Book by James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
National tour Choreographed by Baayork Lee
Directed by Bob Avian
Produced by Broadway in Chicago
At the Ford Center’s Oriental Theatre
Stunning power of A Chorus Line still holds strong emotions
“The show is dedicated to anyone who has ever danced in a chorus or marched in step…anywhere.” –Michael Bennett
The National Tour of A Chorus Line, now at the Oriental Theatre through May 3rd, still holds audiences with its stunning honesty and emotionally exhilarating heart. This production contains 26 of the finest dancers you’ll ever see on stage. It does, however, contain just adequate voices and the lack of mikes hurts as the orchestra overwhelms some of the singing. But A Chorus Line is so strong a piece that nothing can dent its emotional impact. The winner of nine 1975 Tony’s and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, A Chorus Line became the longest running American musical with 6, 137 performances from April 16, 1975 to April 28, 1990.
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 (Sebastian La Cause). 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 deftly and deeply gives us a glimpse into some of the personality traits of dedicated dancers. The show is an ode to anyone who has the guts to follow their dream despite the odds of 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’ (beautifully danced and sung by Robyn Hurder 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—get to the Oriental Theatre before May 3 to witness the power of a great musical.
At the Ford Center for the Performing Art Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL, call 312-902-1400, tickets $18 -$85, Tuesdays thru Thursdays at 7:30, Friday & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7:30 pm, matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours without intermission.