by Dick Kerekes
A true theatre classic is now on stage at the Times Union Center in Jacksonville until January 24. A Chorus Line with nine Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize, opened in l975 and played 6,137 performances. In the “The New York Times Book of Broadway” it was selected as one of the twenty-five productions that defined the century!
This new style musical in l975, as conceived and choreographed by Michael Bennett, with book by James Kirkwood and music by Marvin Hamlish, was heralded as tremendous and terrific. The story line is about how to get into a Broadway musical chorus. Each year hundreds of young energetic talented performers make their way to New York to try to dance and sing their way into show business. Some make it, but many more don’t. A Chorus Line is a look at how the audition process works. It has been embellished as ZDach, the director, asks each of the hopefuls about their aspirations and insecurities. This is a musical so naturally some express themselves in songs like, “I Can Do That,” “I Hope I Get It,” “Nothing” and “What I Did For Love”.
The wonderful staging with all that great dancing, dazzling lights, especially in the unique mirror scenes, is still there and still as impressive as ever.
A Chorus Line has come full circle, and been done everywhere including high schools, colleges, community theatre and even made into a 1985 movie with Michael Douglas as the director.
For many in the opening night audience, seeing it was like visiting an old friend and reliving the heart of the show. For many, who have become musical theatre fans in more recent times, it is a chance to see an excellent carbon copy of the original and enhance your musical theatre history by experiencing one of the great ones.
The final number of the show, “One,” is spectacular, with the entire 30 actors dressed in gold attire and dancing to precision. It was and is still an awesome sight.
This is an adult show because of language and I would not recommend it for younger children. The show runs 2 hours, 15 minutes without an intermission.