‘A Chorus Line’ continues its run at the Egyptian Theatre
July 15, 2014
Since July 4, the Egyptian Theatre has presented the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "A Chorus Line" every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The show, featuring music by Marvin Hamlish and lyrics by Edward Kleban, has received positive reviews on Tripadvisor.com by those who have seen the production and the audiences turnout has been great, said director Amber Hansen.
The good news, she said, is that there are still plenty of performances left.
"Ticket sales are picking up," Hansen told The Park Record. "So anyone who still wants to see the show should act quickly, because this is a musical that is not to be missed."
When "A Chorus Line" premiered on Broadway back in 1975, it was a ground-breaking musical. The story was about a New York theater audition and there were no extravagant costumes. The set was a bare theater stage.
The draws were the song and dance numbers, and the characters. That was something Hansen wanted to continue with the Egyptian Theatre’s version.
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"Directing the show for me is easy because it’s such a huge dance and song show," she said. "The choreographer Steph Thomas and the music director Jeanne McGuire had big jobs to do and all the dancing is all original choreography."
Hansen felt she excelled most as a director was in the casting.
"The actors are so perfect and well-suited for their characters," she said. "They bring a lot of their own life experiences to their roles to give a fresh outlook in this musical."
The catch was to utilize the heartfelt story conceived by original director Michael Bennett.
"Everyone in the cast gives a memorable performance because they are believable," Hansen said. "They go through their life stories and they are personable and relatable.
"I mean we’ve all grown up and had those embarrassing stories when your body changes and you can’t go to your parents," she said. "I mean we can all relate to that."
Another secret to the show’s success is that it’s an ensemble show.
"There isn’t one person that the show is centered around so everyone gets a chance to shine and tell their stories," Hansen explained. "The whole cast is on the line on stage throughout the whole show. So at any given time, there is always someone in the audience looking at them all."
That means the actors have to be in character all the time.
"The big thing is they have to tell their stories as if they are telling them for the first time," Hansen said.
That hurdle was cleared during a rehearsal a few weeks back.
"I told everyone that they had to tell an intimate personal story," Hansen said.
"They all looked terrified and I told them that their ‘oh-no’ faces were what they had to do for every single show."
After Hansen made the announcement, she was afraid the cast would rebel, but she worried for nothing.
"The cast bonded and we shared this emotional journey together, which is exactly what happens in the show," she said.
There isn’t much a director can do to add their own flavor to "A Chorus Line," because there aren’t extravagant sets or props, except for a few large portrait photos.
So Hansen added her touches with the stage set up.
"We have the piano player staged in the front of the house where the cabaret tables usually are set up, . So it looks like an audience is coming to watch a New York audition," she said. "Then when the characters break out into their stories, we color their segments with different lighting.
"We also used a couple of GoPro cameras to give a mirror effect toward the end of the show," Hansen said. "The result is just breathtaking."
This year marks the first time Hansen has directed this musical.
"’A Chorus Line’ is perfect in a lot of ways," she said. "It’s an amazing story and has some show-stopping numbers."
The glitz and joy screeches to a halt with a monologue by the character Paul, performed by William Cooper Howell.
"This, to me, is the heart of the show," Hansen said. "It’s so beautiful and emotional."
During that scene, Paul addresses his sexual orientation.
"Back when it was written 40 years ago in the 1970s, this was the type of material that would cause people to walk out of a show," Hansen said "The audience, back then, couldn’t handle this type of heavy material.
"The thing is, the topic still resonates today, although homosexuality is more widely accepted," she said. "It’s still a struggle that many young people growing up have to face. And the cast makes all of these stories believable."
The Egyptian Theatre will continue its run of "A Chorus Line" Thursdays through Sundays through July 27. Showtimes for Thursdays through Saturdays is 8 p.m. Sunday performances start at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $70 and are available by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com .
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