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'A Chorus Line' takes center stage

Winner of nine Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976, “A Chorus Line” remains a classic to this day as the sixth longest-running Broadway show, and this summer, Circle Theatre invites you to experience this enjoyable and humorous musical right here in Grand Rapids.

/Circle Theatre

Want to see more from Circle Theatre?

Circle Theatre’s 2017 season includes the play “To Kill A Mockingbird” in August and the musical “It Shoulda Been You” in September. Circle also hosts a Summer Concert Series with four different themed shows from July through September.

/Circle Theatre

/Circle Theatre

Directed by Fred Sebulske and William Schutte, “A Chorus Line” tells the story of several hopeful dancers as they audition for a role in the chorus of an upcoming Broadway show led by the director Zach (Todd Lewis) and his assistant choreographer Larry (Andrew Williams). Starting right away, the audience is thrown into the fast-paced auditions as the dancers learn and attempt to perfect the choreography in order to earn a place as the four girls and four boys who make it into the chorus (“I Hope I Get It”).

After the first rounds of cuts, only seventeen dancers remain. Looking to learn more about each dancer, Zach asks the individuals to tell him about themselves and their past. With fear and reluctance, the dancers share how they started dancing and why it is important to them as well as discussing various experiences and problems they faced as children, teens, and adults.

As the audience learns more about each character, a past romance is also revealed when Zach talks privately to Cassie (Jolene Frankey) about why a dancer who has had success in the past as a soloist is now auditioning for a role in the chorus (“The Music and the Mirror”).

Although they all share similar dreams, when one dancer is faced with an injury, reality hits every one of them as they realize their dance career could end in an instant. As they discuss what they would do if they could no longer dance, Diana (Macey Madias) reminds everyone that even though they may not know what will happen in the future, they will not regret following their passion (“What I Did For Love”).

Even if you do not know anything about theatre or dance, it is easy to connect with all the characters because they face similar obstacles and problems that everyone goes through, such as wanting to succeed, questioning who you are or what you will do with your life, and overcoming struggles and issues throughout your life.

Because “A Chorus Line” not only shows the process of an audition, but also the inner thoughts and fears of each dancer, the audience is able to step into each dancer’s shoes and empathize with all the dancers’ feelings of anxiety, embarrassment, insecurity, and vulnerability.

Since there are characters on both sides of the audition process, the audience can see the show in two different viewpoints, one where the audience is judging the dancers and the other where they are being judged. By sitting the director and assistant choreographer offstage near the audience, it allows viewers to think about who they would cast and judge the dancers on their skill, personality, and looks. However, when the director yells from afar and the dancers face the mirrors, the audience is reminded of how it would feel to audition. Having the mirrors a part of this set is also effective because it reflects a portion of the audience, which allows people to see their own insecurities and relate to the dancers on a more personal level.

Throughout the show, humor plays a vital role as it adds interest and variety, such as during the opening number when the dancers rehearse the same choreography. Another highlight of the show was the synchronicity. Not only were the dancers in sync with the upbeat music from the flawless live band, but also with one another, which created lasting pictures and showcased their strength as a supportive ensemble.

Because each character was able to stand out as an individual with their own personality and different dancewear, when all the dancers came together in the finale number (“Bows”), it created a memorable performance where no individual stood out, but rather the whole chorus shined just as bright as their gold, sparkly costumes.

By the packed house and enthusiastic response from the audience, it is clear this musical is a crowd favorite. This show is definitely a must-see as the collaborative work from the cast, crew, and production team paid off in producing a show that possesses heart, humor, and excellent musical numbers.

If interested in seeing the show, tickets can be purchased online at their website or by calling the box office at 616-456-6656. While the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on July 19th-22nd and 26th-29th, there will also be a Sunday production on July 23rd at 5 p.m. There is no intermission and the show is about two hours.

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