SPARE Productions is excited to announce our summer 2016 musical: the classic Broadway show Chicago. Cast, crew, and production team alike are relishing the chance this show presents to hone their skills and piece together the jazz-inspired musical.
“It’s really cool to have a group of young people in the community all coming together for a common goal,” said the show’s assistant music director, Katie O’Brien, alluding to SPARE’s close-knit feeling.
The company, a Binghamton-based non-profit, was founded in 2012 and works to bring unique theatrical opportunities to the Southern Tier. Originally featuring almost exclusively college students, SPARE has expanded in recent seasons to feature a wide array of members, something cast member Mike Ferguson says he loves about the company.
“It’s like a family,” said Ferguson, who plays the part of Amos Hart in Chicago. “Everyone knows each other; everyone talks to each other; everyone hangs out all the time.”
Ferguson went on to add that the cast features several new SPARE members, including someone he described as a standout – the production’s Roxie, Lyndsey Boyer.
“She’s been doing great with Roxie,” he said, “and I hope I get to work with her in other shows!”
In fact, most of the show’s leading women – which O’Brien says make up its core – are new to SPARE, a testament to the company’s expanding horizons.
“It’s really cool to have a show with this many female leads,” she said, “where the female decisions drive the plot.”
Meanwhile, with under two weeks until the show’s performances on July 8th, 9th, and 10th, choreographer Alery Patton is focused on its ensemble nature and fitting all the pieces of its intricate dance numbers together.
“Each and every person in this cast is a star,” she said, praising their work ethic and talent. “It’s been my pleasure working with them.”
Patton describes her choreography as “Fosse, 1920s, and strut jazz.”
“I drew inspiration from [original choreographer Bob] Fosse, and from some original renditions of this show,” she said, “and twisted them and gave them my own little flare.”
Even though the choreography is intricate, cast member Ferguson – who has gotten to watch his castmates learn the routines because his character is not featured in many dance numbers – says it has come together really well.
“It just looks the way it should. Everything looks in place, everything’s done right. It just is great choreography,” he said, later adding, “And there’s some really hard stuff!”
Everyone involved agrees that the show’s director, John Penird, has developed a bold vision, based in the show’s themes and tailored for its cast – and that he has taken SPARE’s artistry to a new level.
“Johnny is by far the most talented director I’ve worked with,” said Patton. “He sees a vision and creates it precisely – and doesn’t settle for less.”
Ferguson agreed, and added that Penird is a lot of fun for him to work with.
“Johnny has been a fantastic director,” he said. “I’ve loved working with him every minute.”
The show, built into a season of unique, daring SPARE performances, is an achievement for the company.
“We wanted to put ourselves out there,” said one of SPARE’s board members, Brian Ives. “We wanted to take a risk, and work to make that risk pay off. By all accounts, that’s exactly what our cast, our crew – in fact, our whole company – are doing.”
The company, he says, is working with several new production staff and new cast members for this show. And O’Brien – one of those new people – echoed Ives’s thoughts, adding that Chicago itself has a unique style.
“It’s written as Vaudeville acts,” she said, “so the audience becomes a part of the show without really knowing it.”
That Vaudeville style, Ferguson says, means the show resonates with a range of people.
“People should come see Chicago because there’s going to be something for everyone,” he said. “There’s really talented singers; there’s great acting, great dancing. You’re not going to want to miss it!”
Performances will be 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8th, and Saturday, July 9th, as well as 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 10th, in the Helen Foley Theatre at Binghamton High School. Tickets are $12.00 for adults, and $10.00 for students and seniors. For tickets and information, visit www.spareproductions.org or call (607) 542-9057.
Patrons are advised that Chicago features adult themes and may not be suitable for young children.
Special thanks to Larry Kassan and the Binghamton City School District for their support and assistance with this project.
Chicago is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
usic by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Script adaptation by David Thompson
Full Cast List:
Velma Kelly – Brittany Miller
Roxie Hart – Lyndsey Boyer
Billy Flynn – Tony DeLousia
Amos Hart – Mike Ferguson
Matron “Mama” Morton – Megan MarkAnthony
Mary Sunshine – Claire Gerchman
Announcer/Sergeant Fogarty – Johnathan Van Atta
Go-To-Hell Kitty – Julia McCloe
Fred Casely – Darius Fuller
Six Merry Murderesses – Julia McCloe, Julia Adams, Emily Frederick, Lily Woughter, and Shannah Hall