7 DECADES SERIES “A CHORUS LINE” PART 17 A   Leave a comment

September 28 Wednesday 1983 Arrived in New York and that evening Kingsbery, Bill and I went to see “A Chorus Line”.

September 29 Thursday 1983 Kingsbery and I went to the performance of “A Chorus Line” becoming the longest running show on Broadway -unbelievable

September 30 Friday 1983 Kingsbery, John Connolly, Tommy, Chuck, Bill and I went to see “A Chorus Line”.


September 20 Friday 1985 Kingsbery and I went to see “A Chorus Line”.

September 21 Saturday 1985 Kingsbery and I went to matinee of “A Chorus Line” and in the evening Kathy, Margie, Kingsbery, Buddy Vest and I went to see “A Chorus Line”.


September 22 Thursday 1988 Arrived in city–Eleanor, Andy and I went to see “A Chorus Line”

September 24 Saturday 1988 Spent afternoon at Feast of St. Gennero with Andy then I went to see “A Chorus Line”; in the evening

September 25 Sunday 1988 Went to a matinee of “A Chorus Line”–the last time I would see it in New York and the last time I was in New York.


I had 2 more opportunities to see “A Chorus Line” in New York with the first being the closing of its run after 15 years in April, 1990, and next when the first revival opened up on October 5, 2006, when Gene said she could get me a ticket. Aside from not being able to afford the trip to either I, also, knew that nothing would ever surpass that performance of September 29, 1983. I could handle seeing it in other venues but felt no need to return to the Big Apple. My last impression of the city, in 1988, was that it is filled with gray buildings and gray people. Times Square and the surrounding areas had really turned dirty, sleazy and, to a certain extent, scary, though I never felt unsafe in the city I was born in.

Something else that shocked me were the prices of things, especially at restaurants, such as an ordinary Chef’s Salad was $25 at Tavern on the Green and a half a dozen oysters at the Oak Plaza was $15. Where I had paid $7.50 for a ticket to see “A Chorus Line” in 1976 they were $51 in 1988. (Now in 2012 they would probably be $140 each!) I did get to see the touring company of the revival at the Broward Performing Arts Center February 17 and 19, 2009. I said goodbye to the Big Apple and I know I won’t ever be going back.


I saw many other shows those 3 Autumns I was in New York and I have seen thousands of musicals, dramas and comedies on stage (including 101 productions of “A Chorus Line”) but that performance on September 29, 1983, was the greatest I have ever seen on stage. Over the years, especially in the 40s to the 60s, I have seen the best actors and shows that have become legend but nothing will ever come close to that performance. I have written about it many times but here are some notes from my diary of that week.

Wednesday September 28, 1983 Chuck and I went to see “Dreamgirls”which Buddy Vest is in and later, not knowing if he could, Buddy told Kingsbery he got 2 tickets!! We are going to the show tomorrow. Bob and I ran out and rented tuxes for $85 each and before I knew it we were walking into the Shubert Theatre and sitting in row S, seats 17 and 19 in the rear orchestra which turned out to be a dividend! The show was unbelievable!! 6 Cassies, 10 Pauls, “Nothing” sung by the Japanese cast, over 400, including Buddy, on the stage for the finale. How Michael Bennett in one week redid the whole show using the original and current Broadway cast plus the National touring company and the Japanese cast had the whole audience shouting an d applauding. Then there was a bonus when Joseph Papp, the producer, and Bennett came out to take bows the former asked if we would mind staying as NBC wanted to film the finale for television. He couldn’t have gotten us out if he wanted us to leave.

Waiting for everything to get set up the cast filled the aisles and next to our seats were a couple of the Pauls and Vals. We started talking to them, asking how they made such a quick change at the end and one of the Pauls showed us how they were Velcro in the back which made the change fast as it was needed. I WAS TALKING TO PAUL!!!! The actor(s) that brought me to tears every time he did his monologue, there was a Val who would say to the audience, “You’re looking at my tits now, aren’t you?” and cracking everyone up. And then the music started up for the finale and from the downbeat until the end the noise from us watching them was deafening. I know they had to mute it down somehow for the taping, which I had set my VCR up before I left, as it was announced they would be doing a salute to “A Chorus Line” that night and it was perfect.

I walked out of the Shubert unable to talk as my throat was aching from shouting “Bravo!” and it would be a couple of days before by hands were unswollen from all the applauding I did. It is now 29 years later and I have seen a lot of shows since then but though I may have been moved, and enjoyed, by other shows there will never be an equal to that one singular performance, not even the first time I saw it sitting in the mezzanine of the Shubert Theatre 7 years before.

http://www.achorusline.org/ for more about the show and the people in it.


Posted October 30, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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