Arts & Entertainment Editor
On the other side of the lights in downtown Greensboro is the Community Theater of Greensboro (CTG), an intimate venue, with every seat having a perfect view.
On Saturday, CTG performed their second to last show of the musical classic, “A Chorus Line,” as part of their 68th season. A talented cast ranging from teenagers to college students and those already graduated performed a tightly-choreographed show, with finely-tuned singers.
“It [A Chorus Line] is about the unsung heroes of Broadway – the chorus line,” said the director, Philip Powell. “These little moments and bits and pieces that all come together and create a wonderful story of these background players that we wouldn’t otherwise know or hear about. It celebrates them; it celebrates their talent which is often unseen.”
The show takes place on an empty studio’s stage, as the director, Zach, played by Latimer Alexander V, weeds out which dancers are a fit for an upcoming production. Zach forces the auditionees to reveal their pasts, antagonizing some and making others break down throughout the process.
“A Chorus Line” is a musical that does not require props, making the production one seamless performance. Initially, the plot sounds stagnant, but the musical does not fit that description. As one auditionee talks about their past, the others sing in the background, sometimes with simple choreography that does not take away from the speaker’s story.
The musical beautifully intertwines humor and melancholy, and this production, though performed by many young people, still found a way to express these emotions genuinely.
A man from the Bronx and a naïve Midwestern girl made a quirky married couple auditioning together. Kristine Urich, played by Katie Bates, allowed her husband to complete her sentences. The husband, Alan DeLuca, played by Justin Marcellus, explained his wife’s lack of singing talent as the two performed the perfectly-timed song, “Sing.” Their performance required talent to make a lack of talent sound spontaneous and entertaining.
Val Clark, performed by Carlee Crawford, a woman that originally wanted to be a member of the Rockets, found out her appearance diminished any chance she had. To get any part, Val knew she needed to change her look, which resulted in her getting plastic surgery for breast and butt implants. Val sang the comical, yet sensual song “Dance: Ten, Looks: Three,” showcasing the singer’s sculpted voice while she flaunted herself across the stage.
Other fun stories were told, while underlying revelations were sporadically made.
Cassie Ferguson, played by Darby Anthony, revealed her past relationship with the director and her continuous disappointments in the dancing industry. Anthony demanded to be seen on stage as she danced, slinking backward to the floor during the song “The Music and The Mirror.” Though her dancing felt slightly stiff at times, her singing and acting made her a standout in the cast.
However, the most honest performance came from Paul San Marco, played by Kevin Ortiz, who spoke of his childhood abuse and his journey discovering his sexuality and gender fluidity. Ortiz delivered such a genuine performance, it felt as though these were real experiences that pained him to tell the audience.
This production of “A Chorus Line” singled out the characters, making each unique with different colored leotards and clothing and various voices ranging from operatic to bass vocals.
Each story illuminated the hard work and determination required in an industry fraught with competitive talents. The show ended by begging the dancers to answer the question: “What do you do when you can’t dance anymore?” A morbid thought for many in the industry, yet one not thoroughly discussed by many in other declining industries.
The CTG’s production of “A Chorus Line” undermined the expectations and stereotypes of community theater. The production showcased well-trained actors, singers and dancers, featuring a few operatic voices and honest acting skills.
The director agreed. “It is an extremely challenging show to do and this cast and crew gave it their all,” Powell said. “I think it turned out to be really wonderful.”
Others enjoyed the production as well. “I thought it was wonderful,” said audience member Regina Robertson, “I really felt for a lot of the characters.”
Though the production has come to an end, a lineup of other musical classics is on the horizon starting with “Little Shop of Horrors” playing from Oct. 27 – Nov. 12, and concluding with “The Wizard of Oz,” “Women Behind Bars,” “The Producers” and “The Little Mermaid.”
Find out a musical that interests you in the CTG’s 68th season lineup.