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A Chorus Line - First Preview

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Musical-Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:6/19/08
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/6/13 at 09:03am
So Last night was the long awaited arrival of a chorus lines first preview at the palladium and me and my friend took our seats in the upper circle and waited for the show to start. the show went up around 5 min late but from the moment the theatre went into darkness so the cast could take their places the audience were in fantastic spirits. and well what can I say about the the show other than WOW. There is not a single aspect about that show that is week. the cast is fantastic and not a single one of them stole the show its a real team effort. The singing, the dancing, the orchestra, the lighting and sound design, the costumes were all perfect. I had waited a long time to see a chorus line and the show did not disappoint i have booked 2 returned visits
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/6/13 at 11:31am
many thanks for your review. saw the Broadway show 9 times and I hope the West End revival has the same success. by any chance, do you have the u/s list??
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.
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theatrepaul
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joined:1/29/10
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/6/13 at 12:37pm
That's quite a review. Am looking forward to seeing it next week
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Musical-Matt
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joined:6/19/08
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/6/13 at 12:58pm
I was in awe it made me realize why i do musical theatre and why i intend to train in it at uni this year the understudy list is lengthy thats for sure
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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Scripps2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/19/08
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/6/13 at 04:59pm
How's John? Has he cast off his EastEnders persona?
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Musical-Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:6/19/08
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/7/13 at 07:45am
he was fantastic :P played zach as someone who loved his job but as the ruthless director. his relationship with cassie (strallen) was spot on :P
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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Princeton Returns
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joined:12/2/10
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/7/13 at 08:08am
Cant decide on this, the show as a whole doesnt interest me but I love Scarlett Strallen, cant stand John though.
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Musical-Matt
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/7/13 at 08:36am
i am not keen on all of the music princeton but i was so happy when the show got cast but this show is tight and seemless. this show has no flaws and the good thing is you dont have to see jon for long but what he does do is fantastic
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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songanddanceman2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/7/13 at 09:58am
I think Chorus Line is fantastic and can't wait to see it in a few weeks.
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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philitalia
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joined:10/30/08
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/7/13 at 01:19pm
So far I have only seen the film, which I find completely boring - I know many of you will disagree.

However, if this is a good production I'll definitely go and see it. Musical Matt's enthusiasm for the show is having an effect on me
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MusicalBoy
Broadway Star
joined:12/3/10
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/7/13 at 01:32pm
I am beyond excited for this production, one of my favourite musicals of all time.

Also it's worth noting that the show itself is one of the greatest pieces of musical theatre ever produced, while the film is a disturbing mistake in the hands of a director who got the wrong end of the stick.
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Musical-Matt
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joined:6/19/08
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/7/13 at 01:39pm
im taking my new girlfriend for our 6 months anniversary and then taking one of my uni friends in late September it was the best show i have seen and reminded me why i am going back to train as a musical theatre actor
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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ACL2006
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joined:2/11/06
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/7/13 at 10:20pm
understudy list?? anybody??
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.
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mrkringas
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joined:9/28/05
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/8/13 at 05:18am
Attended third preview and found myself with a new favourite West End musical.

Apart from the awful film and a hazy amateur production many years ago, my main experience of "A Chorus Line" has been the cast recording. Oh and the Broadway revival pre- Mario Lopez. This is not a production I expected to see in London but I'm glad we have it. And delighted to see it full of talent and not resorting to "Dancing with Strictly Come whatever" contestants. Its the ultimate backstage musical that, even though set in a distant era, remains a damning portrayal of what life really looks like in the business.

It manages to do this through a fine score, interesting lyrics, great monologues and superb choreography. There are so many moments that I feel I already know. Even from just one production six years ago some of this staging feels part of our collective theatrical memory.

I lost count of the times I found myself grinning from ear to ear. Or getting goose bump moments. And I'm not ashamed to admit I found a wee lump in my throat twice.

This is a fine cast. If I had to mention anyone there is the obvious Scarlett Strallen in that famous red dress. Also I don't have the name to hand but Diana had a particularly nice voice and proved far more memorable than when I last saw this show.

And what a killer ending. I've never found that finale uplifting. Its pure fantasy where all the individuals we got to know are brutally pressed into the line. Sure it looks and sounds great but I think some people miss the point.

My final thought is that the loss of Michael Bennett before his time robbed us of so much innovation and wonder. Its hard to think who else we have who as a director, choreographer and auteur has moved forward the art form as much as he did with this show and Dreamgirls. Given I'm far too young to have seen the original production, I'm more than happy to see this restaged as a tribute to him and its late composer and lyricist.

Well done.
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devonian.t
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/8/13 at 06:46am
An excellent review!
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Phantom of London
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/8/13 at 11:56am
Glad you enjoyed this also and as Devonian said a great review.

Now from what I hear and that is positive review and a lot of love for this production, so we have a nice problem now, this must be right up there for the Olivier for best revival.

A week ago I think most of us on here would of said that Sweeney Todd would of been a shoe to win? But boy, looks like A Chorus Line has put the cat amongst the proverbial pigeons.



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songanddanceman2
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/8/13 at 07:25pm
The fabulous Victoria Hamilton Barrett plays Diana
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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fencemaster
Swing
joined:2/9/13
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joined:
2/9/13
A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/9/13 at 10:44am
I was there last night (Friday 8th) and - considering I've been listening to the 1975 original cast recording SINCE 1975 (give or take a few years) the 2013 cast had a lot to live up to. They did a great job of course, flawless, faultless and a test of time that's passed with honours.

We were in the centre of the stalls about 8 rows back, sitting down an over-excited 30 minutes before curtain-up. I didn't hear a peep out of the orchestra, no tuning up, no nothing. I know they're traditionally hidden for A Chorus Line, for obvious reasons, but where on earth WERE they hidden? In a different theatre? Then I started to feel just a little uncomfortable about it.

I found I couldn't see any screens giving the cast a view of the MD, which is usually the case even when the orchestra is in a non-enclosed pit.

All the sound for the orchestra seemed to come from almost one speaker, was lacking in the attack/excitement I was hoping for, almost sounding like a bunch of fairly excellent, but slightly bored, session musicians.

Looking at the list of musicians in my programme, it looks like a few of them are major session players you'd be more likely to find in the studio with Jay-Z or Paul McCartney (Harpist Camila Pay, trumpeter Simon Gardner, for example) not in the pit every night - it's definitely not my area of expertise though.

As I said, I've been listening to the original cast recording for donkey's years, I wasn't expecting it to sound identical, but the sound from the orchestra didn't compare to anything I've heard in a West End theatre before.

It definitely didn't spoil a marvellous show, well it did a bit for me, but I'll still be going again I hope, I just left the theatre with a feeling the whole show had been performed to a backing track.

Even so, IT'S STILL TREMENDOUS! GO GO GO!

NB: Last night, just after I realised no musical director had come on stage and taken a bow at the end, which pretty-much clinched it that the backing was pre-recorded, I tweeted about the musicians sounding a bit lifeless - while making it clear how great the cast were first and were being a bit let down - John Partridge tweeted me right back, saying they were very much alive, just hidden.

There may just be a problem with the sound, maybe it was where we were sat, maybe it's my ears. Or maybe it's a new controversial West End conspiracy of silence, were a show is going to run for a whole year with no orchestra.

Ahem, a few more points seeing as how you've got this far:

'At the Ballet' was just a few BPM too quick

JP could put a bit more enthusiasm into his '5,6,7,8's' - check out the YouTube video linked to below to see what I mean!

UPDATE: Thanks for the comments re: previews and the sound, all makes sense! I'll definitely sit somewhere else if I go again too. Overall, it was tremendous, I didn't want to be negative at all, I just want it to be as good as it can be and feel a bit of a mug for paying 2 x 85 for previews, where the crew have yet to get something as basic as the sound right.

Good idea, re: giving it a few months, I'll do that. Hopefully the orchestra will sound less clinical and flat, with more dynamics and a more realistic and engaging sound relayed to the audience - wherever they're sat.

Maybe the MD will be allowed out of wherever the musicians are locked away, shown where the stage is and be able to take a bow by then too!




I Hope I Get It - Original Broadway cast on the 1976 Tony Awards
Updated On: 2/9/13 at 10:44 AM
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FireFingers
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joined:11/16/10
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/9/13 at 03:12pm
I know the sound team on this, even worked with one of them. Trust me, the orchestra is real. A venue sounds completely different with people in it as opposed to one without, so setting up the system is educated guess work until they have bums on seats. And then you have to get everything sounding right whilst running a show, which is a real plate spinning task, especially for a theatre the size of the Palladium. It's why the sound not being right is always the main complaint from people at previews. Go in a couple of month's time and it will sound completely different.

As for the musicians, they often like doing a show like A Chorus Line, as it is regular income. With studio work, you never know if or when you might be needed. Some do studio work in the day, then the show at night. Blood Brothers had the same MD for it's entire West End 24 year run, apart from when he was in other part's of the world MD'ing other productions of Blood Brothers. So you do get big studio names in the pit.
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mrkringas
Broadway Star
joined:9/28/05
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/9/13 at 03:15pm
I didn't realise this was going to be eligible for this year's Olivier Awards.

As much as I enjoyed Sweeney Todd if I had to choose I would give this the Best Revival and split the difference with Ball and Staunton getting the acting awards.

Would be nice to see the Jerry Springer/Kat &Kings trick repeated and giving an award to the entire cast. Such a tight company that I'm looking forward to seeing again and again and don't expect them to phone in one bit.

And apologies for forgetting Victoria Hamilton Barrett. Quite different side from what I last saw in Gypsy and look forward to seeing more of her over the coming years. Also especially nice to see Leigh Zimmerman as Sheila - very appropriate casting for that part.

Re the band. I didn't notice an issue. Sitting near the front of the upper circle. Great view and the sound exploded after the piano only opening of "I Hope I Get It".
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jaqs
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/9/13 at 05:22pm
Just saw it tonight and thought it was stunning.
Was sat middle of a side section of the circle and the view was terrific mostly, we didn't get the full effect of the mirrors, especially in Cassies big dance.

I went in expecting to be wowed by the dancing but it was the company singing that blew me away. The male cast is a little less exciting than the women, I can do that didn't have much pizazz and Paul's monologue didn't quite hold the audience, and the Val needs to build up her endurance, first 2 show day was taking its toll halfway through dance 10.

I really like Simon Hardwick as Al, Victoria HB was perfect as was Leah Zimmerman. Scarlett was occasionally too English when singing but I loved seeing that Strallen line and flexibility.

John Partridge was great too, much better than expected and lovely to see him dancing again.

I got my ticket at tkts quite late on, but the circle was pretty full and what I could see of the stalls were busy.
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Nickhutson
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/10/13 at 04:04am
It's part of the show's concept that the orchestra is meant to be completely hidden, with no conductor screens and no bow for the musicians. This is purely because you're there watching a rehearsal process - and the music is certainly "in their heads". It's also why there's no interval and, I presume, no pre-show announcement.

It's a shame the sound is dreadful... maybe they ran out of money and could only afford one speaker.
Nick Hutson Co-Presenter/Producer MusicalTalk - The UK's Musical Theatre Podcast http://www.musicaltalk.co.uk
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everythingtaboo
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/10/13 at 09:18am
The Palladium is a pretty huge stage, how did the show fit the stage? Did they try and close off the proscenium?

Really happy the buzz has been so good so far, I remember some people were skeptical when it was first announced.


"Hey little girls, look at all the men in shiny shirts and no wives!" - Jackie Hoffman, Xanadu, 19 Feb 2008
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TBFL
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/10/13 at 10:51am
saw it Thursday night, and i gotta say, i was a little disappointed.

its the 4th time ive seen the show, twice in San Francisco in it pre broadway tryout and then once again when it was back in NYC. In comparrison, the London production fell flat. There was too much posturing from John Partridge, and Maggie's big belt note in At The Ballet was non exsistent - practically head voice, which made the whole number disappointing. Scarlett Strallen was good, but her dancing lacked the raw energy that it needs - i didnt see what it was that made her so special. The one actor who really made his moment stand out, was the actor playing Ritchie. He seemed to have that extra something which made his dancing and singing pop - He's also American which adds to my belief that we just dont do dancing shows as good as American performers do. Given how the creative team are so dedicated in finding the right people for the roles in the documentry Every Little Step, i went in expecting alot and came away disappointed. I will definitely go later in the run, and hope it has tightened up.
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fencemaster
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/10/13 at 02:42pm
That's a great comment FireFingers and makes a lot of sense, thanks ever so much! It appears from a few other comments that the sound could have been better else where, rather than in my goddam 85 seats! serves me right for trying to be flash, either way, it was still great and I didn't let the disappointing orchestra sound spoil the performances. I'll certainly try and go in a few months and hope the sound crew/orchestra have woken up!
Updated On: 2/10/13 at 02:42 PM
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theatrepaul
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A Chorus Line - First Preview
Posted: 2/15/13 at 08:56am
I'm going to go against the grain on this one but I have to agree with TBFL and say I too was dissapointed.

The show seemed a bit flat to me too. The staging is just fine and it fits the large Palladium stage well but I felt the performances lacked depth & I just didn't believe that any of them wanted to be cast, they just didn't sell it enough. It all felt very restrained.

I saw the 2006 revival on Broadway which was so much better than this. It's early days so hopefully the performances will grow but I expected more and so left feeling underwhelmed.

I also agree with earlier comments about the sound quality. They really need to sort it out.




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