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A CHORUS LINE O'Connell & Company/Ken-Ton Elmwood Commons
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Oct 18, 2021, 01:22
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Through October 31
A CHORUS LINE O’Connell & Company/Ken-Ton Elmwood Commons

“By Augustine Warner

“A Chorus Line” is a theatrical cliché and a classic show.
You know: the gay dancer, the dancer who can’t make the jump to lead roles, the dancer who needs plastic surgery to make it into the musical chorus, the director who jumped from the chorus and on and on.
That’s because Michael Bennett and the others involved in putting the show together based it on workshops with dancers.
They told their stories and those stories were woven into the musical,
If you have attended the theater for any length of time, you have almost certainly seen “A Chorus Line.”
I don’t know for certain, but I suspect many in the O’Connell & Company cast have done the show before this wonderful production.
It’s a difficult production to do because it has a very large cast and you have to persuade performers to come in and do the first part of the show and then go home, as their roles (numbers only) are sent home.
Maybe those casting demands are why it’s more of a high school or college show these days, except for a wonderful production at Stratford a couple of seasons ago.
Perhaps because it’s early in what exists in this pandemic year of the theater season, director and choreographer (and in-show director Zach) Dewayne Barrett has a strong cast for what ultimately is a dancing show.
Here, they dance, not just the company but Aimée Lynn Walker’s Cassie, Cami Clune’s Val and Anna Fernandez’ Diana.
That’s Cassie’s recognition she can never get above the chorus as old lover Zach has with the wonderful “The Music and the Mirror;” Mike’s (James Anthony Caposito) lead for “I Can Do That;” Val’s paean to plastic surgery, “Dance: Ten, Looks: Three;” and Fernandez’ “What I Did For Love.”
It’s a life they have chosen, worked for their entire lives and don’t want to give up.
Knowing few will get the parts for the Broadway show, they dance their hearts out and tell the stories of how they got there, backed with a very strong off-stage band led by Donald R. Jenczka.
That’s even when they are routinely denigrated by Zach’s assistant Larry (Collin McKee) as “the kids.“
Yet, these dancers are the backbone of the musical theater.
If you see a Broadway show on Broadway, watch how often a lead can’t really dance that well and the show is carried by those anonymous members of “the chorus,” singing and dancing as their ancestors have done for stage generations, until their knees give out as Paul’s do here or they have to move on for what jobs or careers will carry them through the rest of their lives, remembering “What I Did For Love.”
That’s why you should see this production of “A Chorus Line.”

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