Papermill's A Chorus Line

ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/4/12 at 12:04am
I was lucky enough to be given tickets to the first performance/preview of A Chorus Line at The Papermill Playhouse. For their first performance in front of an audience, the show was very good. My only complaint being that the show felt rushed(mostly during the opening, At The Ballet & And) during the first half and began to settle during the Montage through the end. Rachelle Rak IS SHEILA and you could tell she was having the time of her life on that stage. not sure if this was added for Rak, but before "What I Did For Love" - known as "The Alternatives Scene" - Sheila starts to smoke on stage. Never saw this in any other production of ACL(Broadway, tour, regional, or otherwise).

Mitzi Hamilton(Director/Choreographer) does need to clean up parts of the show, as it was clear during certain dance numbers that spacing was off(nerves, maybe??). Saw Mike Cannon as Al on Broadway, and he was just as good here. Other standouts were Ashley Arcement(Val), KC Fredericks(Mark), Mark Myars(Mike), Gabrielle Ruiz(Diana), Alexzanda Sarmiento(Connie) & J. Manuel Santos(Paul). And as far as Jessica Lee Goldyn as Cassie, well, I wasn't a fan of her Cassie when she did it 4 years ago(did like her Val, though), and I'm still not. Actually, I think she's gotten worse. She really seemed robotic and monotone during her conversation with Zach(before she dances M&TM). I think she needs to take a break from doing ACL and possibly return in 5-6 years(or more) to revisit playing Cassie again(this is her 3rd time as Cassie since the revival closed). Her dancing is still amazing, but her acting seemed thrown out the window. And it should be noted that Nikka Graff Lanzarone's Bebe is 26 years old in this production instead of 22.

As far as Papermill, it was sad to see the orchestra section only 3/5 full(would think the mezz was more empty) even though it was a Wednesday and the remainder of the run is (reportetly) nearly sold-out. I'm planning to see the show again during it's final week and really hope the show gets tighter & cleaner and not as rushed. wishing this cast all the best.

A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
Updated On: 10/4/12 at 12:04 AM
Anakela
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/05
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/4/12 at 12:05pm
Today's NY Times has a feature on Rak, including video clips of her Sheila. I'm really excited to see this!
Rachelle Rak finally lands her 'Chorus Line'
ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/4/12 at 04:08pm
thanks for that article/clip!!
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
shrekster224
Broadway Legend
joined:1/27/10
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/4/12 at 04:12pm
Wow, I am really going to try to see this. It sounds great. And I love her quote, "“I didn’t go to college,” she said. “I went to ‘Cats.’""
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/4/12 at 05:20pm
I love that clip, she looks perfect in the part.

I liked the other clips posted too--I admit, I'm not sure about the flashing lights finale set--I guess I'm just too set in my way with the original mirrors turning over to those goldey pink panels
ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/4/12 at 05:40pm
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
lsinger2
Chorus Member
joined:2/4/06
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/6/12 at 10:36pm
I could not agree more! It is definitely a little longer then usual, with no intermission, lots of people leaving to go to the bathroom. The big numbers are still big numbers. Gabrielle Ruiz(Diana) stole the show for me and got the biggest applause from the audience. Jessica Lee Goldyn (Cassie)is beautiful but she could not hit the big notes in Music and the Mirror, it was a waste of a scene for me. Her dancing is nice but not a fan. Definitely worth seeing this show if you love ACL.
somethingwicked
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/05
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/6/12 at 10:43pm
Was I the only one seriously underwhelmed by that footage? The choreography is almost jarringly sloppy, and the singing is awful (what the heck is happening vocally in "One"?!) You know it's problematic when almost every single actor is completely blankfaced during "What I Did For Love."

Also, does anyone know why Nikka Lanzarone (Bebe) is the one actor not dressed in the original costume design?
Tonya Pinkins: Then we had a "Lot's Wife" last June that was my personal favorite. I'm still trying to get them to let me sing it at some performance where we get to sing an excerpt that's gone.
Tony Kushner: You can sing it at my funeral.
Skip2
Featured Actor
joined:12/17/04
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/6/12 at 10:59pm

Wow. In that clip, they looked like they'd rather be anywhere but on that stage. Running through the routines but with no snap or excitement. Felt like they'd been doing it for many boring years.

I agree it needs to be worked. You need to feel like it's the first time they're doing these routines. Not the 2,089th.

capnkidd
Broadway Star
joined:9/11/04
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/6/12 at 11:13pm
"Also, does anyone know why Nikka Lanzarone (Bebe) is the one actor not dressed in the original costume design? "

She isn't the only one. Zach's costume bears no resemblance to the original. Neither does Bobby's. Christine has a completely different costume. Others are modified.

Updated On: 10/6/12 at 11:13 PM
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/6/12 at 11:48pm
I was really into the pre-publicity for the show, it was exciting me in a way the pre-pub for the revival absolutely did not. Loved the Rak article in the Times and then watched the clips accompanying it and she just felt a little OFF. I mean, congrats, gawbless Rachelle, not for nothing. But this "She IS Sheila" is almost exactly what people were saying about Charlotte, "She IS Cassie." But what she wasn't and she isn't.

I dunno. Just my reaction to the clips.
'Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.' -- RW Emerson
ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/7/12 at 12:32am
as I said in my first post, certain dance numbers were sloppy. maybe Mitzi isn't as tough as Baayork is with the choreography, but regardless, I would hope the show is cleaned up by now. From reading the bios, half the cast has done the show before. Goldyn & Cannon are the only ones from the Broadway revival. Ruiz, Carleigh Bettiol, Kevin Curtis, Jordan Fifi Hunt, Julia Freyer, Sarmiento & Karley Willocks all did the recent tour(1st national, SETA or non-equity/Japan). Jeffrey Pew, Ashley Arcement, Grant Thomas & Jessica Vaccaro have done the show in regional theaters. That's 13 out of 26, exactly half.

And about Lanzarone, why is she playing Bebe? Bebe's supposed to be this dancer that just recently came to NYC and started auditioning for stuff. 26 is a little late for a dancer to start getting into this business. And Rak nailed Sheila when I saw it on Wednesday. And Charlotte acted Cassie 100x better than Goldyn. Yes Goldyn dances it slightly better(singing wise, they're the same), but Goldyn needs to learn more about Cassie before opting to do the show/role again.
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
My Oh My
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/07
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/7/12 at 01:00am
Sheila has smoked on stage during the scene before "What I Did For Love" in every production I've seen. In fact, there is usually a notice placed somewhere in the lobby or in the program, informing audiences that there is onstage smoking using fake cigarettes that produce harmless smoke.

Nice to see they've retained the original piano intro to the full jazz combo by the entire cast and not the bombastic trumpet revisal of the revival.

I actually like the very simple but equally effective scenic change of the finale. The only thing is I wonder if they've retained that stunning effect of the panels turning to their gaudy pink sides? Gaudy in this case is a good thing, hehe.

But I love the mirrors turning at that point and that iconic pose that follows. The original pink design on the mirrors is nice with the way it frames the whole cast in a sort of "HERE THEY ARE!" *clap* fashion, which is appropriate for the ending but very annoying in the opening jazz combo when we got the same "CLAP!!!" message thanks to that bombastic trumpet orch revision. I like this production's lights in the end but hope they still have the mirrors turn shortly before.

The choreography does look a tad messy but it is supposed to be. They have just gotten through learning it. I guess the real question is, if it's messy unintentionally or strategically done like that to send that message? It's usually very obvious when something meant to be a 'mistake' is placed into a scene of a show. It isn't clear here and mostly vague overall. The imperfection could be a one-off that just happened to be filmed. Maybe several takes is in order next time? lol. Mitzi is a former Broadway Val and it shows for how accurate she has reproduced Bennett's choreography in the clips shown.

The slight messiness by the cast is not THAT bad and could very well be jitters, which everyone, even pros, tend to get. Zach's costume is good and communicates similar messages about him as the original.

They obviously use pit singers and should tell one of the female ones to tone down her singing because it's all you could hear in some of those clips. It stands out mostly because she gets warbly and messy occasionally and also her tone overpowers the others.







Recreation of original John Cameron orchestration to "On My Own" by yours truly. Click player below to hear.
Updated On: 10/7/12 at 01:00 AM
ghostlight2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/5/04
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/7/12 at 08:14am
"Charlotte acted Cassie 100x better than Goldyn. Yes Goldyn dances it slightly better(singing wise, they're the same), but Goldyn needs to learn more about Cassie before opting to do the show/role again. "

Goldyn outpaces d'Amboise in the singing dept, but not in the dancing, imo. She's a fine young dancer, but has no clue as to what MatM is about. She really ought to put this role behind her for at least ten years.

"Zach's costume is good and communicates similar messages about him as the original. "

Just what was Zach's original costume intended to convey about him? Did any one ever dress like that? I always thought it was the only costume miss-step in the entire production.
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/7/12 at 10:36am
That there was a missing Brady brother who wandered off during the pilot for The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
'Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.' -- RW Emerson
ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/7/12 at 11:36am
it wasn't just the opening that was sloppy. parts of the Montage & Finale were sloppy as well, which isn't intentional.
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
broadway_show_fan
Broadway Star
joined:12/12/05
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/10/12 at 11:53am
What's the run time and do they add in the stupid intermission or keep it out?
ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/10/12 at 12:08pm
no intermission. the show runs about 2 hours & 15 minutes.
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/10/12 at 12:18pm
I'm still kind of stunned that Rak got a feature in the Times - how much do you suppose she paid for it? $20,000?
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/10/12 at 02:07pm

"Just what was Zach's original costume intended to convey about him? Did any one ever dress like that? I always thought it was the only costume miss-step in the entire production. "

That Zach likes ugly sweaters?

ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/28/12 at 03:24pm
I saw this on Friday night. Was there a particular reason they chose a British Zach? All I could think of was that they wanted a SMASH vibe. He acted pretty similar to the director on SMASH.
#sadandtransparent
theminutepast
Broadway Star
joined:2/1/06
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/28/12 at 07:05pm
LOL. I made the same connection when I saw the show on Saturday.

This was my first time seeing the show and my first time at Paper Mill. Even though there was not an intermission, my husband took one in the form of a nap. :) He actually fell asleep during Cassie’s dialogue with Zach, which I can’t entirely blame him for, because I thought it dragged. I also thought the scene before “What I Did for Love” dragged. I don’t know if that’s the show’s fault or the production’s fault.

The highlights were Paul’s monologue, “At the Ballet,” Gabrielle Ruiz’s solos, and the finale.

Unfortunately, the last 10 seconds of the show were ruined by an obnoxious woman who jumped out of her seat in front of me to try to beat everyone out of the theatre, so I couldn’t see the silhouettes of the dancers. I was even more upset to see this woman standing in the lobby. Why the hell did she get up if she wasn’t trying to even get out early? It was very annoying.

ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
Papermill's A Chorus Line
Posted: 10/28/12 at 10:15pm
considering it's Goldyn playing Cassie, I'd consider taking a nap during her scene with Zach, too.
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.