If you are one of those people who feel like they just don’t make musicals like they used to… wishing for the good ole days of musical theatre past, there is a little classic musical theatre treat awaiting your arrival at the Ahmanson Theatre now through July 6.
A Chorus Line took the musical theatre world by storm in 1975. Very little set, minus the usual big budget Broadway production value… just a simple show about 17 dancers auditioning for the chance to perform in a Broadway show. To dance in the chorus, and maybe if all goes really well… beyond. They individually tell their stories about when they started dancing, why do they do it, and even what they would do if they couldn’t dance anymore. This show won 9 Tony’s that year. In 1984 it was given an award for being the longest running show on Broadway. Without having seen the original production, once upon a time, I would venture to say this is the closest you will ever get to it. To give credibility when speaking so boldly of the authenticity of the production, I will let you know the original co-choreographer Bob Avian leads this production as director, with the help of another original Baayork Lee serving as the re-staging choreographer. The original costume designer (Theoni V. Aldredge) and set designer (Robin Wagner) are also on board. See… it will be just like you were there in 1975 witnessing musical theatre history in the making.
There has always been the discussion of which is the superior musical… CATS or Phantom. I say if you haven’t seen A Chorus Line, you aren’t a true musical theatre lover. And (with all due respect) I would take it over the previously mentioned musicals any day. It is called, “The best musical. Ever.” after all. There is no other musical that offers such an accurate look into the life of the actors/dancers/singers we so thouroughly enjoy watching on stage.
This particular production doesn’t have a weak link to be found in the cast. Each actor delivers their character’s stories of adolescence… whether it be abuse, sexual awakening, regular and not so regular growing pains with precision and skill. The ensemble of actors do the story, music and dance more than justice. My only quibble is that in their precision, the production borders on reenacting the classic production without finding new discoveries or making it totally their own. Sometimes it seemed more like recitation vs. embodying the characters and telling the story. In the end this concern is small and you undoubtedly will get a fantastic bang for your buck!
Don’t think you won’t be in the shower belting “What I Did for Love” expertly delivered by Gabrielle Ruiz as Diana, humming the tits and ass song, (“Dance: Ten; Looks: Three” Val’s hilarious song delivered with spunk by Natalie Hall) and tipping your invisible hat to “One” impeccably sung, danced and delivered by the entire company. None of your favorites, including Cassie (Nikki Snelson) and Zach (Michael Gruber, who was in the original company) disappoint… so whomever you identify and want to sing along with will give you a thrill. This show is timeless. Don’t miss the opportunity.
Cast: Clyde Alves, Venny Carranza, John Carroll, Emily Fletcher, Stephanie Gibson, Michael Gruber, Natalie Hall, Derek Hanson, Holly Howard, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Julie Kotarides, Denis Lambert, Jessica Latshaw, Ian Liberto, Stephanie Martignetti, Sterling Masters, Pilar Millhollen, Colt Prattes, Gabrielle Ruiz, Clifton Samuels, Kevin Santos, Nikki Snelson, Anthony Wayne, J.R. Whittington, Jessica Wu and swing performers Colin Bradbury, Erica Mansfield, Rebecca Riker and Alex Ringler.
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90012
Through July 6th.