Long before there was the theatrical monstrosity otherwise known as Hamilton, A Chorus Line high-kicked its way onto Broadway after a similarly successful run at the Public Theater. Much like Hamilton, it redefined how we viewed musical theater thanks to visionary director/choreographer Michael Bennet, a score by Marvin Hamlisch (music) and Edward Kleban (lyrics) and an often-overlooked but brilliant book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante.
This summer, The Stratford Festival takes on the iconic work with a twist that will have traditionalists saying, “You can’t do that!” Director/choreographer Donna Feore reimagines Bennett’s choreography for the 21st century. But it was no easy feat. She had to convince the executor of Bennett’s estate to allow her to tinker with brilliance.
Playhouse on Park in West Hartford is mounting a mini-version of A Chorus Line this summer, on its 26’x26′ stage. The New York Times gave it an enthusiastic review, with the keen observation that, ” At the top of the play, when several extra dancers join the 17 principals, all doing their step-kick-walk-walk-walk routines before the first cut, you almost fear for the cast; one extra-enthusiastic arm extension and someone might blacken an eye.”
Playbill.com has also published rare photos of the original production. Whether you think you’re more Cassie, Shiela, or Morales, celebrate A Chorus Line today and remember what you did for love.
Take a look at when A Chorus Line broke the record for the longest-running musical on Broadway (now held by Phantom of the Opera):