- I didn't see the original cast but I did see Sammy Williams play Paul when he returned to the Broadway production in 1984. His monologue was one of the more memorable moments in the show. He deservedly won the Tony for his performance.
Thommie Walsh, the original Bobby (the flamboyant one, a role based on himself) died of lymphoma in 2007.
- If you were just a child, OP, how could you have been aware of what every queen worth "her" salt was doing?
- r2, I have a lot of older gay friends. I also bought the album as a youngster. Every YOUNG queen in training bought it, too.
- I grew up listening to A Chorus Line and have always been thoroughly obsessed with the musical. Different songs meant more as I grew up, I understood more, etc.
It's just an extraordinary show - music, story, and story of its creation. I HIGHLY recommend checking out the book of On the Line if you're really interested in the history of A Chorus Line. The documentary from a few years back was pretty good too.
In addition to Tommy Walsh, Michael Bennett is also no longer with us, of course. :(
- I worked with the SF production in 76 or so. When I first started working I walked into the auditorium on my lunch hour. They were auditioning. Since I had not seen the show yet, I couldn't tell what was from the book and what was real life. Michael Bennett was the one interviewing the talent. Life meets Art.
- Clive Clerk is also dead.
- I saw the original, and quite frankly, I was rather underwhelmed. In a weird sort of way, it was actually rather old fashioned. Sort of like one of those 30s backstage musicals with a lot of "shits" added to the dialog. The opening was terrific. The ending was not all that impressive. I suppose part of that was the fact that the closing number was referencing all of those numbers like "MAME" with the chorus backing up the star. The problem was that those kinds of numbers were pretty much dead by the time A CHORUS LINE was staged. I always thought Cassie should have failed the audition. That part of the ending always rang dishonest to me. Anything else you would like to know?
- The Paul I saw, George Pesaturo, was the first replacement for Sammy Williams. My teenage self fell in love with him. He died of AIDS. I can find no other information about him.
- R7, they discovered in workshops that Cassie HAD to pass the audition. When they tried out a version where Cassie does not get hired audiences found the show too much of a downer.
- R7, if I remember right, Cassie DID fail in the original version of the show because it would be more realistic. The problem was that people ended up hating Zach's character...so they changed the ending.
- R9, actually Cassie failed the audition in the Public Theater production. I was all of Bennett's friends that felt that "you can't tell us we can't start over again." The truth is that the general audience had no problem with Cassie being cut, it was only Bennett's chorus cronies that objected.
- R7, OP here. I totally get your comments about the finale number. I remember thinking "OK, this big splashy number is supposed to be from some 'show within THIS show' kind of thing. Like the chorus line was dancing in a big show that was not A Chorus Line. I got THAT part. But, as you said, those kinds of numbers were not really popular by the 1970's. So, although there was supposed to be a WOW factor, it seemed a bit out of time, out of place.
Later with a more "adult brain" and more perspective, I came to realize that it was a timeless number, a chorus line from ANY era, from any show and that it was more about MAKING THE CUT and being IN the line than whatever the hell show they were all dancing in. I was much too much of a literalist. I mean, Chicago and Annie opened around that same time and they had none of the glitzy "Broadway baby" kicky chorus line stuff in them.
- R12, I think one can over analyze the number. To a degree it is also about having seen these wonderful talented dancers that we have come to know as individuals, reduced to a bland homogenous backdrop for a star, and doing not all that difficult choreography. It sounds good on paper, particularly in hindsight, but the reality is that the number is an underwhelming end to the evening.
- I saw the original cast. College theatre trip. We were lucky that we got tickets. It really was the hot ticket. After the show a bunch of us went to Ted Hook's Backstage and Priscilla Lopez was there having a late supper. I also saw ACL a year later with the replacement cast. In the 80's, Donna McKechnie headed up a summer stock tour that played Starlight Theatre here. Saw that one too. So I saw Donna play Cassie twice.
Yes, I am an elder
- Forgot to add--Michael Bennett taped the show (black and white)when it was still at the Public and before the transfer. I have a copy and I believe you can watch it on youtube OP.
A 'Cassie' I saw in one of the national tours was Alyson Reed. No, the movie was awful but Reed was sensational in the tour.
- I saw it in 1975 at the Public Theater. I had just moved to NY, and my actor-dancer-singer-waiter roommate got tickets. He told me it was going to be the biggest thing ever, historic, the gay Woodstock. He wasn't far from wrong.
I liked it, though I wasn't that into musicals. It really came alive for me when I'd listen to the record over and over. "What I Did for Love" was virtually the theme to being gay in New York at that time. It meant a lot more than Woodstock (which I did not attend).
- When I was younger I thought What I Did for Love was schmaltzy and cloying. It was in the same vein as The Way We Were. Elevator music.
Now, it makes me cry.
- r12, perhaps it is an underwhelming end to the evening but isn't that sort of the point, too? All those talented dancers vying for a place in the anonymous chorus line? Working that hard just to get a job, a place in the chorus where, with all that talent, they are still invisible? The life of the gypsy, dancing and working like maniacs to BE an homogenous backgdrop to a star? With the hopes that one day, some way, it will "happen" for them? That's what A Chorus Line is ABOUT. The cruel irony, the fact that the dancers HAVE to dance. The heartbreak and the things they all must "do for love."
- [quote]If you were just a child, OP, how could you have been aware of what every queen worth "her" salt was doing?
Hey the OP didn't say he was an infant. I was a kid too and we had these things called newspapers, The Times, The Post, The Daily News, and the local news, and all had goings on of the Broadway folks and yes "A Chorus Line" was one singular sensation, Baby! And it was exciting at the theater when they clad the front of the house in mirrors with all the reviews painted on them. That was the best any theater had looked. Here's a photo but it doesn't do justice to how cool it really looked.
- R18, I am not sure if you meant to respond to R12 or me at R13, but that was my point. That is all well and good, but if that is something that you figure out two hours after having left the theater, the number failed. Great on paper, lousy in reality.
- "The problem was that those kinds of numbers were pretty much dead by the time A CHORUS LINE was staged."
The following opened between 1970 and 1984: Mack and Mabel, Seesaw, Applause, Woman of the Year, Irene, Platinum, The Act, Annie, On The Twentieth Century, Chicago, Bubbling Brown Sugar, Bring Back Birdie, The Rink, Goodtime Charlie, My One and Only, Doctor Jazz, Sugar Babies, Follies, Pippin, Coco, No, No Nanette, Sugar, The Wiz, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Evita, Nine.
While many of these were not in the precise form of Mame or Dolly, they all had at least one female lead and they all had dancing. Platinum, Applause, Seesaw, Woman of the Year, Chicago and Mack and Mabel all had numbers very much in the "She's The One" up tempo big female star supported by a chorus vein - hell, Mack and Mabel which opened a season before A Chorus Line was even by the same composer as Mame and Dolly and had two numbers (Look What Happened to Mabel, When Mabel Comes Into the Room) which could have been prototypes for that kind of number. To the extent these shows differed from Mame and Dolly (which of course they did), the show within a show in A Chorus Line might have itself differed greatly from those shows as well.
- It was actually Marsha Mason, while married to Neil Simon, that told Bennett to change the end to not cut Cassie.
- R21, Please do your homework before you copy and paste a list. "Look What Happened to Mabel" was an elaborate montage number of her early days in silent film. It was nothing like "One". There was a number similar to "One" in Mack and Mabel- Tap Your Troubles Away for Lisa Kirk. However, as it is a pastiche of of early talkie musicals, you can no more count it, than your examples of No No Nannette or Irene.
Applause is a very good example of how thing had changed. See "But Alive" at the 3:50 mark. Each of the chorus boys have their own identity/ character, and they get specialty bits- to perform in character. They are not a homogenous group of identically costumes nobodies.
- r23, that number is the first time that a gay bar or OUT gay people were ever acknowledged in a Broadway show.
- I was in it once. I played Don.
- I think the finale of A Chorus Line is sensational, thrilling, and almost cathartic. Until now, I've never heard that anyone ever found it "underwhelming" before!
- I saw the very first preview performance of ACL at The Public. At that early erformance, Bennett had Cassie enter the stage, rushing in late in a fur chubbie and glamorous slacks, right off the plane form LA, begging Zach to let her audition.
I don't think that entrance lasted for many more previews.
- isn't that how she enters in the movie r27? Sounds familiar.
- At one time there was a thread about who you played in the show.
- Yes R28.
- I had just arrived in New York, not long before, had gone to my first gay bar, and after a few introductory hookups, had met the guy who turned out to be my first boyfriend. He'd told me about this show at the Public that all his friends were just wild about, and he'd gotten tickets.
A few days later he called saying he had good news and bad news. The bad news was that the show was closing at the Public, and the good news was that our tickets had been switched for center orchestra seats on Broadway.
By that time, a few months later, it was the hottest ticket in town and he could have scalped the tickets for hundreds of badly needed grad school dollars. But he didn't, and we saw the show in a packed house filled with all sorts of notables, none of whom a can remember.
I'd never seen anything other than a few amateur high school productions. I was completely dazzled. I still am.
- Kelly Bishop (Gilmore Girls) was fired from her Tony Award winning role of Sheila, after asking for a $100.00 raise.
- Wow, R32, She was one of the best things in the show.
- I wish we could get rid of this musical loving fairy stereotype. Fuck it is tired.
- They G0ys have arrived.
- Kelly Bishop recreates 'At The Ballet' on Donahue
- Bennett was really talented and the original production was loaded with good performances in addition to the great staging. It's hard to top McKechnie, Lopez, Blair, Williams, Kay Cole, Bishop (!) etc. in those roles.
I ushered at the Kennedy Center for the international tour and Bennett came in and took notes and rehearsed during previews, then fired Morales, brought in Pam Blair to do Val from somewhere else and elevated Deborah Henry who had a great voice to Cassie and generally polished the crap out of the show for the critics. It was fun to watch the show improve every single night. The opening night was thrilling and got raves. A month later the show was still good but not close to the same thing the critics saw.
- Donna McKechnie was the star of the show that got more money than any of the other cast.
And here is Kelly Bishop, fresh off a Tony win asking for only $100 more. And getting fired for it.
- ok r23 but what about the chorus in "Woman of the Year"? And my point wasn't that these numbers were exactly the same as "Mame" and "Hello Dolly" title numbers, my point was that the general form was not so obsolete that "She's the One" seemed like a blatant anachronism. In fact, nostalgia for old forms was very much alive in the 70s and 80s. As Peter Allen put it, "everything old is new again."
- R32 R33 But, perhaps because of being fired from Chorus Line, Kelly Bishop was able to play the best part of An Unmarried Woman (except Jill Clayburgh, of course), the supremely entertaining, mad-as-hell Elaine. One of my favorite characters of all time.
- R35 Gatey?
- A friend of mine got tickets toward the end of the run in 1990. I was not excited, figuring it would be tired at this point. However, most of the original cast returned and I understand they really worked on refreshing the production and giving it a good send-off. Let me tell you, it was amazing and the audience was riveted. So glad I got to have that experience before the original production left.
- I felt nothing.
- Self-loathing much, R34?
- He's a goy, R44. Or a broy. Or a bro. Just don't call him gay.
- "However, most of the original cast returned and I understand they really worked on refreshing the production and giving it a good send-off."
No they didn't. But I'm sure it's a nice memory.
- OMG, R34. Issues, much?
Check THIS out. In 1983 the old casts did return. Talk about thrilling!
- R47, thanks.
Where's that "When is the last time you cried?" thread?
- R39, do you mean this chorus? Hmm.. Old,fat, balding bearded, dressed as individual characters, given specialty bits of choreography that have nothing to do with the star? Un no...just no.
And as for nostalgia,A Chorus Line is not a period piece. It is supposed to represent the world of Broadway as it existed at that time, and the world of Broadway was not an identically cast, faceless chorus line. It would have been more truthful if the older characters complained about all of the new demands being made on the chorus nowadays.
There is a certain irony (?) in this as Micheal Bennett was the one who killed that kind of chorus number with his choreography for "I like Basketball".
However, the only reason that the number had any appeal for the middle aged audience of A Chorus Line was that there were finally pretty costumes. And really, if you read the contemporary writing about "One", they focus heavily on Theoni's costumes. Considering how little attention costumes get from reviewers of theater commentators, it pretty much reveals the imbalance.
- NO, A Chorus Line is not a period piece. Far from it. But that's not what I was debating.
The fact that the show within a show in A Chorus Line appears to be a much more standard Broadway musical with an old-fashioned chorus supporting a female lead in an uptempo musical number celebrating her fabulousness - a la Mame and Dolly - was not an anachronism, let alone one that in anyway reflects badly on the dramaturgy of A Chorus Line.
It was not at all unlikely that a Broadway show in the mid 70s would have included a number like "She's the One." And so it is not hard to believe that the show being auditioned for in A Chorus Line would have included such a number.
Moreover, it would have been a grave error to have the big number from the show within a show in A Chorus Line be something far less generic or standard, something with specific characters in a scene responding to an event or a principle.... that is not what A Chorus Line is about, it is not about a dancer needing a specific show in order to act an individuated role, be a part of a concept musical or other relatively new form of a musical, or anything like that.... it is about what it is like to be a Broadway dancer and to need a job. The characters are individuals as we come to know them through the audition process, very different from each others. When we see the characters employed, in their big number in the show within a show, we see them as a corp, as a unified dance team, in sharp contrast to their identities as we have come to know them.
And that is exactly how it should be.
- Patti's brother, Robert LuPone, was the original Zach.
I saw it in 1980 on my first trip to NYC. Also saw: They're Playing Our Song, Sweeny Todd and Nuts on that visit.
- I was at that performance, R47. I was a peon working at the public but they made sure all of us could go. I was so poor then I think I made my own bow tie - and probably a $5 thrift store tux.
I remember the night vividly and how drop dead gorgeous Treat Williams was at the pre-show party in Shubert Alley.
- I saw it in London in 1977. Then in Chicago in 1978. To be honest, I didn't really like the "show about putting on a show" aspect. It was an era of narcissism: books about writing books, movies about making movies, etc. But it had gay content so 16 year old me had to see it every chance I got.
- Pam Blair is now a real estate agent
- I saw a touring production in 1978. I will not lie, it changed my life. I'm not saying it is the best show, but as far as a 16 year old budding homosexual goes, it was the first show that I remember seeing with gay men talking about being gay. I will always cherish it.
- Me too - I took my 'girlfriend' and wept openly. She figured it out pretty quickly.
- I saw it Bicentennial Weekend (1976).
Most of the original cast was still in it but Ann Reinking played Cassie.
- This show is responsible for the Broadway musical becoming synonymous with gay. After Chorus Line gays came flinging out of the closet and soon it became "gay" to see a musical and the musical theater lost much of its straight male audience.
Today, Broadway musicals have become the butt of gay jokes on late night tv. Sad.
- [quote]This show is responsible for the Broadway musical becoming synonymous with gay.
Broadway was synonymous with gay since "Little Johnny Jones".
- Priscilla Lopez lives in my town. She still looks great. I saw the original show as a teenager. Sat in the last row in the balcony. I still remember thinking what an amazing show I was watching.
- Priscilla Lopez played Jennifer Lopez mom in a movie.
- "At the Ballet" is one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs ever written for theatre. Almost everyone can relate to it on some level.
- Hdid she hlove her more than tacos?
- Yes, R62, and it always annoyed me that there isn't a single male voice in that song, as if "raise my arms and someone's always there" has never been the dream of some little boy in Peoria.
- This doesn't have any massive insights, but is still pretty fun to watch - deconstructing At the Ballet.
- Saw it in L.A. at the Shubert in 76 or 77. loved it. I also saw Evita in L.A. at the Chandler before it moved to Broadway.
- Aside from the fact that Phyllis sings quite a bit in the song, wouldn't "Lucy and Jessie" from FOLLIES be a comparison to One?
There's a line in ACL where Zach says that they're a frame for the star and none of the dancers should draw his eye away from the centre of the stage. Bennett staged a 'frame' for Phyllis, with the actors facing away from the audience in identical costumes - completely anonymity, like 'One'.
"Lucy/Jessie" is a pastiche number. Follies, but most particularly the "Loveland" sequence uses archaic theatrical vocabulary to comment on contemporary relationships. Citing "Lucy/Jessie" is similar to citing "La Bete" and "Serious Money" as proof that the rhymed couplet is still a living and commonly used form in contemporary American theater.
- I was watching a clip from the Broadway production of A Chorus Line and noticed that one of the commenters mentioned that he had been in a JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL production.
- Hindsight is 20/20 and NOW we can see that the era of anonymous choruses was coming to an end, but audiences of the mid 70's fully accepted the concept of a chorus backing up a star.
Television has the ice dancers on Donny and Marie, Ernest Flatt dancers on Carol Burnett-Hell, it was the height of Mitzi Gaynor TV specials!
- Regarding the finale, from 'Unfinished Show Business' by Bruce Kirle:
"According to Michael Bennett... You're going to get to know all these dancers as individuals and care about each one. Then at the very end of the play, they're going to come out in tuxedos and top hats, and you're not going to be able to tell one from another... It's going to be the most horrifying moment you will ever experience in a theatre. If I do this right, you will ever see another chorus line in a theatre."
- Michael Bennett clearly overestimated the average American's capacity for horror. Dehumanization does not scare most people.
- Have only seen the original cast on a bootleg but I did see the show multiple times during the run.
My favorite was when McKechnie returned to the show as Cassie. I bought standing room for $5 but the performance was far from sold out (I think the policy was to sell standing room whether it was sold out or not). One of the users quietly offered me a side on right side of the theatre. Right before McKechnie's scene with Zack leading into Music and the Mirror the side door opened and, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a little man in a baseball cap scurry in and sit down. I didn't pay too much attention until after the # was over and he was applauding loudly. It was Michael Bennett. I believe he was ill at the time. Very frail. After McKechnie left the stage the side door opened and he rushed out.
- Deborah Henry passed away years ago. Sad. She managed to pull off Cassie and Val, two wildly different characters and was amazing.
Saw Bebe Neuwirth as one of the cut dancers in the opening.
The show became very mechanical in later years and I remember they shook things up by firing most of the cast and bringing in new blood.
LuPone returned to play Zach and liked to improvise during the performance. I heard the cast was not happy about that.
The recent revival was badly cast. If that's the best talent broadway has to offer then maybe broadway really is dying.
And, if Mario Lopez really wanted to work on broadway then he should have tackled Paul because he was way too young and not even remotely believable as Zach.
- Great story r73 Love it.
- Can anyone shed light on this: There are 17 dancers auditioning (iconic image). There are 5 cut dancers/offstage singers. There is Zach the Director and his assistant Larry. Total cast is 25.
The finale has 19 dancers.
The revival, rather infamously, added Zach to the finale, but only for when they stunt casted Mario Lopez.
So, who are the extra two dancers?
- [quote] It's going to be the most horrifying moment you will ever experience in a theatre. If I do this right, you will ever see another chorus line in a theatre."
Instead, everyone applauded the pretty costumes.
If the ending had actually accomplished what he intended, it would have been a wonderful evening. Instead, it was a feel good moment for the ticket buyers from Syosset.
Did Bennett really write "theatre"?
- It has always amused me that there was never enough Asian dancers to do the "year of the chicken" role; so, there was an alternate version where the character is Irish.
- I just saw a community theater production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" with two Latinos playing the Chinese guys. And this was in Orange County, which has a HUGE Asian population.
- In a local theater production that I saw the part of Ricky was played by a very pale, very fey white boy.
- Ricky? I don't think there was a Ricky. Did you see I Love Lucy r80?
- What in the world is r78 talking about???
- r78 is talking about the character of Connie. I think the alternate Irish thing was so they didn't have to hire an Asian understudy just for that role. They could hire short white girls who'd cover Maggie and Connie and maybe some other parts and then just change the dialogue for them if they want on.
- I love the regional theater production stories. It's fascinating and horrifying all at once. I've never seen an amateur production of ACL but did see a high school production of DREAMGIRLS in Harlem - it was too awesome. Effie flipped over the table during "and i'm..." and there were families eating Popeye's in the bleachers.
- I saw the original cast shortly after it opened. I was maybe 15, lived in Boston, and begged my father until he took me to NYC to see it one weekend. It was the very first Broadway play I ever saw, and seeing gay men portrayed onstage moved me tremendously. If my father didn't know I was gay before then, he must have figured it out during the play! As for "One," maybe having no knowledge of theater made me think that the song was about a musical. I assumed "she" wasn't some leading actress in some big play, I thought they were singing about musicals in general.
- Zach has always been in the finale. He wasn't added to the finale for Lopez.
- There used to be youtube footage of a horrible community theatre production. Bobby weighed about 300 lbs. Cassie looked like a 65 yr old man (or Barbara Barrie - same thing). And the stage was the size of an orange crate.
- r87 Made me look up different versions on Youtube and found a funny high school finale where the kids just sort of mumbled during the patter singing part of One. How do link videos? I would love to share it.
- r21 - you forgot "42nd Street".
- I will never understand why high schools torture themselves with ACL. It's a fantastic show, but filling a cast with people who can actually do those roles is pretty impossible for a school.
- Do high schools cut the Tits and Ass song?
- [quote]Deborah Henry passed away years ago. Sad. She managed to pull off Cassie and Val, two wildly different characters and was amazing.
I saw Henry in the first national tour a year or so after seeing the original cast in New York. I also saw Deborah H. a second time when she was in the Broadway company. She was brilliant, as good as McKechnie in my opinion.
- I saw Pamela Sousa as a kid and then Laurie Gamache (I think) when I was a little older. Gamache was a great dancer but Sousa was superb....really chic and classy looking and radiated the star quality Sousa was supposed to have.
- Eldergeezers, please.
- Eldergeezers, please WHAT? Did you ask a question or make a contribution to the thread? I don't understand that post.
- Sousa was great. I remember at one performance (I saw her a few times) she wore a red turtleneck instead of the usual Cassie leotard and it really threw me because those costumes rarely, if ever, changed from dancer to dancer.
Cheryl Clark danced the hell out of it (check out footage on youtube). Gamache was good but too young. Angelique Ilo was sort of a carbon copy of McKechnie (not as good as the original). Wanda Richert was very good. Candace Tovar was excellent.
Vicki Frederick was stunning. Wish I had seen Reinking.
- Why did the movie suck so much? It was supposed to be THE movie to bring back movie musicals but sucked so hard it killed them for another seven years, until Chicago.
- Fabulous show.
Haters, blow me.
- Any of you see the recent London revival?
- R97, Chicago was 17 years later.
- The movie sucked for many reasons
1. The ridiculous Flashdance choreography
2. Making Cassie a pain in the ass and
replacing Music and the Mirror with
3. Bebe just got out of a mental institution?
Why wasn't that lifted for SMASH.
4. It was directed by a great director who was
just plain wrong for the material
5. Michael Douglas was really, really
And it was more like 15 yrs between ACL and Chicago movies.
- R88, when you post a reply, beneath the text box it says Url, Author, Keywords. Post the link under Url.
- R101, don't forget taking "What I Did for Love" from Diana and giving it to Cassie as a lament about her lost love to Zach instead of being a song about the sacrifice a dancer makes for the love of dance.
- Tony Winner Elizabeth Seal was FIRED from the London version of Chorus Line.
- The bizarre, overly wrought, manic, craptastic finale to the movie. What the HELL was Attenborough going for here?
- Exactly what R101 said.
When there was first talk about a movie version, Ann-Margret wanted to play Cassie.
I saw Alyson Reed in the national company and she was fine.
- Considering Donna McKechnie was promoted as the leading lady of Chorus Line, it's kind of surprising that What I Did For Love was given to Lopez as a second (mostly) solo number
- [quote] it's kind of surprising that What I Did For Love was given to Lopez as a second (mostly) solo number
During rehearsals Donna was getting more and more material. A few noses were out of joint, so I think that song was thrown to Lopez to try to balance out the show.
- Here is Patricia Lopez recreating 'what I did for love' on the Tony Awards
- Julie Andrews playing Sheila in the London version of Chorus Line!
- Was McKechnie really promoted as the leading lady of the show while it was being created? McKechnie plays the one character whose had a career other than chorus work, and McKechnie's performance was promoted as a lead for the tony's (successfully). Still while Music and the Mirror is a standout number and McKechnie was stellar (as were many others in the original cast, including Lopez), Cassie's status as a lead seems to be more of an after the fact manufacture rather than a creative choice during the pre-opening development of the show.
- Patricia Lopez, r109? Any relation to Patricia Presley?
- She was introduced as Patricia Lopez
- Did the producers promote McKecnie as the lead or did the Tony Committee just put her there?
- Uh, no. Julie Andrews' interpretation of At The Ballet was much too mannered and corny.
- Whoever made the decision to put Donna in the Best Actress category, Chita and Gwen refused to perform on the show in protest. That's why Jerry Orbach's number is the one on the show.
- R116, was Gwen a greedy bitch? She already had 4 Tonys. Chita had only been nominated once before so it's understandable if she were hungry for that Tony. But at least she went on to win two afterward, and was nominated other times, too. This was Donna's first and only nomination/win.
- who would have won without Donna...chita or gwen?
- Gwen probably would have won. She and Chita showed up at the ceremony but look pissed on camera.
Love McKechnie but she never should have been placed in the lead category. It's an ensemble. Cassie is a featured role.
I've heard great things about the London revival. If only they would videotape a production with the original direction and choreography.
- Gwen actually looked excited for Donna when her name was announced.
- My mother bought tickets and took all us girls in the family to see it when it first came to LA. Magical!
- [quote] Julie Andrews' interpretation of At The Ballet was much too mannered and corny.
She should have been cast as Cassie and not Sheila.
Imagine what she could do with the 'mirror' number
- [quote]Gwen probably would have won.
What about Vivian Reed for BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR? She was the other nominee.
- Is Bebe Neuwirth the only Chorus Line vet to become a star?
- I saw it at the Paper Mill Playhouse in NJ about 20 years ago, and have no idea who was in it.
- It would be nice to erase the memory of that terrible movie - I always wonder why they just didn't professionally film the original production. I suppose the documentary is about as good as it's going to get.
- What's R94 doing in this thread? Fond memories of The Little Mermaid thread filled?
- The London production is PERFECT ! Just as good as the original...seriously !
- The Julie Andrews At the Ballet is just painful, how funny. I never thought I'd say Julie Andrews singing reminds me of William Shatner, but it absolutely does here..
- Julie Andrews? I was thinking I'd pay top dollar to see her play Val but then I remembered S.O.B.
- I remember seeing Leslie Ann Warren on Merv Griffin begging to be cast as Cassie. Around the same time John Travolta was being courted to star in the film.
- The ubiquitous Leslie Warren - JAP personified! The woman who played Cassie in the film was GODAWFUL, although I believe she was the original.
- Other names that were bandied about were Goldie Hawn (Val), Michael Jackson (Paul) and Mikhail Baryshnikov
- They waited way too long for the film and Attenborough wasn't the best choice. They should've done more theater district location shots, or changed up some of the settings, made some of them backstage, dressing room, etc. It didn't have enough NYC atmosphere.
- [quote]The woman who played Cassie in the film was GODAWFUL, although I believe she was the original.
How did you get this far into the thread without noticing that Donna McKechnie was the original Cassie on stage? Neither she nor any other member of the original Broadway cast was in the film.
- I thought someone said whats-her-name was the original Cassie in the Joe Papp production before Donna McKechnie? Shows how much of a theater queen I am, and I saw Donna in the original Bway production.
- Allyson Reed, the film Cassie, was a high school student in California when A CHORUS LINE debuted in NYC.
- Allyson Reed did play Cassie in the national tour of ACL
- Reed may be good onstage but on film she's deadly. Not sexy, not likable, no star quality, she's not sympathetic. Terrible casting choice.
- [quote]Attenborough wasn't the best choice
Do you think?
- I saw Reed's screen test. She was very good. But she was dressed as Cassie was originally and spoke dialogue from the play's script..
The changes which I agree were disasterous came later. Including the awful perm.
- I almost wish they had made the film with Hawn, Travolta, Warren and Michael Jackson as Paul. It would probably have been hysterical. As it is, the version we get is merely depressing and unwatchable.
Were any other celbs attached?
- Michael Jackson actually balked at playing Paul, because the character was gay.
- Vicki Frederick who was a decent Sheila on screen was a sexy, knockout Cassie onstage.
Her Music and the Mirror was memorable.
I also hated that Sheila talked about her kid in the movie. No mention of a kid in the stage version.
Saw Bebe play Cassie when she was an u/s. Would rather have seen her play Sheila. No vulnerability. Even back then.
Biggest heartbreak was when Wanda Richert went back into the broadway cast after she had left to have a baby. She was a Cassie/Val understudy and danced in the opening # as one of the cut dancers. Can you imagine how that must have felt? No wonder she turned to Jesus.
- Why'd it take so long to get to the screen? Liza would have been a great Cassie had it been done in 1977.
- Are you kidding, R145? The only part that was ever right for Liza in A CHORUS LINE would be the offstage coke-dealer to the cast!
- She played Roxie...she could have played Cassie.
- Did she just sort of "Liza" her way through CHICAGO or was she able to match Rivera and Verdon as a dancer? She was never the stand-out dancer on a stage full of professionals, was she? I thought she was always more like a version of the Leading Lady the company sings about in "One" - a singer who can dance but isn't immediately thought of as a dancer.
- Back in the seventies she could keep up with the best of the chorus dancers and Rivera. She trained a lot as a dancer (it was something her mother didn't do so she made it her niche.)
- Liza definitely could dance. Anyone who saw The Act can attest to that. The problem is that, with her body, she always looked like one of those dancing pianos that were common in marionette shows way back when.
- OP, do you generally find that people are eager to cooperate with those who call them geezers?
- As R151, haven't you answered your own question?
- If they'd made the film version in the 70s, Barbra Streisand would have made an awesome Cassie.
- Suprising that Barbra Streisand didn't record What I Did For Love.
No one had a major pop hit with it. Was that because the
- ... was that because the cast album sold so well?
- I dated a cast member. Of the first replacement cast on Broadway. Used to sneak my in before the show and take me up to the rafters, where I'd watch.
- Sorry, used to sneak *me* in...of course the original cast wasn't replaced in one fell swoop. Donnie McKechnie was still playing Cassie when my bf was cast. Sandahl Bergman was doing Judy Turner...she was a good friend of my bf and a very sweet girl. As was Vicki Frederick. There was a blonde who took over the role of Sheila...she was part of their group as well...a lot of them had danced in Pippin...I can't remember her name.
- Excuse me, 149?
"It was something her mother didn't do..." Are you joking?
Judy Garland was one of the best dancers in film; watch any of her routines with Gene Kelly and tell me who you can't take your eyes off of?
Fred Astaire called her one of his favorite dance partners.
And watch any of her dance routines with Mickey Rooney in their films together and try and tell me it was something "she didn't do."
- R158, I think R149 meant Garland wasn't known for her dancing and just used the wrong turn of phrase. Garland was an excellent dancer but I don't think people thought of her as a dancer first. Whatever they meant, no need to go into attack mode.
- "Attack mode" ?
And no one thinks of Liza as a dancer first, either.
Fact is, Garland sang AND danced in every musical she made...with the exception of "I Could Go On Singing," which is not a musical per se.
But yes, Liza prided herself on her dancing and her dance training and often referred to herself as a dancer.
- It's based on true stories, you know.
- I think the story that the girl tells in 'At the Ballet' about wanting to dance with her father and pretending he was an Indian chief is a Donna McKechnie story.
- Yes, 161, and didn't some later sue for compensation?
- And the story about not being pretty is Kelly Bishop's
- [quote]Suprising that Barbra Streisand didn't record What I Did For Love. No one had a major pop hit with it.
Dusty Townes had a big hit with "What I Did for Love, I Now Do for 50."
- [quote]Did she just sort of "Liza" her way through CHICAGO or was she able to match Rivera and Verdon as a dancer?
Well, she did do the cartwheel at the end of "Hot Honey Rag."
- Liza danced her ass off in her concerts... she was quite good and yes, she did keep up with Chita when she went in CHICAGO.
- Susan Stroman talks about what a great dancer L*I*Z*A was in that long BroadwayWorld interview posted earlier in this thread. Stroman choreographed both the SONDHEIM Carnegie Hall concert and LIZA AT RADIO CITY for Liza in 1992.
- R156-158 & R160: You need to calm down, dear.
- And you, dear  need to fuck off and die.
- "Liza prided herself on her dancing and her dance training and often referred to herself as a dancer."
God, I'm a dancer!
- Cher would've been a great Cassie.
- DL fave and mean fuck-thrower Jack Noseworthy was in the last Broadway cast, anyone know who he played? I saw it, and don't remember him, he wasn't on anyone's radar yet.
- Dolly Parton would have made a great Val.
- I used to work with a woman who was in the replacement cast with Bebe. She said Bebe was aloof and didn't socialize with anyone else in the cast. At one point she came down with the flu and was out for awhile - she called my workmate to come help her out because she had no other friends (and this woman never considered her a friend either).
- Cher could've played ALL the parts - now, that would've been a movie.
- Bebe's just radiates the cuntiness that is she when she gallantly strides down the caverned mean streets of Manhattan. I had to get the hell out the way!
- I've been watching Wesley Taylor's new web series and every time Alison Fraser shows up, I keep wondering if her character is inspired in any way by Bebe Neuwirth.
- I had a friend who was in the cast of the musical version of Skin of Our Teeth at the Signature in VA years ago and before she quit the show Bebe said to the director "I wouldn't cross the street to spit on you."
- Neuwirth is the cuntyest cunt whoever cunted!
- R173- I just checked my copy of THE LONGEST LINE: Broadway's Most singular Sensation: A CHORUS LINE by Gary Stevens & Alan George; Applause Books@1995
Jack Noseworthy played Mark.
by the way, this book is the greatest history of all facts about ACL. It has everything from cast replacements to weekly grosses. Good pictures too.
- 2 things.
1) Saw the original cast. I remember there were many standouts - Donna, Kay Cole, Kelly Bishop. Bob LuPone was very hot at the time. I was incredibly moved by the Paul monologue. Moved and empowered in a way. We all stayed up all night and talked about it, Wonderful memory.
2) The worst behavior I have ever seen from a celebrity was Bebe SCREAMING at a waitress in Tea in Sympathy in the Village. Terrible woman.
- [quote]DL fave and mean fuck-thrower Jack Noseworthy
what is a fuck-thrower?
- an energetic top.
- Could Kay Cole not act? She sang better than Lopez and McKechnie
- Cole could act. (I think, I was a kid at the time) She played Madame Thenadier in the original LA Les Mis opposite Gary Beach (they spoke to my class)
- But Cole never did Broadway again, did she?
- (R157) The blonde Sheila was Kathyrnann Wright who replaced Kelly Bishop. First time I saw the show I was sitting in the first row and she was beyond gorgeous (MARY!) Fosse had just raided the ACL cast for Dancin' so they just lost Vicki F, Chris Chadman, Sandhal and a bunch of others. Candace Tovar was Cassie and she was lovely.
And, can we give a special shoutout to Eivund Harum who played Zach forever and just oozed sexiness even in that horrible puke colored Zach costume.
- not Broadway. she did off-Broadway (played Lucy in Snoopy)
She directs and choreographs a lot in LA theatre and looks like she's done some TV: she was cast in the Mothers-In-Law pilot apparently according to IMDB.
- I think Kay Cole played Morales at one point. That seemed to be one of the more difficult roles to cast. Barbara Luna was first replacement for Lopez and Bennett got rid of her fast. I saw Tracy Shayne play it and she was about as Puerto rican as Gwennie Paltrow.
- What did Clive Die Of?
Saw him less than a year before he passed and he looked HOT!
- MORE BEBE BASHING!!!!!
A friend told me that Bebe refuses to do Sunday evening performances. When she was in Fosse she skipped the Sunday evening show and when Chicago was thinking of adding a Sunday evening performance Bebe made it clear that she wouldn't be there.
Also, she hated Damn Yankees. When she made an appearance on Rosie during the run, Rosie held up a playbill from the show and Bebe grabbed it and put it face down on Rosie's desk. Didn't even show up for the goodbye party the show gave her after her last performance.
Oh, and anyone who saw Ute Lemper in the Chicago knows who the superior Velma Kelly is.
- [quote]Also, she hated Damn Yankees. When she made an appearance on Rosie during the run, Rosie held up a playbill from the show and Bebe grabbed it and put it face down on Rosie's desk. Didn't even show up for the goodbye party the show gave her after her last performance.
true EXCEPT it was during the run of Chicago. Rosie used to get Playbills for all the shows her guest had been in. When she held up Damn Yankees Bebe kind of murmured something and picked up the Chicago Playbill and covered the Damn Yankees one with that and said "that's better."
- that's funny r183. I refer to Jack Noseworthy as The Tapdancing Man-Child.
- Bebe Neuwirth is a cunt. Actress Bellamy Young, now on the ABC series SCANDAL (The First Lady) accidentally stepped on Bebe's foot backstage at the Lincoln Center concert version of SWEET CHARITY. You have never heard such howling and cuss words all directed at Bellamy. Bebe practically did the "You'll never work in this town again!" speil. It was terrible.
- re: Noseworthy - which character is Mark?
- Kay Cole had been appearing in Bway musicals for nearly 15 years before ACL came around.
- Kay Cole as the Guest Star on Carol Burnett.
- Mark is the youngest boy who sings about VD
Ha Ha Jack Young Ha Ha
- Kay Cole was also in the original version of THE PARENT TRAP as one of the girls who shared a cabin with Sharon McKendrick (the twin from Boston.)
- Other than TV, the only thing I've seen Jack Noseworthy in is "Sweet Smell of Success."
- I saw the original show so many times with so many casts, I lost count. I saw the OBC on Broadway in January of 1976 and saw it several times in LA and NY. As stated above, Vicki Frederick was really unforgettable as Cassie for one simple reason: The hair. It was an incredible "Mary" moment, when the mirrors turned and Vicki suddenly pulled her hair from a tight ponytail and her auburn hair looked like it exploded from a cannon. As a dancer, she was adequate but her smoking meant she didn't have the endurance for the ending sequences. Watch the record breaking performance of MATM and you can see Frederick still rocks the long hair like no one else. She married often and well. She's now a VERY rich woman in Brentwood.
Kathryn Wright has done some directing and choreographing here in LA. I believe she's married or was married to the guy from "It's a Living." Too lazy to look it up. In LA, Sheila was played by Charlene Ryan, straight from "Go to Hell Kitty" in "Chicago." Bennett reportedly fashioned parts of Sheila on Ryan and her larger than life performance worked for the cavernous Shubert Theater in Century City, now defunct. Ryan really put the screws on Zach and challenged him, sexually. Charlene fell in with the Playboy mansion crowd, got breast implants and also married well. Don't know what became of her.
- [quote]Kathryn Wright has done some directing and choreographing here in LA. I believe she's married or was married to the guy from "It's a Living." Too lazy to look it up
I think that is Murphy Cross (the Judy I saw on a field trip...I used to follow the casts careers--geeky I know). She married the guy who played the piano on It's a Living. They showed up on the Tonys a few years ago as producers of something.
- Being in the movie was like a ticket to obscurity...did anybody ever work again?
- Alyson Reed (Cassie) did Broadway. Sally Bowles in the 1987 revival of CABARET. Lots of summer stock. DO I HEAR A WALTZ? at Pasadena Playhouse which was recorded. Did a show for the Roundabout IT'S A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING, played the drama teacher in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, parts on PARTY OF FIVE, CSI, LAW & ORDER and more recently, MAD MEN as the mother of Joan's husband. Teaches drama in California.
- Audrey Landers continued to work steadily, as does Terrence Mann (hubby of Charlotte D'Ambose who played Cassie on Broadway)
- Terrence Mann is nominated for a Tony right now as Charlemagne in the Pippin revival.
He originated lead roles on Broadway in Les Miz (Javert), Cats (Rum Tum Tigger) and Beauty and the Beast (Beast) so I wouldn't say his career has suffered much.
- Music and the Mirror - Yoko Ono Cover
She really nails the backbend!
- R208....what did I just watch. wow.
- r208 gave me an idea: Yoko Obo IS Hello, Dolly!
- LOL r140
- ""According to Michael Bennett... You're going to get to know all these dancers as individuals and care about each one. Then at the very end of the play, they're going to come out in tuxedos and top hats, and you're not going to be able to tell one from another... It's going to be the most horrifying moment you will ever experience in a theatre."
This Bennett quote has always seemed weird to me, because it's not the case. Any time I've seen it, it's been clear that when each one gets their moment of removing their hat and taking their individual bow, the audience can tell who they are, because the applause and cheers are biggest for the ones with the most prominent and crowd-pleasing roles (Sheila, Val, etc.) Since the quote is in the future tense, maybe he originally wasn't planning to give them the individual bows, and then changed his mind during rehearsals or something.
I also think that, regarding the extensive discussion earlier in the thread about whether the finale is or is not authentic to the types of numbers that were in other Broadway musicals in 1975 - I think you're taking it too literally. I don't think we're supposed to think we're seeing the actual number from the show that Zach is casting - after all, Zach is dancing in it, the non-hired dancers are dancing in it, they all take individual bows - none of which would have happened in the actual production of the show. I think it's supposed to be more symbolic or something.
- I want this Cassie for the next revival
- I saw the original a few times when i was first starting out in the business and it had an incredible impact on me. I still cry at certain parts-the line up with the finalists holding their headshots in front of their faces has to be the most exciting and thrilling moment in musical theater history.
Michael Stuart, the original Greg Gardner became a producer with Nine but sadly passed away. I was obsessed for some reason with one of the cut girls in the opening. Chrissy Wilzack- long blond hair, wore a green or black leoptard. What became of her? Kay Cole was too nice of a woman to become successful in the business. I think Kelly had the most success of the originals. Is Ronnie Dennis still alive? They all have to be in their mid to late 60's by now. Wow.
- [quote]I saw the original a few times when i was first starting out in the business and it had an incredible impact on me. I still cry at certain parts-the line up with the finalists holding their headshots in front of their faces has to be the most exciting and thrilling moment in musical theater history.
kcguy, I saw the original cast too.
- Chrissy Wilzak's biggest claim to fame was in the (1980?) Broadway musical The 1940s Radio Hour in which she played a Betty Grable clone. I think that show's failure led to her leaving the business for good. Hopefully, she married well.
Opposite her was that tall goodlooker whose name I've forgotten...Stephen something???... who also left the business soon after the show's demise to start a rather successful dairy farm.
And the lovely late Mary Cleere Haran, yet another casualty of the show.
Anyone else remember The 1940s Radio Hour? I think it was William Ivey Long's first Broadway credit.
- [quote]Kay Cole was too nice of a woman to become successful in the business. I think Kelly had the most success of the originals.
- I don't know....I did a musical with Kay Cole in the mid-80s and she was pretty dreary on stage and off.
- [quote]Chrissy Wilzack- long blond hair, wore a green or black leoptard. What became of her?
I remember seeing her in The 1940's RADIO HOUR but don't recall anything else she has done.
- R214- Crissy Wilzak. Her Broadway credits. She was on the TV series Mork and Mindy. Must have gotten married. Her last name is now Wilzak-Comstock.
retired from the business?
- I wanted to see it when I visited NYC a million years ago. It was sold out. The only thing we could get tickets for was "A Matter of Gravity" with Katherine Hepburn and a very young Christopher Reeve. So that is what we saw.
- Have to say the best Sheila I saw was Jane Summerhays who played it directly after Bishop on Bwy and also in London.
She was fantastic. Great dancer. Acted after ACL in non-musicals.
- What happened to Sammy Williams?
- He retired from show business
- He was in the recent LA run of Follies
- My wake up call to how cruel show business can be happened when I saw Tony award winning Sammy Williams working in a card store in West Hollywood in the late 70's.
- R180, how the fuck DARE you???!!!!!
- Does Robert LuPone sound at all like Patti when he sings?
He doesn't look very much like her.
- true, r226, but you have to put it in context. The performers in the original company of A Chorus Line were instant mega celebrities of the moment. Famous people visited them backstage, they were requested at every party. Everyone wanted anything connected to the biggest musical since....
However, from the standpoint of a career as an actor many of these performers were primarily dancers and didn't really have acting [and in some cases singing] chops.
If I recall what happened with Sammy, he won the Tony, moved to LA and at some point realized that whatever anyone said, there wasn't much work for a gay man with a Tony award from a Broadway musical in which he played a gay Broadway dancer.
The business was every bit as homophobic as it is today and if you think about it what parts could he really be considered for? Could he compete with actors whose focus and main talent was acting not dancing or singing for TV roles.
I seem to recall he said as much and bowed out of the business.
Carol Bishop, Jane Summerhays, BeBe have done legit non musical work but they are the exception.
Donna has done plenty of stuff but she really was first and foremost a dancer not an actress.
Robert LuPone has had a non musical career as well and is a co-producer of MCC. He used to resemble Patti and was quite handsome as a younger man. Haven't seen him in person since the mid 80's when he was still in and out of ACL.
It was quite a mindfuck for many of the dancers in that show to become overnight sensations, invited everywhere, wanted everywhere and then boom it was over. It was the SHOW people wanted to rub up against, necessarily anyone specific in it.
- R229, Several older friends said that it was HAIR all over again. A lot of young performers got their equity cards to do A CHORUS LINE and then found that they could not get work (or could not keep work) because they did not have the experience and proper work habits. Doing one show on Broadway does not make you a seasoned performer.
- Didn't Bennett rip the idea for A Chorus Line off from someone else? I remember hearing this pretty recently.
- Yes r 230, HAIR created a very similar scenario. Same thing happened to many of those kids, some of whom were very talented but didn't have the staying power or discipline for a career after. The stage manager from HAIR had plenty of stories.
I think many ACL people were much more disciplined than the majority of the "kids" in HAIR but their skill were specific to Broadway dancing and more often than not, not actors really.
- He ripped the title off. I forget what it was, but some playwright Bennett was somehow associated with had a play called "A Chorus Line" that was about something totally different, but Bennett convinced him to change the title of his play to something else so he could have ACL for himself.
- It was shitty of Bennett to split 1% ownership of the show among a certain number of the dancers, once the show became a phenomenon.
The short black guy from the OBC said in 1990 that he had only made about 900 dollars in total from royalties.
- The playwright was was George Furth. His play was produced under a different title. The play was a series of vignettes that had nothing to do with theater.
- Robert LuPone was hot. Whose had him?
- James Lipton (Inside Actors Studio) sued Bennett because he had pitched an idea earlier about a musical taking place in a group therapy session.
It was settled out of court. But Lipton has had so many flop musicals to his credit. He never had a hit.
- I was in my 20's when I saw ACL on Broadway with the original cast. Didn't understand Morales' song "Nothing" until I was in my 40's and someone who'd been mean to me at work died. "At The Ballet" also has more resonance for me now.
- But why couldn't Pam Blair make a go of it with her comic timing, perky face, tits and ass? She would have been a natural for a 1970s sit-com, at the very least.
I believe she now sells real estate somewhere in NJ.
But then Broadway is littered with talented stars like Faith Prince, John Lloyd Young and others, who have had trouble staying in the spotlight in any medium.
- Because her tits weren't very big.
- And completely out of proportion....
- R239, She made some bad choices. She was a featured player in "Best Little Whorehouse" and left (while still in rehearsals?) to do the flop musical "King of Hearts" as the female lead. She was also involved with that Red headed director (I am drawing a blank on his name.) I think he had a bit of a Svengali thing going with her, which affected her career.
- Don Scardino, her leading man in King of Hearts. Now a hack TV director.
- R243 and her ex-husband
- Ugh, lead? No wonder it bombed. I wonder if it has any promise at all? I like the movie.
- Pam Blair was a riot on the Johnny Carson show (I think she was on twice while the show was in LA). I really thought she'd have a decent career.
Didn't she stay with Whorehouse til it opened on broadway? She's on the cast recording.
- I bet Clive Clerk was a really hot lay and easily the most sought-after male cast member. I wonder which stars he counted as his sex partners during that time. Maybe Calvin Klein? John Travolta?
- Clive was hot - I would've done him...
- Has anyone seen the new London production? Some of the clips are on YouTube but they're performing the opening on the tackiest TV set so it's a bit jarring.
- Jessica Simpson as Cassie, a high school production.
- Just saw the London production.
First of all, it's the first Chorus Line I've seen on stage - I've only seen clips of the show prior to that.
That said, I enjoyed it. It's not brilliant. I loved several of the cast: the Maggie (Vickie Lee Taylor) is a worthy successor to Kay Cole, as is Daisy Maywood (who looks like a mini-Cate Blanchett) as Bebe.
I liked others, with reservations: Victoria Hamilton-Barrit (Morales) acted well and has real presence, but her voice is a letdown. She's more suited to singing Peggy Lee-type stuff (sultry, with a limited range). Otherwise, the singing was very good - better overall than the OBC.
Scarlett Strallen sings like a dream (more gifted than McKechnie in that department) and her acting was good. However, she didn't seem quite "on it" in Music And The Mirror, and I found myself appreciating her facial expressions more than her dance movements. Dancewise, she didn't perform to the level of McKechnie, or, say, Jessica Lee Goldyn. However, I should note that it was a two-show day.
The rest of the cast were fine with the exception of the Val and the Mark. The Val decided or was directed to say nearly everything with a phony starlet perkiness and an ever-present self-satisfied smile and tone. She even said the line about twirling a baton in the rain for hours with the same perkiness, which didn't make sense to me - it didn't come across as a joking tone.
The Mark was miscast. When dancing, he had a constant "Ain't I shit hot?!" expression on his face, which didn't tally with the mild-mannered Paul. More importantly he wasn't effeminate... at all. Obviously, effeminate guys can dial down the flame, but the complete lack of it undercut the effectiveness of his entire performance - the high school stuff, his drag career, the distance between him and his father... [Edit: the Mark was an understudy, not the regular performer, unlike the Val].
To change tack from criticising poor swings, I did feel that several members of the cast had a tendency to not let the dialogue "breathe", which led to several lines not really landing, even those of Olivier Award Winner Leigh Zimmerman's Sheila (i.e. most of her pre-At The Ballet lines). Perhaps there was a little too much "performing"/lack of spontaneity and not enough being.
Also, several of the lyrics got lost - I guess a sound design problem, or perhaps the huge Palladium...
- PS, I loved James T Lane as Richie. Lovely voice, great looking and charismatic. It was a shame his role is so small.
- Clerk played Zach to the end of the LA run and I think he was the best Zach I'd seen. Certainly the most charismatic. Unfortunately, he had the ultra wimpy Pamela Peadon as his Cassie (Michael Bennett referred to her as his TV Movie Cassie).
And when they rethink this show, how about redoing "Music and the Mirror". It was always a crashing bore and it makes little sense within the framework of the show. The previews had it as a number where four of the boys come out and dance the number with her, sort of like Cassie is imagining the shows that she stopped. With her alone, it's just a very long number of running, posing and arm waving.
- [quote]it's just a very long number of running, posing and arm waving.
Isn't it just Tick-Tock 2.0?
- Mckechnie admitted that she did the choreography for MATM not Bennett who didn't have time to fix the number before they started previews so that's why it's so lousy. The number slighly resembles TT but that one at least comes to a crashing finish, which MATM does not.
- Can't believe you people think that McKechnie dancing the "Music and the Mirror" choreography was boring or lousy - I think it's some of the most exciting show dancing I've ever seen!
- MATM is one of the longest, most boring numbers ever perpetrated on an audience. It brings the show to a grinding halt. No one has ever pulled it off, and that includes McKechnie whose career consisted entirely of layouts and head bops.
- "Twigs" which won Sada Thompson a Tony was the play that was first called "A Chorus Line"
r251's review of the current London revival is quite accurate.
I'd add the regular Mark is quite good. Kind of a sweet off-beat innocent type who actually makes the part funny which I'd never seen before. He's kind of quirky and really does well leading the threading the needle dance moment.
Victoria Hamilton-Barrit sings well but has no concept of what a Puerto Rican person sounds likes. (and seems to make Diana kind of butcher than I've usually seen her played)
Strallen is complex and does a great acting job and makes Cassie really seem to have a tremendous amount on her mind even in the beginning. John Partridge(spelling?) is really hammy so Strallen's icey blondness adds an interesting layer...like she sees through his stuff finally. This was the first time I could understand how McKecnie got a lead Tony. After the show I really was struck how much of the show(or this production at least) belonged to Cassie.
But the big thing is this production is sooooo much better than the NY revival....I was very happy for that.
- one more thing about Strallen...she conveys a real intelligence which makes all the stuff Cassie spouts at the end about why she left LA and wants to return to the chorus etc. seem like genuine hard won insight. She really earns her spot at the end and seems to teach Zach and us a lot about life. I was impressed.
Regarding the Paul: I thought his toned down approach worked well. That monologue/character has gotten a bad wrap in recent years about being cliched and dated. His lesser approach worked for me and he came across much less self-pitying and overwrought (which while normal for the seventies era is frowned upon nowadays)
- Wayne Cilento has done very well for himself despite the fact that he is a nasty ugly son of a bith with bad hairplugs. Another zillionaire thanks to Wicked residuals. The one who should have made it was Nancy Lane who was hysterical and sweet as sugar. Oh well.
- [quote] MATM is one of the longest, most boring numbers ever perpetrated on an audience
Which Richard Attenborough agreed, replacing it with "Let Me Dance For You" in the movie.
- Denise Pence (Katie Guiding Light) still receives residuals from A Chorus Line.
She and her hubby are the real-life couple portrayed in the show.
- [quote]MATM is one of the longest, most boring numbers ever perpetrated on an audience.
Guess you've never seen "A Little Night Music" or "Sunday In the Park With George" or "Passion" or...
- I first saw this show in 1977 in London, and it was love at first sight. You have to remember it was the 1970's, so the dialogue and subject was quite shocking then, which made this a warmly welcomed diversion. I saw it as often as I could, 14 in all, in London, on Broadway, and in touring companies. I didn't see any of the revivals, because I didn't want to tarnish the memories of the original. My favorite character is Sheila. Some of the best lines ever:
Zach: Sheila, do you know the combination?
Sheila: I knew it when I was in the front...
Sheila: Darling, I can tell you now, your father went through life with an open fly.
Sheila: Can the adults please smoke?
Sheila: God, when it's over do I need a drink!
And, my favorite:
Cassie: Does anybody have a Darvon or a Valium?
Sheila: I do ...
- MATM is the low point of the show. Good time for a snooze. Good thing it is at the end. In fact the whole Cassie thing is a bore. The individual stories other than hers are the best part of the show.
- I'm surprised by the criticism of Music And The Mirror. I think it's a stunning number.
- Who wrote Sheila's lines?
- [R178] "I've been watching Wesley Taylor's new web series and every time Alison Fraser shows up, I keep wondering if her character is inspired in any way by Bebe Neuwirth."
I know for a fact Wesley based Alison's character on Beebs. My friend was in the ensemble of Addams Family and said she would make him buy her photographs and that she had a strange inclination towards him.
- One of the many times I saw A CHORUS LINE revival, I went an All-You-Can-Drink brunch before and had to pee. I took the opportunity during Paul's monologue. When I went to the back of the theater, there was Mario Lopez exercising and not paying attention to Paul in the slightest. Found it very strange and unprofessional. People could clearly see him.
- Yeah, "Let Me Dance For You" - there's a tune I can't get out of my head.
- Let Me Dance For You
Let me try
Let me dance for you
We made a lot of music dancing
You and I
- I remember early in the broadway run the flu hit the cast hard and, for whatever reason, there weren't enough understudies. These days there are 2 or 3 covers for roles in musicals but, back then, it was just one and that person sometimes understudied more than one role.
So, for a few performances, the role of Sheila was eliminated completely (Bishop and McKechnie had the same u/s) and there were so many other cast members out that they didn't have enough dancers to cut in the opening number (all of those dancers were understudies and had moved into featured roles).
I can't imagine why a hit musical with a huge advance didn't just hire more understudies.
- How did they improvise the show without a major character? Did Cassie do At the Ballet? Sounds like a myth to me.
Have you seen the show? It's very much an ensemble. The individual stories/rememberances interweave.
- Donna Drake was interviewed and said that the understudies who covered more than one role were sometimes speaking to themselves on the dates where everyone was sick. "At the Ballet" was done as a duet.
And "Let Me Dance For You" was one of three songs written for Cassie, the others being MATM and "Inside the Music" which McKechnie performs in her nightclub act. Who cares because the entire concept is a sham. Bennett didn't even care enough to fix the number, the way he said he was going to and the sheep stood and applauded anyways.
- The London revival is closing in August after a disappointing run.
- That's not surprising. The London Palladium is massive. And every person I told about the show hadn't heard of it, nor of any of the songs.
- London audiences still have not forgiven Michael Bennett for firing their local girl Elizabeth Seal in favor of Michael Bennett girlfriend.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
Seems like the bad reviews may spare us over here.
- It's the book and score's fault, not Mendes'.
- Well, if they can do this show with a junior high cast, I suppose they can do it with half the cast missing.
- Saw the Original Labor Day weekend 1975. It was a wonderful show- one of the best. Period. One of the first shows to deal with life on Broadway as it really was- gay stuff and all. Very funny, and if you were young, very relevant.
- My friends and I (yes we are show queens) always ask "if you could an opening night of any show in Broadway history, which would it be?"
Mine is always A Chorus Line.
- [quote]My friends and I (yes we are show queens) always ask "if you could an opening night of any show in Broadway history, which would it be?"
For me it would have to be "West Side Story" or "Gypsy". I find "A Chorus Line" horribly over-rated.
How was Kelly Bishop in the original cast of ACL?
- I'd pick FOLLIES.
- I saw the very first performance of ACL at The Public. I still have the sheet of paper with the cast and song list. They didn't even have playbills ready....though I think back in those days, The Public often just gave you a sheet of paper for a program.
I had a dancer bf back then who had heard rumors about the show and we easily got tickets as no one knew anything about it yet.
It was beyond sensational, of course! What I remember most was Cassie getting her own late entrance in a fur chubbie, silk slacks and one of those circular small suitcases women often carried back then as an overnight bag. She apologized for being late to the audition because of her delayed flight from the coast.
- R286 Interesting that they cut Cassie's late entrance from the show but used it for the crappy movie.
- REMAKE THIS FUCKING MOVIE
- They'd be better just to film the stage show.
- Why not? They filmed the stage version of Company?
They did film stage versions (two) and a staged concert version.
- Going back a bit to the discussion of understudies, Patti d'Beck told me once that she (a swing and dance captain) had to go on for "Cassie" one night with like 10 minutes notice. She wore the cranberry leotard and dance skirt, but the only t-strap character shoes available were 2 or 3 sizes too small. She did the whole show in those shoes and it was agony after the show (she didn't think about during the performance, because there was too much other stuff to think about just trying to get through it!).
- Is the London production still running? Any comments?
- The London production is closing in about two weeks - about four months earlier than planned.
- Can anyone tell me if Caneron Mason (may he rest in peace), the original Mark, was gay?
- yes r295 it says in one of the books that he refused to go to LA and stayed on Bway because he didn't want to leave a boyfriend
- How sweet. Thanks!
- London revival closed tonight.
- Does anyone have any news on upcoming productions?
- R299, There's a really wonderful production of "A Chorus Line" going on right now at the Olney Theater in Olney, Maryland (outside of D.C.) I was lucky enough to catch a performance last Friday. The cast was sensational. You could tell that they'd done a lot of work to establish certain relationships between the dancers that shined through. It never felt like a collection of random dancers, each in their own separate little orbits which I thought was a really wise choice. The "Sheila" stole the show (she had the perfect mix of bravado and vulnerability and also happened to be gorgeous). They also had the best Paul I have ever seen.
The only downside was a noticeably paunchy Larry. But if you 're in the area, I would absolutely check it out.
- Olney Theater? Is this the original staging?
- Yes, it's the original staging. But I think there were some newly choreographed sequences. For example, "Montage Part 3: Mother" seemed like new staging to me (and was quite effective). Olney Theater is full of blue-haired fraus in the audience, but the production really was superb.
You take after your father's side of the family...the UGLY side
- R292 God Bless Patti d'Beck. What a pro. I saw her play Morales in ACL and she was wonderful.
- I remember cute, young, Jack Noseworthy on a " Nightline" interview, when the show finally closed. Just saw his stats, and pics recently , and he's almost 45, and looks crinkly. Still think he's hot, but man, time zips by.
- Vicki Frederick just disappeared after the ACL movie. Well, can't say that I blame her but, still, why didn't she end up play Roxie in Chicago or sumpin?
- Jack Noseworthy may have been young but he was never cute.
- R306 is a bitter, entitled, unfunny Mary Testa.
- Vicki Fredrick has a bunch of really shlocky sounding credits post-ACL: Chopper Chicks in Zombietown; Stewardess School