& Directed by Michael Bennett
Book by James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Directed by Mitzi Hamilton
Music Direction by Shawn Stengel
At Paramount Theatre, Aurora
Trues to the original, Hamilton’s A Chorus Line still sizzles
“The show is dedicated to anyone who has ever danced in a chorus or marched in step…anywhere.” –Michael Bennett
Another stunning production featuring 27 actors/dancers with 13 Equity plays and 17 stop-shelf musicians at Paramount Theatre in Aurora. It still holds audiences with its stunning honesty and emotionally exhilarating heart. While some of the voices were a tad thin, Paramount Theatre’s remount dances superbly and sounds terrific! A Chorus Line is so strong a piece that nothing can dent its emotional impact. Judging by the full house for Wednesday matinee, musicals have found an audience in the Far Western Suburbs.
A Chorus Line is Michael Bennett’s ode to all those unsung heroes of the musical stage—the chorus ensemble dancers. They are the ‘gypsies’ who thanklessly give depth to musicals with their singing and dancing. A Chorus Line involves an audition for dancers for a new Broadway show. The empty stage has only mirrors and is filled with a ‘cattle-call’ of hoofers under the watchful eye of Zak director (Luis Perez). Zak needs 4 boys and 4 girls from the 17 finalists selected. He wants each to tell him personal stories to give him a glimpse into their personalities since they will have short speaking parts as well as dancing in the new musical.
Besides the awesome dancing in the opening number “I hope I Get It,” A Chorus Line smartly and deeply gives us a glimpse into the personality traits of dedicated dancers. The show is an ode to anyone who has the guts to follow their dream despite the odds against success. We see how many escape their demons and their dysfunctional families through the self expression of dance. The fantastic toe-tapping score by Marvin Hamlisch with Edward Kleban’s apt lyrics allows us to witness outstanding Broadway dances from ballet to tap to modern dance movements. A Chorus Line is not only the finest ‘backstage musical,’ but it is the best dance show ever. Some call it “The Best Musical, Ever.”
Filled with varied musical styles, A Chorus Line’s characters win our hearts with their emotional attachment to their craft. We love these ‘gypsies’ and we wonder who’ll Zak pick as his chorus. From the sexy “Dance: Ten: Looks: Three” (tits & ass) to the marvelous sole dance number “The Music and the Mirror’ (nicely danced and sung by Jessie Lee Goldyn as Zak’s ex Cassie), the power of being who you are and chasing your dreams comes alive. The anthem “What I Did for Love” wonderfully coveys the dancer’s being free from regret if their not selected. The spectacular “One” is a most memorable show ending dance number performed flawlessly by the entire cast.
A Chorus Line is a powerful tribute to anyone who dares chase their dream by creating and performing their art. If you have never seen A Chorus Line—take a ride out to the wonderful Paramount Theatre in Aurora and witness a thrilling and heartfelt remount of one of the finest musicals ever. Yes, Paramount Theatre continues the fabulous production values that rivals many of the downtown Chicago touring shows. Jim Corti and Tim Rater are on their way to making terrific art at their wonderful art deco venue. With a ticket price ranging from $34.90 to $46.90 for a full Equity production you’d be hard pressed to find a better entertainment value.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: January25, 2012
For more info checkout the A Chorus Line page on theatreinchicago.com
At Paramount Theatre, 23 East Galena, Aurora, IL, call 630-896-6666, www.paramountaurora.com, tickets $34.90 – $46.90, Wednesdays at 1:30 & 7:30 pm, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 pm, Sundays at 1 & 5 pm, running time is 2 hours, 25 minutes with intermission, through February 5, 2012