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New `Chorus Line' ready to kick

A preview begins in San Francisco in July. Then it's on to Broadway.

April 27, 2006|From the Associated Press

New York — THEY entered, one by one, to stand on the bare stage of the Hudson Theatre -- the new line in "A Chorus Line," the 19 performers who will appear in the first Broadway revival of the landmark Michael Bennett musical.

The production will open Oct. 5 at Broadway's Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre with preview performances beginning Sept. 18. Before New York, "A Chorus Line" will play the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, July 23 through Sept. 2.

"I love the idea that a whole new cast of characters, a whole new audience is going to see what we think is a very important and wonderful show," Marvin Hamlisch, the show's composer, said Wednesday before the cast came out on stage.

The musical, created and choreographed by Bennett from the real-life stories of chorus dancers, opened at the Public Theater on May 21, 1975, before moving to Broadway later that year. It ran for nearly 15 years, closing in 1990 after a run of 6,137 performances.

The new production will be directed by Bob Avian, the show's original co-choreographer with Bennett, and produced by John Breglio, Bennett's lawyer, business advisor and the executor of his estate. Bennett died in 1987.

"We knew that the critical issue here was to find an extraordinary cast, a cast that would reflect the message of 'A Chorus Line,' which, I believe, is of its time and timeless," Breglio said.

"We started casting last June," Avian said. "Every day was so exciting.... It was like watching the Olympics. Every year [performers] get better and better and better. That's what is happening with our show-biz talent. It was hard for us, but it was so much fun."

Among the performers chosen were Charlotte d'Amboise, who will portray Cassie, the former featured dancer now attempting a comeback in the chorus, and Michael Berresse as the director, Zach.

A whole generation of dancers has grown up since "A Chorus Line" first played Broadway, including many in this new version.

"I've never seen it, but I know it," said Natalie Cortez, talking about the original production. She will play Diana in the revival and will sing one of the show's best-known songs, "What I Did for Love."

Heather Parcells, who plays Judy in the 2006 version, also didn't see the original but she might contact Patricia Garland, who portrayed Judy in the original.

"I am sure I will pick her brain at some point," she said.

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