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A Chorus Line Forum


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Quique wrote:
teapot wrote:
I just found out that the Tour will be in Palm Springs in the next season, and I am trying to make sure I will be well enough to go... again.


Really?? I'm there.

Teapot, we have to see it together!!

My only fear is that the tour goes non-equity by the time it reaches Palm Springs. I've seen two tours in the past (a West Side Story and ACL '97 tour) turn to sh*t after having gone non-equity. Left me traumatized, lol.

The ACL one did the unforgivable--they SYNTHESIZED the brass. I...*died*


January 7, 8, and 9 at the McCallum. They are usually full orchestra and equity, aren't they?


Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:42 pm
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Most equity tours play week-long engagements at minimum. Anything less is usually indicative of a non-equity production but that's mostly true of bigger shows.

I was worried at first but looking at the current tour schedule on the official site, the tour has played three-day engagements before. I guess that's feasible with a show that hardly even has a set. =)

As for the orchestra, that depends on the length of the run and not so much the theatre. I'm not sure what the current Equity requirements are but when Les Mis was on the road, Equity required the hiring of local musicians to supplement the touring orchestra (which is usually reduced by cutting the string section and replacing it with keyboards) for engagements longer than 2 weeks. But then again, the final L.A. Les Mis engagement at the Pantages in 2006 was less than 2 weeks and they hired local musicians but I've always assumed that was because it was the final engagement, which is probably wrong, lol.

As long as there is a real brass section in the pit, I'll be OK. :mrgreen: Without real brass, the show sounds like sh*t. That section creates the show's most prominent sound.

It's also going to Sacramento soon. I noticed whenever a tour comes to California, it usually ends up swinging by SoCal, as well. I hope it makes another L.A. engagement so I could see it four times in one week like last time, hehe!

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Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:48 pm
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To answer your questions:

I only said Wicked because so many people dislike it for the many reasons that they do. My remark was really saying that while Wicked isn't the best show ever, I would prefer it than ACL.

I too didn't know much about it going in. I knew the general plot, though no specifics. I knew there was virtually no set. I knew as much as the Tony performances showed me, so those were the only songs I knew. I think part of the let down was that it had run for 15 years and so many held it in such high regard. I knew it wasn't going to be extravogent like Wicked. But having heard all of these raves of the show, I was just waiting to be blown away by SOMETHING, and for me it just didn't happen. The one part that I really, truly loved as a good piece of theatre/performance was the guy who didn't want to answer his questions in front of the group, and had the big monologue/diologue with the director while the others were taking a break. That part was really well done IMO.

And I set fourth row of the Mezz.

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Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:57 pm
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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

The national tour is making an unexpected LOS ANGELES engagement!!

*die*

It's playing June 1-13 at the cavernous Pantages Theatre! Tickets currently on pre-sale at Ticketmaster (use code P1PRE). I purchased a ticket immediately and got row E, Orch RC, seat 209 for 3 June @ 8p.m.

I wasn't expecting it to come so soon!!

I'm SOOOOOOOOO HAAAAPPYYYYYYYY. :mrgreen::shock:

*dies again*

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Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:49 pm
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Just got back from a performance at the Pantages. A review to follow shortly!

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Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:08 pm
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I know I haven't written a review but I recently found out that L.A. is the final stop for this national tour. It will then re-open in October as a non-Equity tour.

If you're near the L.A. area and have NOT seen this show, get yer butt to the Pantages this instant!!!! You don't want to miss it and this cast is wonderful. Strongest dancing I've ever seen.

And the orchestra is nice and BIG.

EDIT: Review is beloooow. =D>

--------------------------------------------------------------------------


What: National tour of A Chorus Line.

When: Thursday, 3 June, 2010 @ 8 p.m.

Where:
    Pantages Theatre
    Los Angeles, CA

    Orchestra, right-center
    Row E, seat 209

This was performance #13 for me, after having previously attended 12 performances of various productions over 13 years. This cast gave one of the strongest dancing performances I've ever seen in any musical, but their acting was a mixed bag.

After settling into my seat, I did the usual once-over of the orchestra listing inside my Playbill. I've included a comprehensive listing of the orchestra for this engagement at the end of this review.

The opening number had an electricity I've never seen before, thanks to this cast's incredible dancing. The original tour cast I saw in 2008 did a great job but they were more self-conscious, it seemed, as their steps were somewhat mechanical. This cast danced with a real sense of desperation, aggression, they were even manic at times. It was never messy or half-assed. In fact, I'd say it was as impressive as the OBC's 1975 Tony Awards performance.

The casting of Derek Hanson as Zach was at first surprising considering more mature gentleman are traditionally cast in the role. Mr. Hanson is the quintessential stud muffin, complete with bulging biceps and glutes to match. He even donned a new costume, no doubt given to him to show off his muscular assets. It was very similar to what was given to Mario Lopez--another beefcake--when he took on the same role on Broadway. I was at first wary of this unusual casting choice, but Mr. Hanson not only danced with a professionalism you'd expect from Zach, his acting was spot on. When Cassie comments on how much he gets off on working, his "Yes, I guess I do" response is completely believable, even chilling. Best Zach I've ever seen.

Other standouts include Selina Verastigui as Diana Morales, Hilary Michael Thompson as Kristine Uric, Ashley Yeater as Sheila Bryant, Catherine Ricafort as Connie Wong, Kristen Martin as Val, and Rebecca Riker as Cassie.

While this group offered outstanding moves, the same can't be said about their singing. Although, I must say that all but one weren't unbearable to listen to. These flaws consisted of minor things such as the occasional off-key to strange tones. Unless you require perfect singing, it shouldn't ruin the performance.

Of those that were less than skilled, Nicky Vendetti's Paul was the most difficult to get through. Thankfully, the character only has two very short instances of singing in the show. It must be said that he first sings right after a physically taxing number. I'd say one of the most taxing in all of musical theatre and this singing takes place only moments after his turn doing that crazy jazz combination (which he does spectacularly). Still, his vocals during Paul's "Who am I, anyway..." were so off-key, I cringed and sunk into my seat. Thankfully, the only other time he sings--during "Hello Twelve"--was very, very good. It was almost hard to believe it was the same guy who warbled through his lines at the top of the show. His acting choices were interesting ones, to say the least. He was absolutely wonderful up until his big monologue, which he delivered in a very sarky fashion. Whether or not it was his intention isn't clear, but it worked for about a minute, then you wondered what was up with the attitude. Then that gave way to "Omg, can you please stop delivering each line exactly the same way?" He does eventually stop that and delivers the remaining portion beautifully. Then it all goes sour again when he begins to cry, well, because it's incredibly fake. He's the first Paul I've seen that doesn't actually cry at the end. And, no, I don't expect them all to really cry but his shoulders bouncing up and down and startled-sounding gasps pulled me out of the scene. Despite all this, I went away liking his Paul more than disliking him. His voice and acting choices may have been poor at moments, but his performance was good overall.

I must say a word about Rebecca Riker as Cassie--dynamite!!!

Back when I saw this show for the first time, our Cassie--Jill Slyter--brought the house down with her heart-stopping "Music and the Mirror." Next time I saw the show, we had an understudy who did a good job but failed to impress us as much as Ms. Slyter did. I wouldn't see another woman dance that number like Jill did that first time. In fact, I had begun to question myself and think I was merely blinded by the overwhelming impact the show itself had on me at first viewing. But I'm not the sort of person who gets easily blinded by anything. Come on, look how nit-picketty I am! LOL.

And I was right, because Ms. Riker danced that number with the same power that Jill had that first time and delivered everything that every other Cassie I had seen failed to deliver. While Charlotte D'Amboise danced with precision, Rebecca seemed to think "Eff that! This is the dance of my life!!!" And, boy, did it show. The applause this number usually receives never seems very justified...until tonight. The emotion shone large across her face as she danced and her body was one with the orchestra. She seemed to actually pay attention to the music. It is, after all, about the mirror AND the music. Most other Cassies are preoccupied with the mirror aspect and seem out of touch with the music. On top of that, her dancing was such that it was entirely believable that she had "stopped two shows cold" as a featured dancer on Broadway. Truly remarkable performance.

Observations on other performers in this company:

Nathan Lucrezio was an unusual casting choice for the role of Al, whom is usually portrayed as a meat-head and "very straight." He's also assigned some of the tougher solo singing parts usually sung by golden-voiced actors. Mr. Lucrezio did a fine job but his voice didn't have the sound needed to carry this role. He was actually one of the better singers but his tone is by nature very character-like. He'd have been perfect for the over-the-top Bobby or flamboyant Greg. Al was a bit of a stretch mostly vocally, and he was obviously family, but physically he was just fine.

The remaining characters were brought to life by a mostly competent cast. The one thing that stood out was the very peculiar acting style many of them had elected to use. It was like they all went to the same schools, met with the same acting coaches, and settled on the same technique. This technique consisted of very LARGE, wavy-arms-LARGE type mannerisms and cartoonish vocal inflection. It didn't get in the way too much (I eventually got used to it after about 30 min.). Although I couldn't help but wonder what was up with the overkill? In nearly every case, there was a WTF moment involved, but as was the case with Venditti's Paul, they always seemed to lean the other way and ultimately balance things out.

The cast isn't perfect but they are never amateurish. It's easier to judge a performance based on its cumulative effect. I guess that works more in a show that is itself greater when looking at "the big picture" than when scrutinizing it under a microscope.


    A CHORUS LINE ORCHESTRA

    Conductor: PAUL McCAFFREY
    Associate Conductor / Keyboard 1: JOEY CHANCEY
    Drummer: RICK DONATO


    A CHORUS LINE LOCAL ORCHESTRA

    Alto Sax / Flute / Piccolo / Clarinet / Alto Flute: DICK MITCHELL
    Alto Sax / Flute / Piccolo / Clarinet / Bass Clarinet / Eb Clarinet: GREG HUCKINS
    Tenor Sax / Clarinet / Oboe / English Horn: JOHN YOAKUM
    Baritone Sax / Clarinet / Contrabass Clarinet / Flute / Bassoon: JOHN MITCHELL
    Trumpet / Flugelhorn: WAYNE BERGERON, LARRY HALL, WILLIE MURILLO
    Trombone: ANDREW MARTIN, ALAN KAPLAN
    Bass Trombone: CRAIG GOSNELL
    Bass / Electric Bass: DAVID STONE
    Keyboard 2: CAROL ANDERSON
    Keyboard 3: DAVID WITHAM
    Percussion: JUDITH CHILNICK

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Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:33 am
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Saw the show again on Wednesday with the sis. We sat row C, right-center orchestra, a few rows closer than last time.

Wow, wow, wow!! The cast was on fire last night, and there were some surprises, too!

I have always been interested in seeing the alternate Connie script, in which she's not Asian, hails from the South, and is named Connie McKenzie. Well, 14th time is a charm. :mrgreen:

The role was played either by Alissa Alter or Lauryn Ciardullo (not sure since they both look alike and there was no mention of an understudy on the cast board or program. It was announced right before the show) who did a fantastic job. I think it works just as well but I obviously prefer the original Connie Wong script as it's based on a real person who is still very much involved with and has contributed so much to the show--Baayork Lee.

Aaron Umsted covered for Al and I much preferred him in the role as his voice was far better suited and his take on the character was (while very straight forward and not as nuanced as a principal) more appropriate.

Correction: I had listed Hilary Michael Thompson as a standout in the role of Kristine in my previous review. Actually, I had seen understudy Kristen Paulicelli that night and saw Ms. Thompson last night. I loved the understudy's portrayal but Ms. Thompson made me and my sister laugh so much! In fact, everyone was laughing their heads off at her hilarious take on Kristine. The role is usually just annoying or quirky. Hilary actually made her funny for once and her acting choices were as fresh as they were funny. Just great.

The cartoonish acting didn't stand out this time. I think it was toned down actually. The whole performance just seemed to gel better than last week's. One of the strongest overall performances I have ever seen. Whereas the dancing took center stage last week, everything--acting, singing, DANCING--sizzled last night. For example, I liked Ashley Yeater's Sheila last week, but she really impressed me last night to the point she is probably the best I've seen in the role.

Venditti's Paul's singing at the top of the show was still cringe-worthy and his monologue was delivered in the same strange manner. My sister said she thought he should have toned it down and the abruptness of his crying pulled her out of the scene too, but she agreed that these were minor and his incredible dancing along with the good parts of his performance stood out more than his flaws.

Very much a different show than last week's. Like night and day, really. Even those who impressed me last time gave better performances last night, most notably Derek Hanson as Zach and Rebecca Riker as Cassie.

I want to go again. Hmmm, we'll see. :twisted:


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Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:36 am
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Post A CHORUS LINE - National Tour Reviews
I'm so jealous - but I've loved the reviews! So glad you've been able to go!

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Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:16 pm
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I saw the show on the 10th (I believe - can't remember if it was Wednesday or Thursday!) and agree with most of what Quique said. Overall, it was wonderful :)


Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:26 pm
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I saw it on Wednesday, the 9th and Thursday, the 3rd.

I was all ready to get me a last minute ticket to the final performance, which I stupidly assumed would take place that evening, only to see the last show would be at 1 p.m. Well, it was noon and tix were no longer available online. Grrr.

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Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:06 am
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