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BWW Review: A CHORUS LINE at Mind's Eye Theatre Company

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BWW Review: A CHORUS LINE at Mind's Eye Theatre Company The company of A Chorus Line. Photo courtesy of Mind's Eye Theatre Company.

A Chorus Line

Music by Marvin Hamlisch

Lyrics by Edward Kleban

Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante

Directed by Janet Morris

Review by Taylor Clemons

Entire contents copyright © 2017 Taylor Clemons. All rights reserved.

Since the 70's Chorus Line has been a household name. Considered by many to be the first long running Broadway hit, the show played New York City for 15 years, spawned many national tours, and a movie adaptation. More recently the show was revived on Broadway in 2006, a re-staging of the original no less. A staple for community theatre, it was only a matter of time before the show came around again in the Louisville area.

The plot is fairly simple. We are given an inside look at a Broadway chorus call in real time. As the show starts to progress, the director asks each and every member of the chorus to share intimate parts of themselves.

With too many characters to list, I'll get to my standouts. To begin, Tymika Prince is delicious as Sheila. She takes every line and spins it into a fantastic comedic moment. She tends to the scene every second, reacting natuaraly and sometimes in very funny ways. Peighton Radlein as Diana is a very solid actor, but really gets to shine while singing her solo, "Nothing" about halfway through the show. Her voice is magnificent. Mandy Kramer and Jake Minton make a delightful pair as Kristine and Al. Their duet was adorable and genuine, making you root for this couple to succeed. James Thompson as Bobby was appropriately snotty and uppity as Bobby, grand gestures and all, he easily and quickly became an audience favorite. Valerie Canon's Cassie is played as broken and beaten down, and the audience feels for her. She does most of the heavy lifting dance wise in her glorious number "Music and the Mirror". Last, but not least is Alfred Jones as the lost and damaged Paul. His standout monologue had the entire audience in tears. He's giving one hell of a dramatic performance.

I don't like to be overtly negative in reviews, especially when it comes to performers especially. Most of the cast did a fine and solid job, but I must say there were a handful that I thought were either miscast or were not making the great acting choices.

Alfred Jones also lends a hand providing choreography. His work is slick, complicated and gorgeous. This leads me into my biggest quibble with the production. Ultimately the show just does not work in a black box theater. The story while very intimate, was crammed into the MeX Theater. Director Janet Morris did all she could with it in the space, but it ultimately falls flat, begging to be put on a bigger stage. The saddest part is only the front row gets a clear view of Jones' choreography, which is such a shame. The space was this show's downfall, everything was lined up to go off without a hitch, but the magic drastically fades if you don't buy into the feeling that you're in a Broadway theatre.

There really is a lot to love about this production. There are some great performances and wonderful dancing, but the show fails to deliver as a whole. One day I would love to see what Janet Morris and this team could do with this show in an appropriate venue.

A CHORUS LINE

Now - February 25

The MeX Theater in The Kentucky Center for the Arts

501 W. Main Street

Louisville, KY 40202

(502) 584-7777

https://www.kentuckycenter.org/


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