On June 25, 1975, the history of musical theatre was changed when “A Chorus Line,” directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett, opened on Broadway. From its debut, the musical went on to run for 6,137 performances which was the longest-running Broadway show ever until “Cats” surpassed it in 1997. To this day, it remains the sixth-longest running show in Broadway history.
“A Chorus Line” is, for all intents and purposes, a musical about the “behind the scenes” side of musicals. In it, we hear the stories of a group of aspiring dancers, namely Zach (Nathanial Shaw), the director, Don (Warren Curtis), Maggie (Cary Michele Miller), Mike (Robbie Roy), Connie (Yurina Kutsukake), Greg (Joey Abramowicz), Cassie (Jessica Lee Goldyn), Sheila (Lauralyn McClelland), Bobby (Todd Allen Walker), Bebe (Jenny Piersol), Judy (Chloe Hurst), Richie (Kevin Curtis), Al (Alexander Aguilar), Kristine (Mallory Butcher), Val (Kristy Cavanaugh), Mark (Alex Pepper), Paul (Gabriel Malo), and Diana (Marisa Rivera).
The story begins with these dancers and a handful of others, who are auditioning for a part in a musical. The director, Zach, repeatedly has them dance while cutting back and forth between reality and glimpses of the dancers’ thoughts. He eliminates those who don’t make it, and we’re left with the 17 dancers who have made the cut. As word spreads that only four men and four women are needed, panic begins to set in for some of the dancers. The panic is increased when he tells each of them to stand and talk about themselves without acting. He just wants to hear them talk. Mike begins, telling stories of how he first learned he loved to dance. Bobby speaks about growing up gay in an upper class, conservative family. Shelia steps up to speak next.
As she stepped up to speak, I was overcome with a sense of intimidation: this woman knew what she wanted, and would manipulate anyone who stood in her way. However, we see a different side of her when she joins Bebe and Maggie in singing “At the Ballet.” Up next are Al and Kristine, the adorable husband and wife who tell their tale as a duet. Mark, who is revealed as the youngest of the remaining dancers, tells stories of his journey into adulthood, along with Greg and Diana. Don and Richie talk about jobs they had or almost had, and Judy relives her childhood. Paul talks about his struggles and Cassie reveals some shocking news about her past. This play is a story of hurdles that were overcome, and the sadness and joy that brought those dancers to that audition.
I walked into the theatre having no idea what to expect from this production. The limited knowledge I had prior to seeing the musical came from the movie “Every Little Step,” a chorus line of “A Chorus Line,” if you will, where the casting process for the 2008 Broadway revival of this classic was filmed and produced. I was incredibly shocked to find that Jessica Lee Goldyn, the actress who played Cassie in the Fulton’s production, was the actress who was revealed to have gotten the part of Val for the 2008 revival. It was interesting to have seen her audition for the part of Val and then actually perform as Cassie in a production. I thought the show was incredibly well done. The singing was wonderful, the casting was spot on, and the dancing! The dancing was simply mind-blowing. I sat on the edge of my seat, completely mesmerized by the dancers’ movements. I fell in love with this musical, and I highly recommend that, if given a chance, everyone should witness a performance as astounding as this one.