What compels somebody to constantly study dancing, voice, acting and struggle to find work when the odds are against him/her to find steady work, let alone fame? That question and the rich variety of answers from an eclectic group of dancers is the framework for A CHORUS LINE where at least twenty dancers take the stage for an audition, in the perennial hope of getting a job doing what they love. When the director asks them to talk about themselves, the fears, hopes, ambitions and struggles of each dancer is shared with the audience and other dancers.
A CHORUS LINE is one of the very few musicals to ever win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1976) along with 12 Tony Award nominations and a New York Drama Critics’ Circle award for Best Play. The show remained the longest running show in Broadway history until the late 1990s. An estimated 6.5 million people saw the show on Broadway alone.
The Cab Calloway School of the Arts is well-represented in this talented, young cast. Sydney Currie (Vicky), Asher Denburg (Zach), Katelyn Fisher (Connie), Sydney Hastain (Bebe), Chandler Smith (Mike) and Nicodemus William shine in their respective roles. Actors hailing from other stage backgrounds and experience include Alyssa Lewis (Val), Danielle Piccolomini (Diana), Sean Pyle (Al), Andre Reed (Bobby), Joshua Serrano (Richie), Lydia Stinson (Judy), Amanda Garcia Walker (Maggie), Kevin Austra (Greg), Ashley Ball (Dawn), Bridget Carrow (Cassie), Tess Greene), Tim Hegedus, Samantha Jeanne (Kristine), and Jodi Marie Persing (Sheila). The casting for this show was on the mark with a special nod to the somewhat daring and interesting performance by Ms. Persing. The choreography work is quite admirable and fine-tuned, especially given the rather small black box studio, bare-stage setting.
In a theater-in-the-round setting you can expect to not see the faces of actors at least half the time. It was frustrating in this set-up that I could only see the individually featured actors, from the side, when it was their turn to tell the director their story. The actors faced front towards the lighting booth, performing to the middle of the “V” seating set up, which meant those of us seated outside those sightlines had to view them from the side, during their feature spots. It is because this cast is good and up to the task that my frustration mounted when I could not see the actors’ faces. The actors could rectify this by ensuring that they “cheat” outside of the middle of that “V” shape so all audience members can see their magnificent faces as they tell their story to the director. I felt left out of the total experience for this reason.
The audience clearly loved the show, especially the musical numbers that Musical Director Cody Munzert put together. The enthusiasm of the cast and the sheer love of performing is so abundantly clear from the top of the show the audience quickly got involved in the auditions – a version of DANCING WITH THE STARS to see who survives the cuts and gets cast but with the knowledge that human aspiration can survive many disappointments.
If you are not one of the millions of people who have seen this show, I am not going to give away some of the story twists and turns other than to say this cast handled it all quite well.
Tickets are $18.00 adults/$15.00 for students. Catch a show on October 28, 29 at 8 p.m. and November 5 and 6 at 3:00 p.m.
A CHORUS LINE
Book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Directed by Bryan Bailey
Musical Director Cody Munzert
PREMIER CENTRE FOR THE ARTS
27 Anderson Street
Middletown, DE 19709
Box Office: 302-378-1384