Australia — A Chorus Line ends run (Australia/Singapore)

BRISBANE, AU — A Chorus Line, The Musical finished their run in  Australia (Dec 2nd, 2012)

This  is it! Our final performances of A CHORUS LINE in Australia! We’ve had such a wonderful year. Thank you so much! — A Chorus Line Australia.

Melbourne, Sydney, Pert, Brisbane — And Singapore! THANK YOU! Find us at:   http://www.achorusline.com.au/

Read  past comments and reviews:

Read — Nov. 15th, 2012 : Our Queensland Correspondent, Bobbi-Lea, caught up with A Chorus Line ‘newbie’ Deone Zanotto, during preparations for the Brisbane leg of the professional touring production which opens at QPAC on Friday night. –Aussie Theatre

Read — Nov. 15th, 2012: AUSSIE THEATRE: A special gift: A Chorus Line Opens in Brisbane

Read  — comments about their run at His Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne, AU: This is A Chorus Line, the musical for everyone who’s ever had a dream and put it all on the line, and the story of the ones who make it and the ones who don’t.

Winner of nine Tony Awards®, including ‘Best Musical’ and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this singular sensation is one of the longest-running American musicals in Broadway history.

 

After the Melbourne season, A Chorus Line went to Singapore, Sydney, Perth. and BRISBANE, AU.  Visit us at:  http://www.achorusline.com.au/

It’s appealing to both traditional and new, young theatre audiences.

The revival of the Broadway classic tells of young hopefuls auditioning.”

Review: Straight To The Point / Truly a singular sensation

For some people, seeing old movies can take them back to a time and place and replicate a moment in their lives. For me, it can be theatre.

Sadly, I have often been very disappointed to go back to a new production of a favourite musical and be sadly disappointed that it has been tampered with so much I hardly recognise it. Not so, with A Chorus Line, the unique and iconic musical that is getting a much overdue revival in Melbourne at the moment, with an almost certain Australian and international tour to follow.

A Chorus Line has always been on my list of top ten musicals, ever since I saw it in London in 1976. It has come into my life at different times with different productions over the years, either here or in New York and each time I see it, it’s like a reunion with an old friend. It is a familiar lifetime theatrical touchstone. Granted, each time I see it now, I’m always a little thrown by the thought that most of the casts of the show today weren’t even born when I first encountered its brilliance, thirty six years ago.

This new production is a pleasing reversal of the failure of some of the big budget shows we have seen falter in the last twelve months. Carefully budgeted with even more careful and modest seasons planned, producer Tim Lawson has been very clever.

If the show didnt take off in Adelaide (its first port of call) and Melbourne, that would be the end of its brief return. Yet, after a successful season in Adelaide, the show has gone through the roof in Melbourne, which has guaranteed an extension and a possible lengthy tour.

Lawson was very right in his early thoughts, the show has enormous attraction to an audience, who, today, are familiar with talent quest shows: shows where a performer has to audition endlessly to stay in the (mostly ghastly) reality TV talent programs that have become so popular in recent years. With all that can be said against talent reality shows, it seems to have taught audiences one thing; that the battle for success and talent recognition is a tough call. The themes explored so effectively in A Chorus Line seem more relevant today to what theatre people like to call “the great unwashed” (ie the audiences who watch shows, but have little idea of the world of theatre and show business and how it all works).

A Chorus Line was developed from a series of interviews conducted by original creator, the late Michael Bennett, who wanted to hear and see what chorus dancers felt and thought about being in a show, but also about their lives and how they became dancers. Dramatised into a theatrical whole, the show is contrived at times, but captures much of the thoughts of those original interviewees many of whom went on to become members of the original Broadway cast.

The show has played all over the world and until the arrival of the British mega musicals, it was the longest running musical in the history of Broadway and as of now, it is only seconded by Chicago as the longest running American musical in New York theatre history. (There is great irony in Chicago now holding that honour, but that’s another story for another day).

The current Australian production is the third in local theatre history. The original 1977 Australian production introduced many new faces to the industry who have since become well known; Pieta Toppano, David Atkins, Karen Johnson Mortimer (who replaced the original American Cassie), Angela Ayers, to name a few. A second commercial production premiered in 1993 and this new production is sure to introduce some new names into the stratosphere.

I have seen the show in New York several times (including the recent revival which inspired the wonderful documentary Every Little Step) a couple of rather tired productions during the latter part of the original Broadway season, but my greatest Chorus Line memory was early in 1977 in London.

A New York touring cast had opened the show, but after six months it was expected that a British company take over. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this change, as the feeling was that the Brits weren’t ready to take over and British Equity was insisting the new company take over on the appointed day. I was in the audience on the night the brits took over for the first time, a night fuelled by the drama that had gone before. Yet, as you can imagine the audience was overwhelmingly supportive, but none more so than when a young Diane Langton (who went on to become a major West End theatre star) totally stopped the show singing “Nothing”. The audience would not stop clapping, leaving her to gesture to their cries of “more”- “they won’t let me!!”- a great theatre memory.

My only bad memory associated with this wonderful clever theatrical masterpiece is the terrible Hollywood movie version made in 1985. Richard Attenborough, a fine director of british movies and epics (such as Gandhi) took the project on. Clearly knowing nothing of the Broadway history of the show (nor of what the show was even about), he jettisoned all the original Bennett choreography, replaced it with choreography by Jeffrey Hornaday (whose only claim to fame had been the movie Flashdance and nothing since), cut numbers, changed numbers and then committed the unforgiveable act of turning “What I Did for Love”, the song that expresses the whole theme of the show (why performers do what they do and what would happen, if they cant perform anymore) and turned it into a love song between Zac and Cassie. Thankfully, the movie bombed and the original creative team disowned it. Lovers of Chorus Line have longed for a new film version preserving Bennett’s choreography and faithful to the original intent of the show. At least they have the Every Little Step documentary which goes a long way to preserving the show on film and Bennett’s memory.

A Chorus Line cannot be changed as a stage show. Bennett’s estate insists the show remains as it was written and danced and original cast member Baayork Lee tours the world checking the productions remain faithful to the original. Baayork came to Australia to steer this new company, but I must mention here the superb work of Siobhan Ginty who has really sharpened the show and readied it for the Melbourne premiere. She is one of our foremost theatre choreographers and her talent shines through every moment of this sparkling new production.

Whatever you have to do, don’t miss it.

Source: Aussie Theatre


 

8 comments

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  2. Over the weekend I nearly committed my biggest theatrical boo-boo since turning down tickets to the Opening Night of Hair in New York in 1967. Well, it was off-Broadway. And it was Joe Papp’s first non-classical endeavour and who wanted to see a bunch of long-haired full-frontal hippies mocking the American flag in the age of Aquarius.
    Saturday night I had tickets for the opening night of A Chorus Line and nearly didn’t go. I did see that show’s opening on Broadway in 1975 and it ran for 15 years, won heaps of Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize.
    It’s one of the greatest musicals of all time. It was last staged here in 1977. Was it dated. Could it come back?
    The reasons for my reluctance to spend Saturday night at Her Majesty’s were myriad. I hadn’t heard much advance mail. It was only going to run for about 35 performances. The after-show party was to be a few glasses of warm white wine in the foyer, I didn’t know who was in it, and there’d been a stuff-up with my tickets.
    It sounded like a two-minute noodles job from Jeanne Pratt’s low-cost Production Company. To add to my suspicions I found out just before the show that the main character, the pivotal character of Zach, the casting director, was being played by Dancing with the Stars Judge Josh Horner. Okay, I hadn’t seen Billy Elliott. I just knew him from his hissy fits with Todd McKenny.
    So there we were, having a regular Saturday night drink at JJ’s at Crown and the idea of a dinner at Bistro Guillaume or Rockpool sounded very tempting. Would have been my loss.
    A few hours later, when I got home from a great night at the theatre I tweeted:
    A Chorus Line. Opening night. Top night. Great talent. Josh Horner nails crucial role of Zach. Surprised such a short run. Don’t miss it.
    In 140 characters I didn’t have room for more superlatives. A lot of people would only know the show from the movie. A generation wouldn’t know it at all. The movie, with Michael Douglas in the lead role of Zach, was a cop-out. He could talk the talk but not walk the walk so in the film he didn’t dance at all. Horner dances his feet off.
    It’s all about the ensemble and, like a reality TV show, 17 wannabes desperately vie for eight spots in the chorus line. Being an ensemble cast you shouldn’t pick out special mentions. But. Special mentions to Anita Louise Combe as Cassie, Euan Doidge as Paul and Karlee Misipeka with the showstopper What I did for Love. And the sultry, sexy, Sheila played by the only woman on the Australian stage with legs as long as Rhonda Burchmore’s, Debora Krizak.
    It kept bugging me where I’d seen her before. Of course… the Swedish secretary in The Producers. No, that was Chloe Dallimore. Dammit.
    Well, the producers of this show should be ecstatic. Hope they can extend the season.
    And life imitating art: You know how many wannabes auditioned for the 17 dance parts? 1200. Now, that’s show business.

  3. I think everything about “A Chorus Line” is brilliant.
    Met you several times when you performed with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.
    Cheers!

  4. I wanted to drop you a note to convey my appreciation and admiration of your music. I grew up watching many of the films you worked on, from “The Sting” and “The Spy Who Loved Me” (the first James Bond film I can recall watching on the big screen, long before videotapes were commercially available) to “Sophie’s Choice” and “A Chorus Line”. I also had the opportunity to watch “A Chorus Line” in a production in Melbourne in 1994, of which I still remember very fondly.

    Thank you and best wishes for all your music endeavours. Kindest Regards — Ben

  5. Wow! is the first expresion that comes mind. Wife and I were given the tickets to se the show in Melbourne on the opening night as a Christmas Present from my Daughter and Son in Law and what a present. Both my wife and I remarked that 2hours and 10 miniutes of our lives had never gone so quickly and was waiting for more. Congratulations to you and all the cast etc. and thanks for making it such a wonderful Christmas Present.

  6. Marvin Hamlisch: Thank you for passing by…
    Among thousands of people, you meet those you’ve met. through thousands of years, with the boundlessness of time, you happen to meet them, neither earlier nor a bit too late. Rob C.

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