A Chorus Line – One Singular Sensation at the Bushnell
By Tony Schillaci and Don Church
What a perfect time for “A Chorus Line,” one of the most acclaimed and popular all-singing, all-dancing musicals in history, to be coming to The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford. It’s a welcome spring break from the current headlines and weather reports.
The winner of nine Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize will be on stage for eight performances only — March 24 through March 29.
The compelling and authentic back-stage story takes place on a bare stage in an empty theater with one breathtaking finale backdrop that always stops the show. It’s only one of the many rousing and touching show-stopping moments in this uplifting musical. And the bare stage gives the cast of seventeen dancers/singers/actors the large amount of uncluttered space that is ideal for a dancing troupe to fully express its seamless fluidity on stage.
The story, inspired by true theatrical experiences, is about the realities – some painful, some exhilarating - of auditioning - the moment performers have worked for every day of their lives - a singular opportunity to sparkle.
The other special treat in store for Hartford audiences is that the director of this national tour is Bob Avian. The original production was co- directed and co-choreographed by him and the legendary Michael Bennett in a workshop collaboration; they also co-created “Dream Girls” and “Ballroom.” Audiences will again see and feel the magic of Bob Avian’s vision for this enduring hit musical.
In this current company there are young exciting performers in the star-making roles that could again lead to major breakthrough performances as they did in 1975. One of the many well-conceived parts is a quiet, shy, introverted Puerto Rican kid named ‘Paul’ who sings “I Hope I Get It.” The character also happens to be gay, and we got an exclusive Metroline interview with the dedicated and passionate performer who won the part. He could become Broadway and Hollywood’s next singular sensation.
Kevin Santos, a young Las Vegas native, has made the role of Paul his own in this “A Chorus Line” tour. He’s getting glowing personal notices: For instance: “The innocent-faced Kevin Santos does a lovely job with the moving story of Paul, the Nuyorican boy who grew up in seedy drag shows” —Elizabeth Maupin, Orlando Sentinel. "The show’s most heart-wrenching moment comes as Paul (a superbly nuanced performance by Kevin Santos) opens up about coming to terms with his sexuality — both with himself and with his parents.” —Andrea Blum, The News Herald, Michigan.
Kevin said, “the gay character of Paul was more shocking back in 1975 than it is today, but it’s still an important part because many of the characters portrayed as ‘gay’ in recent musicals are there for comic relief.” He added, “Paul is a three-dimensional person struggling with his sexuality and his individuality.”
After speaking with this intelligent, well-focused and talented young performer and seeing him and the others Broadway babies – young men and women - perform, we immediately thought of a song in the show, “He Can Do That!”
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Published in Metroline News Magazine March 2009