BWW REVIEWS: A CHORUS LINE Gets Sensational New Staging at Music Circus
Although the grand "One" finale of A Chorus Line is the show's only number with sparkled costumes and bright lights, audiences need not worry about a slow build up. What they actually get is one singular sensation of a musical, especially in Sacramento Music Circus' unique staging in the round, a visual spectacular that theatregoers and dance lovers will not want to miss.
Director Stafford Arima and Choreographer Randy Slovacek fill the two-and-half hour musical with nonstop, incredible dancing and dramatic use of the Wells Fargo Pavilion's rotating stage. Chorus Line is usually staged in... well... a straight chorus line, leaving room for more back ends with Music Circus' circular setup. But the production's dynamic staging keeps the cast on its toes, always switching directions and making full use of aisles.
Less plot-driven and more of a character study, Chorus Line combines some of the most astounding choreography in Music Circus history with bits of humor and confronting moments of truth. The moving dreams and human needs represented earned Chorus Line the Pulitzer Prize. Haunting medleys like "Hello 12, Hello 13" and "At the Ballet," along with upbeat character songs make Chorus Line exceptionally relatable.
Broadway director Zach (played by Eric Sciotto, whose resume includes all the Chorus Line male roles) questions auditioning dancers about their lives and what led them to the dance world. Standouts at Music Circus include Allison Blair McDowell as "Dance 10, Looks 3" Val, Katie Huff and Adam Fleming as the adorable husband-wife couple Kristine and Al, and Kate Levering as Cassie, who returns to the chorus after years of trying to become a headliner. Cassie's back-story with Zach drives much of the actual plot of Chorus Line and includes an intense performance of "The Music and the Mirror" that leaves audiences breathless.
Other highlights include Xavier Cano's Paul in a heartrending monologue, Chelsea Morgan Stock's heavenly voice as Maggie and Selina Michelle Verastigiu's alternately sassy and sincere Diana. Valerie Gebert leads the orchestra in the musical's instantly exhilarating score, bits of 70's groove included.
Photo by Charr Crail