Review by Carol Montana, photos provided
FORESTBURGH, NY – For its third mainstage production this year, Forestburgh Theatre Arts Center has chosen the multiple award-winning 1975 Broadway musical A Chorus Line.
With music by Marvin Hamlisch, book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, and lyrics by Edward Kleban, A Chorus Line tells the story of a Broadway audition during which 17 dancers vie for one of eight spots on a chorus line – four boys and four girls.
During the long audition, the stories of the dancers come out as the director Zach, played with agonizingly authentic toughness and sarcasm by Kevin Confoy, probes their personalities and digs into their psyches to test their determination.
On Broadway, the A Chorus Line won nine Tony Awards, the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama – one of the few musicals ever to receive this honor, the Olivier Award for Best Musical, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play of the season, and several others.
What made A Chorus Line unique among musicals was its birth, generated by several taped workshop sessions with Broadway dancers.
What is amazing about the Forestburgh production is the phenomenal choreography work on such a small stage – credit not only the first-rate, talented cast, but also director / choreographer Stacy Alley.
The entire ensemble turns in excellent performances. Standouts include: Georgia Tapp as Diana Morales, who gets to sing “Nothing” — the favorite song of every acting student who had to improvise as part of their training; Madison Turner and Marrick Smith as the married couple, Kristine and Al, who have a lot of fun with “Sing”; Zoe Kassay who plays Val, the girl who trades in the body that is keeping her from getting jobs in “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three”; Antonio Jimenez, a top-notch dancer who plays Paul; and Danielle Kelsey as Cassie, who had a relationship with Zach that complicates the audition process. Kelsey’s solo dance in The Music and the Mirror is one of the highlights of the show.
There are two minor shortcomings in Forestburgh’s production of A Chorus Line that can be easily remedied.One is the unflatteringly distracting costumes three of the women wear during the audition. I found my eyes drifting to their costumes rather than concentrating on the wonderful acting, singing and dancing that was taking place onstage at the time. The other problem is with the sound during certain scenes. Occasionally, high notes that are really belted out come across as screeching.
Put on your dancing shoes and catch it now through Sunday, July 18. The show runs Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m., with matinees on Wednesday and Sunday. Call the Forestburgh Theatre Arts Center Box Office at 845-794-1194 or check out the Web site at http://www.fbplayhouse.org.