Friday, November 12, 2010

Community Review - A Chorus Line

"I hope I get it."  That's the title of the first song in A Chorus LIne which all the wannabe chorus line members are singing.  Unfortunately, I never quite got it.  I wanted to get.  I almost got it.  Then it was gone.  I just didn't get the point.

As a preface to this review, I'm a story man.  I like drama, and interesting characters that add to the drama.  Throw in good songs and some laughs and I'm in heaven.  So liking a show like A Chorus Line that has almost no plot is fighting an uphill battle for me.  That said, there are some things about this production that are more objectively good and bad.

First the bad.  The orchestra was so loud that I couldn't catch half the lyrics.  Because of this, I couldn't tell half of what was going on in the first half of the show.  I'd have said first act, but for some reason there was no intermission, even though the show was over two hours.  The audience started getting very antsy towards the end.  

The first half wasn't all bad however.  A couple of very cute songs - "Sing!", and "Dance: Ten, Looks: Three" brought smiles to my face, and the actors involved in them seemed to be having fun as well.

And then of course there's the dancing.  At it's core, A Chorus Line is all about the dancing, and in that aspect this production doesn't disappoint.  My favorite moments were the on-purpose little screw-ups from those characters who do not make the final cut.  They were just obvious enough to notice, but not over the top (except in a few choice cases).  Finding them was kind of like a Where's Waldo game.

Anyway, the show kicks into high gear when most of the auditioners take a break, and the director's ex is left alone to explain why she's auditioning for a chorus role that the director believes is beneath her.  The resulting song was powerfully song and passionately danced.  It really got across the pain of a tired-of-the-game dancer who is just trying to start over.

It also sets up the big question for the end: "Why do you dance?"  Here is where I almost got it.  There was a moment of magic in the air when you realize that through all the diverse paths these actors took to get where they are, they all dance because they love it.  And then they sing a song about that... and the song made me bored.  This was about when I noticed people fidgeting.

For the right crowd, this is an enjoyable show.  It really gets at why dancers love to dance, and the dancing in the show is spectacular.  However, if you're looking for sets, costumes, or a story - splurge on some good tickets for Wicked instead.

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