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COHOES: \Chicago comes to town

The actors and actresses in "Chicago" are professionals, most of whom have come to Cohoes by way of New York City.

"This is real small town fun," Jennifer Davis, who is playing Velma, said. "But this is a good group of people and a great place to work."

Paul Kelly, who is originally from Florida but now lives in New York City, said he likes coming to Cohoes to perform because it is so close to his home.

"I like the fact that Cohoes is close to New York. I've known Jim and Tony since before they formed the entertainment company. Getting a theater off the ground is hard, and this theater has grown enormously," Kelly, who plays Amos Hart, said.

The Cohoes Music Hall in the heart of historic Cohoes was built in 1874 as a vaudeville theater, so it is the perfect setting for a performance of "Chicago."

When Charles and Rivera set their sights on the theater in 2000, the stage hadn't been used for musicals in years.

"Having this gorgeous theater go unused, it just wasn't right," Rivera said.

The active theater has enhanced the community, and the community has helped to enhance CR Productions.

"Our motto is: Revitalizing Cohoes one show at a time," Charles said.

CR Productions is involved with the theater program at Cohoes High School and works with local children and in the community whenever possible. The company also has a close relationship with the local dance school Spendwood Dance and Gymnastics.

"I know what the arts can do for an economy and this has been a great fit," Rivera said.

Doler said he was apprehensive to be in Cohoes during CR Production's first season, but now he has seen the difference within the city.

"The arts definitely contribute to the community. All great societies have thriving arts," he said.

The community has also been supportive of the theater. In its first year there were 250 sponsors, Rivera said. For the fifth season, there are more than 1,000 sponsors.

"Chicago" premieres Friday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. Performances will run through Sunday, Sept. 30, every Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. There will be one Saturday matinee on Sept. 29 at 3 p.m. For tickets, call the box office at 237-5858 or visit www.cohoesmusichall.com.""

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