The Music and the Mirror

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The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre brings ‘A Chorus Line’ to the Tarkington

Paul Nicely plays Zach, the character leading the audition

The Civic Theatre’s 2012 – 2013 season kicks off this Friday with a true Broadway classic, “A Chorus Line.” Originally produced in 1975, the show was a critical and box office hit that went on to become the sixth longest-running Broadway show in history. Telling the story of a group of dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line, it is clear to see why guest director Ron Morgan and producer Michael Lasley would have an interest in putting on the show.

Lasley

“For a lot of us in my generation, this is one of the shows, if not the show, that made us want to do this,” said Lasley, gesturing around the theater.

“Although I feel like there are many new inspirations for young performers now, I think that the show still carries all of the inspiration it always has,” said Morgan.

The inspiration seems to have also found its way into the cast who appear genuinely interested in telling a story that, in some ways, mimics their own lives.

“The actors are definitely excited about telling a real story, which they can relate to,” said Morgan. “They are really honored to be a part of this show.”

Due to “A Chorus Line” taking place almost entirely within a dance audition, there is very little in the way of a traditional set or scene changes. While this may seem like it would make the show simpler on the technical ends of things, Lasley and Morgan have found that they have simply needed to work harder on the technical aspects that are present such as lighting and sound.

Morgan

Due to the size of the Tarkington’s stage, the Civic’s production of the show will actually be somewhat larger than the original Broadway performance. The main set consists of multiple 24-foot, three-sided periactoids that rotate, allowing the entire scene to be changed with the turn of a backstage crank. With a black side, a mirrored side and a side saved for the show’s finale, the periactoids make for quite an impressive backdrop almost double the size of a standard “Chorus Line” production.

Beyond this unique background, Morgan and Lasley are quite proud of what they have been able to create within the Center’s cutting-edge facility.

“A big star of our show is the lighting. It’s just so important that the lights tell a great story, especially in a show with as little set as this. Lighting has seen a number of big technical improvements since the show was originally conceived,” said Morgan.

“We are pushing the limits of the sound system as well,” said Lasley. “The orchestra will be covered and piped in through the sound system to really create the feeling of being inside the audition space, where there wouldn’t be a full orchestra.”

With a number of professional and concert dancers in the cast, Morgan’s extensive choreography and directing background and the show’s strong technical aspects, “A Chorus Line” promises to be an impressive display of Community Theater on a scale larger than the original.

“When a theater can pull off ‘A Chorus Line’ and do it well,” said Morgan, “that’s the time to do it.”

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