Thursday, August 30, 2012


  Check out this production written by today's teens featuring music of the1930s -- Cheryl

Genesius Teens write BEAT! A 1930’s Musical Review playing 8/31-9/1
 in Reading

Every day at Genesius Theatre holds encounters with the many ghosts that are said to occupy the theater.  Some say the spirit of the theater’s founder Jane Simmon Miller walks the balcony watching rehearsals and sending signals communicating her thoughts via cigarette smoke.  Others believe the ghosts of several men killed during a bar fight and stored in the freezer in the speakeasy which was once housed in the basement of Genesius Theatre during the 1920’s and early 1930’s are to blame for the many missing props, footsteps on the basement stairs, flashing lights, and strange apparitions. 

So one evening during a rehearsal of the Genesius Theatre Simmon Miller Acting Company, a group that is sponsored in part by the Berks Arts Council and PA Partners InThe Arts, the teens noticed the freezer in the basement and asked their director, Christine Cieplinski, what it was.  Cieplinski told the teens the story of the speakeasy and the freezer. 

The kids were energized by the story and decided to develop a script for a musical review that might help audiences catch a small glimmer of that time when Prohibition and the Great Depression reigned supreme and people used places like the basement of Genesius Theatre to drink what they weren’t supposed to and play in an atmosphere where they could forget the rigors of daily life in such an oppressed time.

Hence, BEAT! A 1930’s Musical Review was concocted.  The teens picked out their favorite 1930’s songs and wrote a script that incorporated all of them into a storyline that features siblings Billy and Ella as they try to make money to enter a talent contest held by promoter Bombastic Betty.  They earn money as street performers, but that money is stolen by a no good thievin’ rotten type named Frank.  With the help of a friendly speakeasy operator, they play a couple of sets in his bar and he pays them just enough to enter the contest.  They meet interesting folks along the way to what they believe will be their fame and survival including the trio of singing girls called Andrew’s Little Sisters, a very young wannbe starlet named Marilyn Baker, and a sweet little girl named Shirley Church who sings songs about her soup.  Can they do it?  Can they beat all the competition while the audience enjoys fan favorites such as Singin’ In The Rain, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and seventeen more songs?  Come see BEAT! A 1930’s Musical Review playing Friday August 31 and Saturday September 1 at 8:00pm at Genesius Theatre, 10th and Walnut Streets, Reading.  Visit or call 484-332-0098 for tickets and information.


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