Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante. Music by Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics by Ed Kleban. The original Broadway production opened on 25 July 1975 and was directed and choreographed by Michael Bennet. The production closed on 28 April 1990, running for a total of 6 137 performances.
At an audition for an upcoming Broadway production, a director and a choreography assistant choose seventeen dancers. The director tells them he is looking for a strong dancing chorus of four boys and four girls, and he wants to learn more about them. They are then told to talk about themselves. The whole group is ready – and… a-five, six, seven, eight…In I HOPE I GET IT, we are watching the beginning of the final phase of a Broadway tryout. A rehearsal piano plays as groups of dancers in rehearsal clothes vanish and reappear. The dancers eventually surge forward into a line, holding their eight-by-ten inch head shots in front of them.
After the director, Zach, informs the dancers that he wants to know more about them, they begin with great reluctance to talk, revealing portions of their life stories. In order to get this job, they must put themselves on the line. While the show uses different characters to move through the audition, the overall pattern of stories progresses chronologically from early life experiences through adulthood to the end of a career. The first candidate is Bobby, who tries to hide the unhappiness of his childhood by making jokes. Next, I CAN DO THAT has Mike recall his first experience with dance, watching his sister’s dance class when he was a pre-schooler. Certain he could do it too, he took her place one day when she refused to go to class – and he stayed the rest of his life. The seventeen dancers’ inner misgivings about this strange audition process (AND), but they all need the job so the session continues.
Zach starts to question the girls and becomes angry since he thinks that the candidates do not take the audition seriously. The girls start to open up and sing AT THE BALLET, a poignant tribute to the escape Sheila, Bebe, and Maggie found in the beauty of ballet. Sheila’s mother married at a young age and her father neither loved nor cared for them. She realises that ballet is a relief from her family life. Bebe adds that she likes ballet as she was not beautiful as a child and everything in ballet seems beautiful. Moreover, Maggie says that she loves ballet because in the ballet someone is always there, unlike the father she has never had.
Next up are a husband and wife, Kristine and Al. Kristine speaks, with Al finishing her sentences. SING makes it cringe-ably clear that Kristine is tone deaf and Zach moves on to Mark, a young dancer guy who is eager to be in Broadway. His stories lead into HELLO TWELVE, HELLO THIRTEEN, HELLO LOVE, a montage sequence in which all of the dancers share memories of their traumatic early teens. Greogory, speaks about his homosexuality and Diana’s recollects on her horrible high school acting class (NOTHING). DANCE: 10, LOOKS: 3 (TITS AND ASS) follows, with Val’s explanation that talent doesn’t count for everything with casting directors. A wrenching monologue follows in which the emotionally vulnerable Paul comes to terms with his early career, manhood, and sense of self.
THE MUSIC AND THE MIRROR tells of Cassie’s love of dance.(This song was replaced by LET ME DANCE FOR YOU in the film version.) She is a terrific veteran “gypsy” who has had some notable successes as a soloist. She may be, in fact, too good for a chorus part. But she needs the work. Even more, she needs to dance. Her complex relationship with Zach comes into play in the first rendition of ONE, where Zach and Cassie confront each other and their romantic past. After Paul falls injured and is carried off, the director asks the remaining dancers what they will do when they can no longer dance. WHAT I DID FOR LOVE expresses the emotional drive that keeps these dancers focused, ever hopeful and free of regrets. This number fades into the final elimination process as the final eight dancers are selected: Cassie, Bobby, Diana, Bebe, Val, Mike, Mark and Richie.
ONE (SHOW VERSION / FILM VERSION), the finale, begins with an individual bow for each of the nineteen characters, their hodgepodge rehearsal clothes replaced by identical spangled gold costumes. As each dancer joins the group, it is suddenly difficult to distinguish one form the other. Each character who was an individual to the audience is now an anonymous member of an ensemble.
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From left to right above: 1. A Chorus Line Original Broadway Cast Recording. 2. A Chorus Line Film Soundtrack. 3. A Chorus Line Karaoke CD. 4. A Chorus Line Original Vienna Cast Recording. 5. A Chorus Line New Broadway Cast Recording. Selected A Chorus Line Karaoke MP3’s can be purchased and downloaded by following the links in the synopsis above.
From left to right above: 1. A Chorus Line Film on DVD. 2. My Favourite Broadway: The Leading Ladies featuring “Nothing” performed by Priscilla Lopez and “One”. 3. A Chorus Line Complete Script and Lyrics. 4 A Chorus Line Vocal Selections (Stage). 5. A Chorus Line Vocal Selections (Film). Selected A Chorus Line Karaoke MP3’s can be purchased and downloaded by following the links in the synopsis above.
From left to right above: 1. The Longest Line book about A Chorus Line. 2. A Cat in a Chorus Line by Lydia Adamson. 3. On the Line The Story of A Chorus Line. 4 Time Step by Donna McKechnie. 5. A Chorus Line Complete Vocal Score. Selected A Chorus Line Karaoke MP3’s can be purchased and downloaded by following the links in the synopsis above.