By Hoo Sook Hwang
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Feb. 21, 2016) — The Ordway Center for Performing Arts is currently hosting the famous and nostalgic Broadway show, A Chorus Line. The show’s talented chorus reminds us to listen to our hearts, enjoy each moment and take risks to achieving our goals.
The original production was directed and choreographed by Michael Bennet in 1975 and premiered in New York over forty years go. However, the award winning sensation is back in the Twin Cities for a short period of time and runs through February 28th. It is already a huge success.
I was impressed by the diversity of the cast: age, race, ethnicity, gender and size. Each character shared unique narrative accounts through carefully orchestrated dance, entertaining songs and a beautiful blend of performances, which revealed that we are not alone in our struggles, hopes and dreams. Energetic performers were full of passion, as they poured their hearts into high pressure auditions, desperately hoping to be one of the eight chosen out of the original twenty-three dancers invited to try out.
Directed and choreographed by James Rocco and Kerry Casserly and co-choreographed by Bob Avian, the all-star cast captured perfectly the improvisation of the original dance numbers while creatively weaving in expressive hip hop, ballet and culturally classic dance moves. Music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleba sparked an upbeat tempo. Lyrics blended into messages of both comic relief as well as poignant crescendos.
Among the talented cast, is an Asian American talent, Tiffany Chalothorn. Chalothorn played the role of humble and talented Connie. Connie’s character tells a story about her deep desire to be a ballerina and how her height becomes a barrier to achieving this dream. In real life, Chalothorn is primo on stage, but most producers pass over her petite frame for tall, thin and European dancers, despite her natural talents and abilities. The character of Connie, like other dancers auditioning for the line, reveals many ways in which performers are typecast, not only on stage, but within family systems and society as well.
But A Chorus Line sends a message that developing one’s true passion melts away fears through dance and pursuing dreams begins to take center stage. Musical favorites such as, “I hope I get it . . .” and “One . . .” recognize that perseverance and stamina may open doors after all. In our quest to be acknowledged on and off stage, A Chorus Line unfolds a story of struggling performers looking for work, who come together to create an amazing ensemble.