BWW Review: A CHORUS LINE at Uptown Players

BWW Review: A CHORUS LINE at Uptown PlayersBefore American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance opened a window into entertainment industry auditions, it was Broadway's A CHORUS LINE that was inviting audiences behind the curtain for a raw glimpse into the life of aspiring performers. And, just as the original 1975 New York production took the city by storm, Uptown Players' sharp staging managed to become the talk of the town in their fleeting mounting of the show. Twenty of Dallas' best dancers (plus a few out-of-towners) brought the show to life with passion, poise, and precision.

Michael Bennett, A CHORUS LINE's original director, choreographer, and conceiver, noted a dedication in his production's program "to anyone who has ever danced in a chorus or marched in step...anywhere." And while the show is told through the eyes of trained dancers, it speaks to audiences of all backgrounds, as the characters share their stories of successes, rejection, body issues, sexuality, and coming-of-age. It's a story of fighting for your dreams no matter the cost.

Uptown director/choreographer Jeremy Dumont strayed from much of the famous Bennett choreography, saving only the finale and a handful of musical measures as a nod to his predecessor. Dumont's new choreography retained the standard concept and structure while implementing a breath of fresh air onto the stage. A talented song and dance man himself, Dumont was an ideal fit to helm the production.

A CHORUS LINE is an ensemble piece in the truest sense; the show cannot succeed without a well-balanced group filling out the roles. But, it's impossible to not notice the standout talents of Ashley Chasteen (Cassie), Beth Lipton (Sheila), Bethany Lorentzen (Diana), and Dominic Pecikonis (Paul), who each epitomized the term "triple threat" and dominated the stage. The remaining players all danced up a lively storm - and since that's exactly what the show was about, it wasn't challenging to forgive the often-thin vocals and sound equipment difficulties.

It's a shame that A CHORUS LINE's performance run was merely a singular weekend sensation, but the enthusiasm of the sold-out audiences at Moody Performance Hall this past weekend was beyond sensational.

Up next for Uptown Players is BROADWAY OUR WAY in June, but it's their July production of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT that this theatre geek is counting down the days for. For tickets and more information on Uptown's upcoming season, visit www.UptownPlayers.org.

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From This Author Kyle Christopher West

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