As part of Nicole’s birthday weekend, I took her up to L.A. to the Ahmanson theatre to see A Chorus Line. This is one of those shows that I knew pretty well, but had never seen live. It was about time to rectify that situation. All in all, I really liked the show. The cast was really good, and all were good at the singing and dancing, which is usually plus for a musical about dancers.
What I liked most about this show is that it is truly an ensemble piece. For the most part, no character really stands out more than each of the others, well, at least not for long. Each one of them gets their own moment in the spotlight. The role of the director, Zach, is played mostly off stage, and you just hear his voice as he interacts with the rest of the cast. In a show about people trying to make the chorus of a Broadway show, the focus stays on the group as a whole. Even most of the solo numbers turn into group numbers.
Now, there were a couple of weird parts of the show. First off, there is no intermission. That would have been nice to know before I went into the show. Not that the show dragged, actually, quite the opposite. I checked my watch (okay, phone, I don’t wear a watch, but saying I checked my phone sounds weird, kinda like saying I taped the TV show is natural, even though I use a DVR to record the show) and it was 3:40. So the show had been going for a little over an hour and a half, and I could tell they weren’t stopping, as they passed a few moments that would have been perfect opportunities to break, but just kept on going. It is quite amusing that people complain about going 2 hours at a live show with no intermission, but will go 3 hours or so at a movie no problem. The other weird thing is the ending. Once the “show” is cast, everyone leaves stage. Then is the insane quick change for the ending number. Each cast member comes out one by one, each taking their bow. They then go into the final number, everyone leaves the stage and the show is over. There has been a trend for a little bit of an encore after the bow, but this was a little different. This isn’t bad, just a little weird to have the most famous song from the show be after the curtain call.
What did seem a little out of place with this show is some of the subject matter. When this show debuted in 1975, many of the topics were a little taboo: homosexuality, molestation, plastic surgery, etc. Now-a-days, these are all common place. And it isn’t like these are being beaten down the audience’s throat. It is as simple as a couple of the characters say they are gay, and one briefly mentions being molested as a kid, but that is it. You are supposed to be surprised when one of the dancers says he is gay, but now I was more surprised by the dancer that said he had to think about his wife and kids. Okay, so in Dance 10 Looks 3, they flaunt the plastic surgery, but in today’s day and age, someone getting a boob job and some nip and tucking is not out of the ordinary. Hell, there is a show called Nip/Tuck and you see Botox commercials all the time. For me, the downside, if you call it one, is that this show is slightly dated, and that it has lost its edge over the last 30 or so years.
Overall, this is quite an entertaining show, well worth the drive up to L.A. on a Saturday morning. This is definitely one of those shows that you should see live. I mean, it was the longest running show on Broadway at one point, so it can’t be that bad, can it?
Photo: National Touring Company of A CHORUS LINE, Paul Kolnik
Filed under: From Broadway/San Diego Staff