Theatre Mirror Reviews - "A Chorus Line"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Sheila Barth


Everyone's in Step in "A Chorus Line"

Reviewed by Sheila Barth

I’ve seen several productions of “A Chorus Line,” the Pulitzer Prize, Tony, and New York Drama Critics Circle award-winning musical, and wondered how North Shore Music Theatre would present it, given its large cast and ensemble dance numbers. Not to worry. Mark Martino has recreated Michael Bennett’s original, fluid choreography and deft direction, ensuring that each member of this talented cast of 25 moves like a gazelle on the bare, circular stage and in the aisles. And Music Director Nick DeGregorio on keyboard and his 11 musicians, most of whom play several instruments, provide the right volume and vibrato in all ensemble and solo numbers. Christopher Chambers’ lighting shines the spotlight on individuals during their interviews and flashes of stream-of-consciousness, then bathes the cast in dramatic hues of shadowy blue, steamy red, and full white light during ensemble numbers. This one-act play set in a Broadway theater in 1975 focuses on 18 dancers, who are interviewed individually, revealing their painful secrets during a gut-wrenching, Broadway audition for chorus dancers. They’re young hopefuls, filled with ambition, but all have hang-ups dealing with parental and sexual issues, and wavering self-esteem. They all need this job, they chant, and dance their hearts out in the opening number “I Hope I Get It,” and “One”. Some are weeded out early. The rest are grilled and groomed by relentless director Zach (Derek Hanson), who circulates in the back of the theater, barking out questions and/or directions. Every character is distinctive. Miguel Angel Falcon as Paul, a Puerto Rican gay cross-dresser-performer from the Bronx, uses an Italian name, hoping for success. His story is the most compelling, evoking tears. Julie Kotarides as Diana, who comes from Paul’s Puerto Rican neighborhood but is tough-talking, tap dances in her sneakers, and delivers big hit solo, “What I Did for Love,” backed by the ensemble. And Katie Cameron is effectively haughty as tall, stately, self-confident Sheila. Rebecca Riker as Zach’s former live-in lover who left him suddenly, is vulnerable during her audition, as the embittered Zach carps at her, his knife-like tones cutting away at her bruised self-ego. She throws herself completely into the show’s longest, most dramatic dance number, “The Music and the Mirror,” with three descending and ascending mirrored panels, proving her willingness to perform with the younger dancers in the chorus line, while Zach is angry that she’s debasing herself. Their off-stage confrontation amid the audience is searing. In contrast, cute married couple Al (Venny Carranza) and Kristine (Nancy Renee Braun) provide comic relief in their duet “Sing!,” when she blurts out sour notes showing she can’t sing; and Bethany Moore as gangly, awkward Judy provide comic relief. “A Chorus Line” is a classy musical, with fabulous music and fine choreography that hasn’t tarnished during its long run. Critics may question its political correctness, but the play is set in 1975, when exploitation, discrimination and subjectivity ruled, off- and on stage.t book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, appearing at the North Shore Music Theatre, 62 Dunham Road, Beverly, through Nov. 21. Showtimes are Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Saturday, 8 p.m.; matinees, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets, $35-$65. Call 978-232-7200, visit www.nsmt.org or the Box Office

"A Chorus Line" (2 - 21 November)
NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE
62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY MA
1(978)232-7200

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |