Genesius Theatre held its third annual Pre-Oscars party Sunday night at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Reading. The red carpet night featured a live auction, casino games, and special entertainment by Genesius actors.
“Welcome to the 49th season of Genesius Theatre” declared board president Brian Fichthorn, as guests walked in the door. For Fichthorn, the night isn’t just about cocktails and music, it’s about continuing the mission of the theatre.
Fichthorn says Genesius has created a plan for investment for the coming years, which includes establishing professional staff, improving the theatre space, and enhancing downtown Reading.
Beginning the program, Fichthorn held a toast to the late Gene London, who was the special guest at the Genesius Pre-Oscar Party in 2016. Over the years, London donated several costumes to the Genesius collection, mentioned Fichthorn.
Following the opening remarks, Genesius Artistic Director, Larry Fecho, introduced two stage performances featuring actors from 6-14’s years old. The young actors sang portions of the musical, Legally Blond Junior, which Genesius will be performing in March.
“Back in the day in Genesius, it was a new thing to have kids doing shows” said Fecho. “At other theaters, it was a been seen but not heard thing. Jane Simmon Miller and Michael O’Flaherty, which started Genesius, wanted kids to be in shows. When I was 13-18 I did 65 shows at Genesius. I am very excited to have some of the alumni back tonight.”
Bringing Broadway talent back to Reading, the evening included performances by 2 time tony, and 3 time Emmy award winning actor Dale Badway, Jessica Kostival, and Michael Kubala.
“Its my honor to be here tonight” Badway said on stage. “It’s all about theatre and love in the room tonight, we’re all one big theatrical family tonight. I’ll tell you this, the love and generosity in this room tonight is priceless, and it’s worth more than any Oscar.”
Following the performances of Badway and Kostival, co-founder of Genesius, Michael O’Flaherty, recalled some of his own memories. “I was last here over Christmas, and my room was 614, which overlooked Penn Street, at the exact spot the original Genesius Theatre was located” said O’Flaherty. “It’s just really great to be back in Reading.”