“A Chorus Line” was a Broadway hit in 1975, winning nine Tony awards, as well as a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976. The songs are well-known even today, so even non-musical fans are most likely familiar with “One,” even if they don’t know what musical it’s from.
The musical tells the story of 17 dancers auditioning for eight parts (you do the math) in a Broadway musical in the ’70s. Zach, the director (Jeremiah Ginn), not only wants them to dance for him, he wants them to tell him their life stories. What follows is a series of monologues and songs about each dancer’s life, with some group numbers interspersed.
It’s not a show with a strong storyline, and there isn’t much character development. Since it’s almost 40 years-old, it has some moments where it seems dated, but it surprisingly remains fresh.
’A Chorus Line’
WHERE: Proctors, 432 State Street, Schenectady
WHEN: Through today
HOW MUCH: $20-$65
MORE INFO: 346-6204, www.proctors.org
The current production at Proctors is high-energy, but with some flaws.
The dancing was excellent; the actors didn’t miss a step. The big dance numbers were impressive and fun to watch. The choice to use a mirror as the background had both pros and cons: It did give the feel of a dance studio and made for some interesting stage images, but the reflection of the stage lights became glaring at times and made it difficult to focus on the action.
The musical numbers were not as across-the-board successful. Sound issues during what would have been a show-stopping number, “At the Ballet,” were distracting and caused the audience to grumble and complain throughout the number, as well as making it impossible to hear one of the actresses.
There were some high points — both the opening number, “I Hope I Get It,” and “One,” later in the show, had the right amount of energy. Val’s (Aisling Halpin) “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three” was raunchy and fun.
Lauren Nicole Alaimo’s Diana had an excellent stage presence, but her voice on “Nothing” (one of the standout songs of the show) left something to be desired. The sound seemed muffled; it wasn’t the best listening environment.
The acting as well was up and down. Some of the actors stood out; as mentioned, Alaimo had the stage presence to make her one of the characters to root for, and Ashley Klinger and Nick Varricchio, as young married couple Kristine and Al, were charismatic and a joy to watch.
The absolute standout was Eddie Gutierrez as Paul — his monologue late in the play was heart-rending and absolutely perfect. Sadly, many of the other actors faded into the background, even when given moments to shine.
The show doesn’t work unless you’re rooting for everyone and on pins and needles wondering who will make the cut. One of the main actresses, Caley Crawford, who portrayed Cassie, was sadly one of those who faded into the background, even though given multiple scenes to work with; you never really felt a emotional connection with her.
The show has its problems, but as a piece of nostalgia, and for the dancing alone, it’s worth a watch. Just don’t expect a perfect production.
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