One Singular Sensation: A Chorus Line opens at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
CENTER VALLEY, PA: June 17, 2022—Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival opens the iconic Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical A Chorus Line. The show previews June 22 & 23, opens June 24 and will run through July 10 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of DeSales University.
A Chorus Line illuminates the ambitions of ensemble dancers in the final chorus audition for an upcoming Broadway show. One of the longest running Broadway musicals of all time, A Chorus Line boasts classic numbers such as “What I Did for Love,” “One,” “I Can Do That,” “At the Ballet,” “The Music and the Mirror,” and “I Hope I Get It.”
After many months of casting, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) has assembled a cast of many Broadway, television, and film actors, as well as veterans of national tours and regional theatres, several of whom have previously performed in the production.
The cast is led by James Harkness, Sissy Bell, and Patrick Higgins; and the creative team is led by Director and Choreographer Luis Villabon.
A newcomer to PSF, Harkness will portray Zach. He holds numerous Broadway credits including originating the lead role of Paul Williams in the Tony nominated Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations. Other Broadway credits include The Carole King Musical, Chicago, Dream Girls, Aida, The Color Purple, and Guys and Dolls. He also has a best director nomination, is an award-winning choreographer, and a songwriter.
Also making their PSF debut is Bell, who will play the role of Cassie. A veteran of numerous Broadway shows (select: Anastasia and Tootsie) and Off-Broadway productions, she has also participated as a dancer/performer at the annual Tony Awards and at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Higgins, who makes his PSF debut in the role of Mark, recently played the leading role of Baby John in Steven Spielberg’s film West Side Story (landing his first professional film credit at the age of 15). He is presently pursuing his BFA in Musical Theatre at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
They are joined by Lauren Emily Alagna (Kristine), Kathryn Brunner (Val), Bianca Bulgarelli (Bebe), Julia Feeley (Judy), Madison Finney (Shelia), Musa Hitomi (Connie), Matthew Aaron Liotine (Greg & Dance Captain), Milan Magaña (Diana), Eddie Martin Morales (Paul), Brandon Moreno (Larry), Paul Watt-Morse (Don), Clint Maddox Thompson (Al), Emma Vielbig (Maggie), and Shaun-Avery Williams (Richie).
The company also includes Jaylen Axel (Butch), Josiah Behrens (Tom), Josh Curran (Roy), Morgan Harrison (Vicki), Thomas Henke (Bobby), Marlena López Hilderley (Tricia), Justin Lopez (Patrick), Andrew Ruggieri (Mike), Nick Schrier (Frank), and Lilianna Solum (Lois).
The Director and Choreographer of the production is Luis Villabon, who will recreate Michael Bennett’s original iconic choreography. Villabon was mentored by Tony Award winner andA Chorus Line original Broadway cast member, Baayork Lee. As an actor, he has appeared in A Chorus Line as Butch once; Paul twelve times; Mike once; and Zach twice, totaling over 1,750 performances. His select A Chorus Line re-staging credits include: the 2007 Italian National Tour; the 2009 South Korean National production in Seoul; the 2011 Japanese production in Tokyo; and he served as Associate Director for Antonio Banderas’ 2019-2022 Spanish language production in Spain. Other credits include the Assistant Director/Choreographer to Ms. Lee in A New Brain (NYC) and Jesus Christ Superstar (European Tour). Among many other professional credits, he was also the Assistant Choreographer to Paula Abdul in Reefer Madness (NYC).
Joining Villabon in his PSF debut is Musical Director and Conductor Andy Peterson. Hailing from Australia, he has worked on Broadway’s Tootsie, as well as being the noted composer of Broadway’s Razorhurst and Stalker: The Musical. He was also the co-creator on the hit musical audio series The World to Come, for which he wrote more than 50 original songs.
Broadway’s Michael McDonald will design the costumes. Previous PSF credits include Oklahoma! and West Side Story. Nominated for a Tony, Drama Desk, and Hewes Award for his costume designs for Hair on Broadway and in the West End, he holds numerous credits from Broadway, Off-Broadway, as well as regional theatres.
Richard Latta, who is the current and continuing Resident Lighting Designer for Ogunquit Playhouse (having designed hundreds of plays & musicals over the years) will design the lighting for the show. He has designed for A Chorus Line twice previously.
Sound design is by David M. Greenberg, resident sound designer and sound supervisor for PSF and DeSales University. A member of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association (TSDCA), he holds an MFA in Theatre Sound Design and Technology from the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The production Stage Manager is Randy Lawson who has production stage managed three previous productions of A Chorus Line. His select Broadway credits include: The Phantom of the Opera, Sugar Babies (Broadway Revival Workshop), and Million Dollar Quartet (National Tour).
The rest of the creative team is assembled with Associate Director and Associate Choreographer David Grindrod, whose credits include performing in A Chorus Line on Broadway at New York City Center, and in the National Tour, Japan Tour, China Premier, and others. Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) Ashani Smith returns to PSF following ASM for last summer’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
A Chorus Line features music by Marvin Hamlisch, a book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, with lyrics by Edward Kleban. It was conceived and originally directed by Michael Bennett. Bob Avian was the co-choreographer on the original Broadway production which was produced by The New York Shakespeare Festival, Joseph Papp Producer, in association with Plum Productions, Inc.
Alvin H. Butz, Construction Manager is the Production Sponsor for A Chorus Line. The Production Co-Sponsors are Air Products, Diefenderfer Electrical Contractors, andFitzpatrick, Lentz, & Bubba; and the Orchestra Sponsors are Allen Organs and Uline. Kathleen Kund Nolan & Timothy E. Nolan are the 2022 Season Sponsors. Associate Season Sponsors are Douglas Dykhouse, Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, The Szarko Family, and Harry C. Trexler Trust.
Subscription packages and single tickets can be purchased online at pashakespeare.org or by calling the PSF box office at 610.282.WILL .
Summer 2022 Season
Main Stage: Little Red (Open now to Aug 6), A Chorus Line (June 22 to July 10), Fences (July 27 to August 7), Shakespeare for Kids (July 28 to Aug 6).
Schubert Theatre: Every Brilliant Thing (Open now to June 19), Much Ado About Nothing (July 13 to Aug 7), The River Bride (a staged reading, July 1 to July 3).
The summer season is now open and runs to August 7 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the bucolic campus of DeSales University in Center Valley.