May 2019

A Chorus Line: Spring’s singular sensation

Author: Andrea Gannon | Photographer: TR Media World

As the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’s number one audience choice for a musical for the 2018-19 Theater Season, A Chorus Line is an enduring favorite and arguably one of the most iconic shows of the American stage. Running from May 1 through June 2, the Arts Center’s spring musical sensation will bring these beloved characters, songs, and stories to the stage.

Created by Michael Bennett, with a brilliant score by Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban, and book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, A Chorus Line is inspired by real experiences. Bennett, who directed and choreographed the original production, famously gathered his dancer friends for late-night taping sessions where they told their own stories about their experiences going from show to show with little job security beyond the hope of a long run. In the original production, many of the performers who gathered for those evenings played a version of themselves.

Director Casey Colgan, who knows the show inside and out, having directed it three times and performed it in the international and national tours, said, “By the end of the evening, A Chorus Line has pulled off a huge achievement in that we feel we really come to know these individuals—none of them a stereotype, cliché or a billboard for some cause or other. We understand them and are rooting for them.”

The trick to each character is, of course, to start with authenticity. In fact, the creation of A Chorus Line famously sprouted from actual interviews with Broadway performers who candidly, vulnerably told their stories of growing up, becoming dancers, and wanting a chance on that definitive white line.

When everyone ditches the studio-dance garb and suits up for the penultimate blockbuster production number, “One,” complete with top hats and sequins, it’s both dazzling entertainment in its own right and a distillation of every great showstopper that ever was. The Arts Center has slightly modernized the look of the finale costume in of-the-moment shimmering rose gold.

Eight hundred and fifty performers auditioned for the Arts Center’s production of A Chorus Line, in New York City and also on Hilton Head Island, with a resulting cast of 23 splendidly talented professionals who are making the island their home for a month of rehearsals and five weeks of performances.

Memorable musical numbers include “What I Did for Love,” “I Can Do That,” “At the Ballet,” “The Music and the Mirror,” and “I Hope I Get It.” A brilliantly complex fusion of song, dance, and compellingly authentic drama, A Chorus Line is an achingly beautiful, joyously uplifting show that strikes an unforgettable chord in audiences and speaks to the power of music to connect us all. 

Tickets for preview performances May 1-2 are $49 for adults and $36 for children ages 5-15. Regular performances, May 3-June 2, are $59 for adults and $46 for children ages 5-15. To purchase, visit www.artshhi.com or call (843) 842-ARTS (2787).

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