they may want to change their status from a professional musical theater company to an advanced youth theater program.

d)A Chorus Line was much easier to cast in 1975 than it is today. Back then, everyone had to be a triple threat....Today's musicals are more focused on acting and singing, and dancing has become it's own entity...I think it would be hard for most to hold their own with the Jefferson Dancers on stage.

But that should be no excuse. A Chorus Line is a dancer's musical. I can imagine many talented actor/singers didn't dare audition for fear of the dance audition.

But I'm glad that some concessions were made along the way: I would gladly listen to Richie's off key singing to see him jump 6 feet in the air and touch his toes 20 or so times. I'll forgive Sheila's stiff dancing to hear her sing "At the Ballet" and I'll even overlook Val's strident voice to see her dance her rear off.

If I were in New York and had paid $150 to see this performance I would be disappointed. But, this is Portland, and I was thrilled to pay $20 to see the Arts alive at Jeff again.

Anonymous said...

Kirk has at least some of his audience by relocating to Jefferson High School. I know that my family and friends really don't want to go there. Especially late at night and getting out after dark. I wouldn't let my daughter and her friends go just because of the location. OK - not pc - but true. We have seen other performances in that venue and noticed that the sound wasn't very good. Kirk could do better.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? You're afraid of the neighborhood?

I walked to the show. And walked back. And never felt unsafe for a second.

Disturbing that you would feel that way.

CL Fan said...

This is almost an impossible show to produce outside of New York. It requires an entire cast of over a dozen triple threats and that is why, really, despite it's cheap sets and costumes and it's loads of popular songs, the show is rarely performed regionally or by non-Equity theaters. It was a bold choice for Stumptown but perhaps a foolhardy one given the local talent pool? You can't say they don't take some risks.

I hear Broadway Rose is also attempting the show this summer. It will be interesting to see with their greater access to a more professional casting pool if they are able to fare any better. I'm a huge fan of the show, but I have my doubts.

Anonymous said...

To address the safety issue: When I was there, there was security at the door, and another person in uniform watching the parking lot. I think Jefferson & law enforcement recognize that people have reservations about culture events in NoPo and are handling it well. I'd still recommend walking in pairs, but it's every bit as safe as the FCC, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Saw the show last night and was very impressed. It's the best dance I have seen in Portland in the last year. The show is very visually entertaining and the last number is great! One has to admire Kirk Mouser and Julianne Johnson for giving the city a chance to see diversity in the casting. There were some very talented people on stage who would rarely, if ever, be given the opportunity to perform in this show...certainly in Portland,Oregon...due to their ethnic or racial heritage. Great job, Stumptown!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for information about safety - it's good to know there is someone watching the parking area. Now to prevent stray bullets from local shootings... see crime stats for the area. Not encouraging. To earlier poster: drive your kids and pick them up - don't deprive them of a relatively inexpensive show if they are interested. It doesn't have to be a first rate production to introduce young people to this famous musical. I saw the show last weekend and many of the performers are not that talented but they are (mostly) not terrible. Support your local arts!

Anonymous said...

I saw the show this past weekend and was completely enchanted! It was an excellent production. The choreography was the best I have seen in any production, in Portland, this past year. Granted, there is some different levels of ability in the cast but that's true of all the shows you see in Portland. We are certainly not New York, or even Seattle. The cast's individual skills vary but the staging and dance is very professional. The tech is very good, even with some sound problems. I did feel the band was too loud at times. It is great to see so many Africian-Americans in the cast. Stumptown's use of color blind casting is an example for the rest of the theatre companies in this town. And shame on those people who are "afraid of the neighborhood." Are they the same ones who cross the street when they see a black man walking down the sidewalk toward them?

Anonymous said...

"Honesty. That's all I ask for..."

Today, I rec'd a Stumptown email soliciting for tickets.

You know if the Oregonian writes up a non-favorable review...What is the point on crediting it and then omitting the biting words?

Are we not supposed to notice or read the original review. (I note that you conveniently left off any links to the real review.)Bu,t I found it anyway...that is easy.

Here is the lie:
Stumptown wrote (crediting The Oregonian...) "It's a great production ..."

The REAL verbiage in The Oregonian review: "It's a great production but not a polished show to see."

WOW..Stumptown don't lie!!!

Anonymous said...

To last poster - who said anything about race? (except you of course!)Perhaps you see race as the issue rather than safety? This show is full of diversity and that's a wonderful thing about it and has always been a strong point for A Chorus Line.

Anonymous said...


Here's the actual review.

Anonymous said...

How did Stumptown lie?

They quoted the review, which said "It's a great production..."

The review said "It's a great production..."

The ellipsis means that this is a cutting from the sentence.

Stumptown didn't lie. They quoted the review accurately.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the old Mad Magazine bit where ads would have individual words praising a production followed by ellipses (is that the plural of ellipsis?), and then they'd show the entire review, which was of course scathingly negative.

Anonymous said...

yeah...I think thats called MARKETING. If it was a sin, we would all be in broken glass houses. Good gracious, peeps, are we really having this discussion? My car was broken into in the Lakewood Theater parking lot. (um...thats in that scary ol' Lake Oswego) I was given a lift home at the IFCC from people I barely knew. (located down the street from the precarious location of the Chorus Line Production) This will forever be an embarrassingly close-minded, small town if we really think that driving to North Portland - which I happen to prefer to any other part of town - is DANGEROUS? Theater = Diversity. Hooray for Stumptown for taking risks.

Ben Waterhouse said...

I once had a review excerpted in a marketing mail as "...nice set...". Didn't bother me. It's all part of the media-artist back-and-forth.

The folks who are worried about crime in north Portland are aware, I hope, that the most dangerous part of town for all sorts of crime is the portion of downtown that encompasses the Armory, PCPA and the World Trade Center. Don't believe me? Check out portlandmaps.com.

Anonymous said...

Stumptown needs to decide if they are going to be a professional company or a educational company for Jefferson HS and other HS students. From what I saw of the show, this was in no way a professional job.Seemed more like a HS production. Miss casting hurt this production as did your sound.
Sorry Stumptown but you need to figure out what kind of company you want to be and stick to it. Sincerely wish you all the best with your upcoming shows.

Susan said...

Kirk Mouser did not pulled off a fair show. CASTING CASTING CASTING!
The character Zack should have more passion and when counting out the dance timing he should know it and be on it..... not a beat behind. And I thought Zach dances in the final number... Kirk, your intent is in the right place but you have to have the emotion that goes with it with this character. Don't agree with anony. 1/3 4:36pm. Sheila was okay, Val can dance for sure but vocally wasn't there and who costumed the show? Val should have a TIGHT TOP to accentuate the TITS to go with the ASS. By the way - she definatley could dance - hope she works on her vocals.

Anonymous said...

I miss the Stumptown Stages that produced Reefer Madness and Floyd Collins...Live on Stage has eclipsed Kirk's original "edgy" mission statement.

I'm afraid he's sold his proverbial soul for the space at Jefferson...I'm guessing a production of "The Fantasticks" and "Hair" can't be far behind....yawn

Anonymous said...

I just saw the show...and well...I think the pros and cons of this production lie fully with the casting. The woman who played Cassie was AMAZING! Erin Shannon is an AMAZING choerographer...so I was not surpised that she could dance. She performed her ass off, thats all we can really ask for.
And I really do praise Stumptown for thier mission statement and promotion of diversity. It was nice to see. However, if I wanted to see a Jefferson Dancers Show...I'd go to a Jefferson Dancers Show! Which I have!

I felt Stumptown dropped the ball on the theatrical part of the show just to have great dancers. Yes, these kids, I say kids because alot of them ARE actually Jefferson Dancers, are great dancers....Actors? Singers? Not so much.

ACL is a Dance-Show, we all know this. It just saddened me that that seemed to be all Stumptown cared about.What about the moments in the show? What about the emotion? What about the Humor? but, oh hey, that was a nice kick line...

I too miss the days of Reefer Madness, Floyd Collins and The Last Five Years... I'm a little terrified to see how they mess up the casting in their next show...RENT!

Anonymous said...

Saw the show last weekend. While I understand most of the criticism, I must say it was a good show. Erin Shannon can indeed dance, Beth McShane can indeed sing & act, and Lisa Schale does all three well. Stand out performances by men include Samuel Benedict, Kirk Mouser & Isaiah Tillman.

It was a risk to put this show up using only local talent...I doubt that Broadway Rose could do better without hiring from out of town. I'd love to see Stumptown's Cassie, Val, and Sheila revise their roles in Tigard. They seemed to really hold the production together, IMO.

Anonymous said...

I saw this show opening night, as always there are snags, the show can only get better from there. It seemed that this was ther first show alot of the cast had been in from reading the bio's.
Cassie was amazing and Erin Shannon can dance her ass off!
Bravo for using local talent, however it did seem the cast was not fully ready for opeing night. Maybe another 2 full weeks of rehearsals might have helped with that.
I am excited for Rent as I will be there to audition as I was for Chorus Line. Alas I did not get cast but had a wonderful time at the dance audition which kicked my butt!

Andrew W Foster said...

You know...there is constructive critisism and there is downright meanness, and this sight is mostly the latter. Shame on most of you. Congratulations Kirk on bringing this show to this city and giving these kids a chance of a lifetime. I didn't get to see it, but I'm sure that it was a great production! I know when I was in ACL for the first time at MHCC in 1985 I had the time of my life and it was a learning experience that I will never forget. Kudos to you for balancing professional theater and the "learning" experience all in one at JHS and Stumptown. I'm proud of you.