Ziegfeld Theater’s ‘A Chorus Line’ kicks up its heels for a three-weekend run at the Egyptian Theatre
Ziegfeld Theater Company’s “A Chorus Line”
July 5-7; 11-13 and 18-21; Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m.; Sunday 6 p.m.
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.
Thursday tickets run from $29-$45; Friday, Saturday and Sunday tickets range from $35-$55
The Tony-winning musical “A Chorus Line” is Amber Hansen’s favorite production, because it’s about more than its setting, which is a New York City theater audition.
The story sets the stage for the characters to convey universal life experiences through their individual experiences, said Hansen, an Egyptian Theatre staffer who directs the Ziegfeld Theater Company’s production that will open on July 5 at the Egyptian Theatre.
The musical, featuring music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban, will run three weekends through July 21.
“If you haven’t seen this show before, you will find it will become one of your top five favorites, because it’s not just about dancers and actors,” she said. “People in the audience will find they will relate to at least one or two of the characters through their stories.”
Hansen knows this because she also directed an Egyptian Theatre version of the musical in 2014.
“I did it when we presented in-house musical, and it became one of the theater’s most successful productions,” she said.
After the run, Hansen took maternity leave, and in the interim, the Egyptian Theatre partnered with Ogden’s Ziegfeld Theatre to bring some of their productions to Park City, which they continue to do today.
“Over the years, the Ziegfeld had expressed interest in doing ‘A Chorus Line,’ and we felt this summer would be the best time to do it,” Hansen said.
Hansen, who helped cast and produce Ziegfeld’s “Mamma Mia!” and “Singin’ in the Rain,” agreed to direct, and she recruited Egyptian Theatre’s technical director, Peter Mayhew, to work the production.
“On the technical side, it’s easy to direct, because there really isn’t any set,” Hansen said. “The musical takes place at an audition. So the setting is the bare stage, and there aren’t very many crazy costumes, set changes and props.”
Hansen is proud of her cast, who embody each character, she said.
Sheila sarcastic dancer, is performed by Kate Conroy.
“This is the third of fourth time Kate has played the role, including the last time I directed the musical,” Hansen said. “This is a role she was born to play. She finds so much humor in sarcasm, and I know anyone over the age of 30 will find she’s their favorite.”
Another standout character is Paul, an actor who struggles with his sexuality.
Paul is performed by Mejai Parry, who has been an ensemble member for all of the Ziegfeld productions but has never had a speaking role before, according to Hansen.
“During one rehearsal, the cast sat down and we shared a lot of our personal stories and we bared our souls,” Hansen said. “Mejai, like Paul, has struggled all this life with personal challenges, and that comes through in his monologue. I believe there won’t be a dry eye in the theatre when he performs his segment.”
Another actor who makes Hansen proud is Chelsea Cowley, who is cast as Maggie, a bright and somewhat innocent dancer who comes from a broken home.
Cowley is one of the Egyptian Theatre’s YouTheatre alumni, and performed the role of James in “James and the Giant Peach” last winter.
“Now she’s this beautiful young woman who has a lot of stage experience because of YouTheatre,” Hansen said. “Although she’s only 17, which may be a little young for Maggie, she nailed the audition and was the obvious choice.”
In a twist of fate, the role of Zach, the director of the musical the characters are auditioning for, is performed by David Knowles, the Ziegfeld Theater’s assistant stage manager.
“David was originally the understudy for Zach, and unfortunately the actor we had cast had to drop out because of work conflicts,” Hansen said. “So we had Zach do it. Since his real job is about barking out orders to the cast on and off stage, we felt he’d do a great job.”
While Hasen’s role as director is made easier by the production design and demands of “A Chorus Line,” the load weighs much more heavily on choreographer McKenna Ward, because the production utilizes the original Tony-winning choreography staged by Michael Bennett, Hansen said.
“McKenna, who is a professional dancer, is really good at explaining and breaking down choreography,” Hansen said. “This is also her first real production as choreographer. It’s trial by fire, and she’s done a tremendous job.”
Hansen is grateful for the chance to direct “A Chorus Line” again with a new cast.
“In doing the show again, I get to work with new personalities,” she said. “I’m a collaborative director, so I rely on actors instincts and try to help them bring their experiences to the roles. And we have a great cast that I just want to share it with the community.”
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