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A Chorus Line

May 14, 2012

Event: A Chorus Line
Venue: Sands Theater at Marina Bay Sands
Run: 4th – 27th May 2012

Dance Dance Revolution

It’s kinda hard to believe, but in the hallowed ranks of the longest-running Broadway shows of all time, “A Chorus Line” actually stands at an overwhelmingly impressive Number 5, although it will in all likelihood soon be surpassed by ‘The Lion King”, which is only less than a hundred shows behind.

Directed and choreographed by the legendary Michael Bennett, “A Chorus Line” first opened on Broadway in 1975, and although its cultural references may evidently be dated in today’s milieu, the musical still stands out for its incredibly bold and adventurous premise.

One can only imagine how revolutionary this concept musical was back in the 70’s, and the huge list of Tony Awards it has since amassed is a testament to the sheer impact which this 125-minute musical had on the musical theatre landscape.

It is an example of taking an intriguing concept to the nth degree, and doing a heck of a good job out of it.

The story is simple enough – everything happens in a dance studio where director/choreographer Zach conducts dance auditions to select a chorus of 4 male and 4 female dancers for a Broadway show.

The opening scene is where we are immediately thrust into the thick of the action, where all the eager auditionees are being hastily put through their paces.

Shortly after, the group is whittled down to 17, and from there we are slowly presented with the life stories of the remaining auditionees.

“A Chorus Line” has definitely got to be the most dance-intensive musical I have ever seen, and one can only imagine the hours of rehearsals that went into preparing for this show.

But apart from the scintillating choreography, the strength of the musical lies in the fact that we are immediately introduced to the ambitions of all the characters right from the get-go (“I Hope I Get It”), and in this case it so happens that they all have the one singular goal – and that is to secure a place in the chorus.

And thus the thrust of the musical is immediately established, and as the show progresses we are slowly being drawn into the lives of these fascinating characters.

We learn of their backgrounds, we learn of what they’ve been through, we learn of their strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities, and we learn how much this job means to them.

They lay bare their soul to the audience, sometimes in heart-wrenching fashion, and you can’t help but develop a strong sense of sympathy for some of these characters.

In many ways you could say that this was the original reality TV show – assemble a bunch of colourful characters with roughly the same expertise all gathered to win a common prize, and in the process stick a candid mic in their faces and see them reveal their innermost hopes, dreams and fears.

You may not develop an affinity for every single character, but you’d inevitably start rooting for at least a few of them.

One point of note though: As much as I was drawn into the entire musical, I was strangely unaffected at the end when the final 8 candidates were eventually chosen.

To me, somehow it didn’t really matter who got the job or not in the end.

I’m not exactly sure why this was the case, but my friend who was with me that night also concurred.

“A Chorus Line” runs from start to end without intermission, and truth be told, an intermission would be inappropriate anyway, considering the entire musical flows seamlessly without actually breaking up into distinct scenes.

It may have been 37 years since this ground-breaking musical first took Broadway by storm, but even till today “A Chorus Line” still rings clear with an astounding sense of novelty and vitality.

Successful shows tend not to run on Broadway for extremely long periods of time without good reason, and in “A Chorus Line” you can be assured that you will have every reason to be thrilled by this exceptional if not unconventional piece of musical theatre.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2012 11:34 pm

    A chorus of good lines, Mr Writer! 😉

    • Jeremy permalink*
      May 17, 2012 1:51 pm

      Thank you, dear Reader!

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