The musical about the brutal life of the Broadway gypsies, the singers and dancers in the chorus "A Chorus Line" is at IU’s Ruth N. Halls Theatre in a classy, accomplished and often totally involving production directed and choreographed by George Pinney. J. Adam Burnette and Courtney Crouse share the musical direction responsibilities.
As the lights went down Monday night, I found myself wondering. Can it be that "A Chorus Line" opened as long ago as 1975, that it’s thirty-one years old, and that George Pinney directed it in one of his early assignments at IU back in 1989? In 1989 the show was still in its teens. Today it’s old enough to have voted in four Presidential Elections. What about this mature citizen among musicals?
I’m happy to say that it still has resonance, that the stories of the aspirations, the hopes the fears of the twenty or so singer dancer auditionees are still capable of involving and even moving us. Jesse Bernath as the director Zach at the auditions that are at the center of "A Chorus Line" seems a bit harsher than seems useful, but it’s a well rounded part. Peter Stoffan drew good applause as the tap dancing Mike in "I Can Do That." Erin Daugherty was an eye catcher in every scene as the tough talking Sheila and sympathetic as a woman still captivated by dance in "At the Ballet." Betina Pereira was captivating as the Puerto Rican Diana in her critique of empty acting classes, "Nothing" and in the key song to "A Chorus Line," "What I Did for Love." Gerold Schroeder’s touching account of growing up homosexual was mesmerizing. Mallorie Fletcher was appropriately torchey in her wry tribute to plastic surgery, "Dance Ten; Looks: Three." Rebecca Faulkenberry was sympathetic as the failed star-track-performer, back for one more try in the chorus.
Overall the cast showed just what a powerhouse IU has become for developing students through the Theatre Department, the Dance Program, the Music School and the individualized major in musical theatre performance. Dancing was precise and nicely handled. Vocals both individually and as a group were well done.
"A Chorus Line" at IU is a good solid show. It does still have some of the grit and brutality that moved audiences in the 70s, and somehow today there’s also a touch of not unwelcome innocence in the patina
"A Chorus Line" plays each evening through Saturday in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Complex. Showtime is at seven-thirty.