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play review

Arvada Center’s ’Chorus Line’ strong, well-designed

The show, an American favorite, runs through Oct. 1


The opening scene of “A Chorus Line” begins as a day in the life of a dancer, 17 of them gathered in a voluminous black space, with a panel of moving mirrors giving light and life via the backdrop.

“I Hope I Get It” (I really need this job…) introduces a carefully chosen mix of actors in terms of stature, manner, voice and color. They begin to present skills and stories, from insecure Mike’s “I Can Do That” to “At the Ballet” with Sheila, Bebe and Maggie and Val’s funny “Dance 10: Looks 3.”

Show director Zach (Stephen Cerf) and his assistant, Larry (Jean-Luc Cavnar Lewandowski), interact with the hopeful performers, revealing a former connection — another story!

Perhaps the best-known song, near the end of the auditions and confessions, is Diana’s. She leads the company in “What I Did For Love,” expressing the reasons everyone is present on stage — as they juggle jobs, families, love, life and dreams — in order to dance and sing.

This production is right on in showing the many individuals involved, and the variety of personalities and voices really do seem to echo Michael Bennett’s collection of gypsies in the 1970s, reinforcing that they’re a species very much still among us.

Arvada’s longtime choreographer, Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, has an essay in the program, saying it’s her story, too. She talks about how she usually plans unified choreography for a musical, but in this production, everyone needed to be distinctive and different. Except for the group numbers that followed Bennett’s original choreography — especially the iconic finale number, with a glittering, top-hatted, gold-clad chorus line.

Whether you want to sing along under your breath, or seeing the show is a new experience, this is a strong, well-designed production of an American favorite, carefully crafted by director Rod Lansberry, music director David John Madore and the highly professional production crew.

If you go: “A Chorus Line,” originally conceived and directed by Michael Bennett, with book written by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante and music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban and original choreography by Bob Avian, plays through Oct. 1 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; Wednesday matinee, 1 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees 2 p.m. Ticketsarvadacenter.org, 720-898-7200.


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