Baayork Lee Directs A CHORUS LINE at Pittsburgh CLO, Now thru 6/24


A Chorus Line, the powerful and emotion-filled musical about the trials and tribulations of forging a life in the theater, will play in Pittsburgh tonight, June 15 through June 24 at the Benedum Center. Directed and choreographed by original A Chorus Line cast member Baayork Lee, this bona fide Broadway hit features an incredible ensemble cast composed of exciting Broadway stars and Pittsburgh CLO veterans.

From the pen of legendary composer Marvin Hamlisch comes this Tony Award® and Pulitzer-Prize winning “singular sensation!” This backstage story of 17 aspiring dancers pairs heart-stopping, toe-tapping performances with soaring ballads, all against the backdrop of the ups and downs of a life in show business. An unforgettable musical for anyone who’s ever had a dream and put it all on the line, A Chorus Line’s iconic score features such classics as “What I Did for Love,” “One,” “I Hope I Get It,” and more!

Baayork Lee (Director/Choreographer) created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line and has performed in a dozen Broadway shows. Michael Bennett’s assistant choreographer on A Chorus Line, she has directed many national and international companies. Her directing credits include The King and I and Bombay Dreams (National Tours), R&H’s Cinderella (NYC Opera), Barnum (Australia), Carmen Jones (Kennedy Center), Porgy and Bess, Jesus Christ Superstar (European Tour), Gypsy and A New Brain. As a choreographer, she has choreographed productions of Cocoanuts, Camelot, Damn Yankees, Animal Crackers (Helen Hayes nomination), South Pacific, Goya, Sly and The Merry Widow, among others. She is the co-author of “On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line” and recipient of 2003 Asian Woman Warrior Award for Lifetime Achievement from Columbia College.

Tom Helm (Music Director) returns for his 17th season with Pittsburgh CLO. His theater credits include the Broadway productions of Souvenir, Les Miserables, Me and My Girl, Cats and Brigadoon. He has also contributed his talents to television programs such as “Crazy for You” and the “Today Show.” Mr. Helm has conducted at Radio City Music Hall, Paper Mill Playhouse and many other regional shows and national theaters.

A Chorus Line, with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban, is based on the true stories of actual performers who came together to tell their tales during a series of taped workshops. They sold their stories to original director and choreographer Michael Bennett for one dollar each. Eight of these performers actually played their own characters in the original Broadway production.

A Chorus Line opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on July 25, 1975. It ran for 6,137 performances and currently holds the title of the fifth longest-running show in Broadway history. The original production was nominated for twelve 1976 Tony Awards and went on to win nine, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Donna McKechnie). A Chorus Line also won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

A film version of A Chorus Line was released by Columbia Pictures in 1985. The cast included Michael Douglas as Zach; Janet Jones, wife of ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, as Judy Monroe; and Matt West, choreographer of the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast, as Bobby. A Chorus Line has also enjoyed countless productions across the globe and was revived on Broadway in 2006. The audition process for the Broadway revival was chronicled in the 2008 documentary Every Little Step.

Carleigh Bettiol (Val) joins Pittsburgh CLO after touring production of In The Heights (u/s Nina, Vanessa, Carla), A Chorus Line Tokyo (Cassie), Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Townsperson/Enchanted Object) and Virtuosity! (Soloist). She has also performed regionally in A Chorus Line (DiAna Morales/Dance Captain) and 42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer).
Eric Carsia (Don) performed as Don in the 2010-2011 International Tour of A Chorus Line and will be performing once again under the direction of Baayork Lee in his Pittsburgh CLO debut.

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