WHY HAVE I SEEN “A CHORUS LINE” 101 TIMES???   Leave a comment

(I am talking about the theatre production–not the atrocious movie version that was/is one of the worst Broadway to Hollywood adaptations!)

When I am asked to name my favorite movie or book no way could I name one but when it comes to theater I will quickly answer “Musical? “A Chorus Line” Drama? It is a tie between “A streetcar Named Desire and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

In September 2006, “A Chorus Line” had it’s first revival on Broadway. Thirty years before that (Thanksgiving weekend) I was sitting in the 3rd row mezzanine seeing it for the first time. The previous Spring I had caught the Tony Awards and watched the ACL’s excerpt and immediately called my dad in NYC (I was living in Memphis) and told him I HAD TO SEE IT!

From the moment the houselights went down until 2 hours and 10 minutes (no intermission) when they came up again I was mezmirized. I literally, couldn’t get out of my seat to leave the theatre because I was so drained. I had just seen the perfect blend of music, lyrics, dancing, singing, acting, lighting, etc., of any Broadway musical since I started going to theatre in the 1940s. I laughed, cried, to this day I don’t believe I breathed during Cassie’s 8 minute solo on the stage but then I don’t remember breathing during Paul’s monologue just before that.

That weekend I went back to see it two more times and after that became a “ACL groupie–saw the touring companies in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, Memphis, St. Louis, Dallas, etc. I have seen EVERY production (professional, regional, amatuer,etc.) that has been presented in South Florida the past 26 years. I’ve been back to NYC to see it 21 times (Including the performance when it became the longest running show on Broadway–THE most exciting time I EVER spent in a theatre–and adding to the excitement was our friend Buddy Vest was playing the role of Zach.)

Why? The fact of its universal theme of applying for a job and putting yourself on the line for it? Being able to identify with the cast, except maybe for Don? Sheila’s caustic blonde afraid of getting too old for the job and start facing reality? Mike whose ‘grandma hung out the window ‘? Mark, the ‘new kid on the block’? Diana who couldn’t wait to get out of the Bronx? Zach, the director who is so caught up in his profession his personal life is non-existent? Val who felt her looks were holding her back? Kristine who can’t sing? Greg? Bobby? One gay, the other who feels committing suicide in Buffalo would be redundant? I defy you not to cry, or get a catch in your throat, when Paul talks about the first time his father called him his son! Identifying the most with Cassie who wants to do what she does best knowing she can prove herself if given the job. The emotions you go through when the line is picked–who got the job, who didn’t? And the finale, showing the chorus line as it should be, perfection.

When I saw it the 100th time it was as if I was seeing it the first time–once again I went through all the emotions–never seemed stale. I’ve seen bad productions, directors cutting roles, singers and dancers not up to par, etc.,–but it doesn’t matter–it’s the book, the music, knowing each actor/dancer/singer is putting themselves ‘on the line’ each performance.

In February 2009 I went to see the revival 4 times, the first with Michael and Alfredo who had come to visit me. Any time a production of “A Chorus Line” comes to South Florida I will be there. And I am waiting for the 50th anniversary in 2026–I will be there!

A perfect Broadway show–What more could you ask for?



Posted August 18, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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