Staples Players present “A CHORUS LINE”
Staples Players proudly present “A CHORUS LINE." Originally directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett, with a Book by James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante, music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban.
Performances will take place at the main stage theatre at Staples High School on March 15, 16, 22, 23 at 7:30 p.m., March 17 at 3 p.m. and March 21 at 7 p.m.
A CHORUS LINE takes the audience through the final grueling audition run by the director, Zach, for a new Broadway musical. At the beginning of the show, Zach, a driven, compulsive worker, has assembled thirty semi-finalists and is putting them through a vigorous series of dance combinations, including ballet and jazz. Soon he thins this group down to the final sixteen, eight boys and eight girls. They and the audience know that eventually this number will be cut in half and Zach will choose only four boys and four girls to be in his new musical. The cast has been learning the highly stylized Michael Bennett choreography from Staples Alumni - and Broadway cast member Bradley Jones.
Kerry Long who co-directs the A CHORUS LINE with David Roth says that “Bradley has a long history with the show - he appeared in the Broadway and touring productions of it in the 1980's and restaged it for Players in 1999. He, along with Players regular choreographer Andrea Metchick, have done an outstanding job of teaching the dance and making it shine - the students have been working 6 days a week and for long hours on the weekends in order to master these complicated steps. The results are quite impressive - the kids have improved tremendously and have grown so much as performers in the process.”
David Roth explains that choosing a show such as this is a complicated choice. “We are constantly looking for shows that have a large number of great roles - A CHORUS LINE fit this show perfectly... there are basically 19-20 "leading" roles - wonderful, full characters with monologues, songs and dance. However, it is a show that few high schools dare to tackle - for a number of reasons. There is a lot of mature subject matter and language that many schools would shy away from and, perhaps what makes it even more challenging is the dance. We are lucky to have many talented actor/singer/dancers currently - so we thought that this would be a great time to try and tackle this great show.”
The students have reveled in the process since auditions began. Will Smith ’13 who plays Zach in the show explains “The audition process was a lot different than normal. For one thing we only had dance auditions and then straight to callbacks instead of having singing auditions. Auditions for this show were pretty much a mirror image of the plot of A Chorus Line”.
Cara Mcniff, a junior who plays Sheila adds “The audition process for this show was a lot more nerve racking than past auditions for me. What's funny about it is the opening combination we had to do for the audition is the opening of the show which is where the characters are trying to get on the line. All of the emotions we were feeling at the time of the audition are what we have to feel and express as our character in the show.”
In order to tackle such a challenging show, rehearsals are usually split between focussing on dance and characterizations and staging. Cast member Michael Sixsmith, a senior who plays Ritchie explains “Bradley's rehearsals are all about dancing. We dance, and then we dance, and then we dance some more! Bradley works us really hard because he was in A Chorus Line when it was originally on Broadway. On the other hand, rehearsals with Mr. Roth are much more acting focused. He is trying really hard to make all of our characters seem like real people.”
For some characters, the rehearsal process is even more intensive. Sophomore, Claire Smith who plays Cassie in the show explains. “For Cassie, my understudy, Carly Kobylinski, and I have had the pleasure of working with Laurie Gamache in New York to learn "Music and the Mirror". Laurie was the last Cassie in the original Broadway run, so it's been amazing hearing about her experiences and the advice she has on how to really sell the dance.”
Senior, Liam Orly who plays Bobby adds that “It is definitely more physically tiring just because the show itself has so much dance and most characters don’t leave the stage for more than twenty minutes. But other than being physically taxing, this process is not much more difficult than previous shows. I think one big reason for this is the fact that everyone wants so badly for this show to be as amazing as it has potential to be so we are all willing to put in the necessary effort.”
Marjorie Watt and Priscilla Stampa have taken pains to costume the cast nearly identical to that of the Broadway production. Peter Barbieri, Jr. and Dave Seltzer are in the show’s Technical Director and Set Designers. Luke Rosenberg serves as the Music Director and Conductor.
Tickets are available for $10 for students and $15 for adults at Staplesplayers.com and will also be available at the door, as available, 30 minutes prior to the show. Cash or checks only accepted at the door. *There are two performances offering senior citizen discounted tickets for $10. These performances are at the 3pm Sunday Matinee on November 17th and at 7:00pm on Thursday March 21st.
A student discount is being offered for $7 at the Thursday, March 21st performance at 7pm. Please visit staplesplayers.com or call 203-341-1310 for more information and double cast performance schedules.
**Please note that This show carries a strong parental guidance warning for adult language and subject matter that may not be suitable for children.
A CHORUS LINE was Conceived and Originally Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett
Book by James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Co-Choreographed by Bob Avian Original Broadway production produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, Joseph Papp, Producer, in association with Plum Productions, Inc.
Staples Players is presenting A CHORUS LINE by special arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc.