UCONN SETS “A CHORUS LINE” KICKING STRONG AND HIGH


BONNIE GOLDBERG

5, 6, 7, 8 and step, kick, kick, touch, pivot, step, combination, and smile. Grab your leggings and leotard and join the group of hopefuls as they audition for a new Broadway musical.  With pleas to God to help them "get this job," watch a talented troupe of Connecticut Repertory Theatre stars recreate the magic of "A Chorus Line" at the Jorgensen Theater until Saturday, June 14.

If you have ever put your heart on the line, whether it’s to make the cut for a baseball league, earn a part in a high school musical, a spot on the cheer leading squad or a place in the school band, you know the fear and excitement that fills you as your turn in the spotlight comes. If the tryout, interview or audition is for employment, then the stakes are ratcheted up a few hundred notches.

Imagine “So You Think You Can Dance” meeting The Miss America Pageant and you have an idea of the message in “A Chorus Line,” a musical that has garnered nine Tony Awards, five Drama Desks as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This long running musical will be kicking up its classy heels at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre as part of its 2014 Nutmeg Summer Series until Saturday, June 14. It will be followed by "The Sunshine Boys" by Neil Simon, June 19-29 and "Gypsy" July 10-20. What a series!

Conceived in 1974 by Michael Bennett, with book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban and choreography by Michael Bennett and Bob Avian, “A Chorus Line” takes you directly into the hearts, minds and pits of the stomach of seventeen wannabe Broadway dancers at one of the most important auditions of their young careers.

Come meet Amandina Altomare as Judy, Joey Barreiro as Paul, Brandon Beaver as Frank, Gabriel Bernal as Al, Johnny Brantley II as Richie, Stephen Brower as Greg, Kristin Devine as Val, julia Estrada as Tricia, Lori Ann Ferreri as Cassie, Luke Hamilton as Don, Khetanya Henderson as Kristine, James Jelkin as Butch, Devin Johnson as Mark, Sean Jones as Larry, Ethan Kasnett as Bobby, Angela Millin as Bebe, Alannna Saunders as Diana, Ian Saunders as Mike, Kyle Schoeplein as Roy, Emily Kay Shrader as Maggie, Riza Takahashi as Connie, Annie Wallace as Sheila and Gianna Yanelli as Vikki and Swing.

These hopefuls not only have to prove they can strut and kick, they must also reveal themselves. Brassy or bubbly, insecure or comic, they are asked by the director Zach (Nick Lawson) to tell all about their background, family, hopes, dreams and fears. In the process, we learn who they are as the eager seventeen, who have already been hand picked from hundreds, are whittled down to the fortunate eight, the four boys and four girls who will comprise the chorus line of the brand new show. You’ll find yourself rooting for your personal favorites to make the cut.

For tickets ($10-43), call the Nafe Katter Theatre box office at 860-486-2113 or online at www.crt.uconn.edu.  Performances are Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Join the millions from Sweden to Switzerland to Singapore, Argentina to Australia to Austria, Norway to the Netherlands to New Zealand, who have thrilled at the transformation of a handful of really, really wannabes into “singular sensations."

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