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A Chorus Line: A Review

This year’s school production was the musical “A Chorus Line.” A Chorus Line, written by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante. It was first performed on Broadway in 1975. Performed by the secondary students and directed by Dr Close and Ms. Douglass-Rose The show consisted of numerous dance acts and many fun and catchy songs. The story of a chorus line follows many actors trying out for a play. Each one of them desperately wants to get the part whether it be they are longing for a job or simply really passionate about performing arts. The director later on asks them to talk about themselves and we get to learn about their lives and how they got to where they are.

It was an amazing show that brought a smile to everyone's faces. The actors were a delight to see and the crew did an amazing job with the lighting, it made them look breathtaking. We have numerous talented people in our student body and we were very happy to see our peers show off that talent. It was clear by just watching the play the actors were extremely passionate about theatre as well as interviewing them beforehand and getting their opinion. It’s so fulfilling every minute of it is great this is my happy place- a student in the musical told us. I wish to see that people are able to connect with the musical and are able to see themselves in the characters another student explained to us.

When asked how the actors were feeling right before the show, many of the actors expressed being nervous for the show as they feared they would mess up one of their important roles such as solos and dances. This was not the case, as they pulled off an amazing show and we were astonished by their performance. Most of the cast had previous experience acting in plays and musicals however a couple of members of the cast had never performed anything in front of such a large audience before. Overall the musical was a one of a kind and an amazing experience. We would like to thank the cast and crew for all of their hard work and dedication to make this show happen.

An alternative review

by Henry Reid

Last week the awaited performances of Campus des Nations take on the well known Broadway musical, “A Chorus Line” occurred. Directed by Dr Close and Mrs Douglass-Rose, this particular take on the musical does a brilliant job of exploring the many themes present throughout the performance, such as criticism of the sometimes crushing nature of “showbusiness” and dealing with homosexuality in a heterocentric world. With standout performances throughout and well-executed and choreographed dances, coupled with an excellent soundtrack that avoids the common musical trap of over-reliance on the piano, the Nations take on this musical classic did not disappoint.

For those unfamiliar with the source material, “A Chorus Line” takes place in New York on Broadway and the performance more or less has but one scene. It follows (you guessed it) a chorus line auditioning for an ensemble part in an upcoming performance and the musical numbers and dance performances are interwoven with short sharp barks from the (mostly) unseen Director (Adam Movahed) as he chooses who will go on to receive the part. As the story unfolds, many members of this chorus line are called up and interrogated by the director for their life story and how they came to be auditioning for this part today. For the unenlightened, this setting may appear to have very little narrative value and brush it off as an over-experimental pretentious production with very little actual substance. In actual fact, the incredibly written script and not too serious not too silly “just right” tone turn this setting into a goldmine for character development and rich funny pieces of acting for the audience to enjoy.

With its funny, witty and occasionally heartbreaking script it should come as no surprise that this particular performance is a brilliant example of this production done right. The production basically consists of character’s being brought forward by the Director to spill the reasons why they are there and what led them to this point. Sometimes this is achieved with a solo musical performance, such as the one masterfully handled by Louisa Von Waechter as Mike Costa with a great rendition of I Can Do That by Marvin Hamlisch. Other times it is expressed through a, at times heart wrenching or other times funny monologue. Without spoiling too much, every actor/actress who is brought forward by Adam Movahed’s solid performance as the Director is able to convince the audience, for their small part in it, that they are listening to a real person describe their life story. Undoubtedly the most dramatically technically challenging monologue of the performance is Paul San Marco (Tobias Raffo) who delivered and unforgettable monologue describing his struggle with homosexuality and his representation of what it is like to be gay in a fiercely hetero-centric world, ending his performance with a convincing shedding of tears, this performance was possibly the finest piece of acting in the performance, undoubtedly moving many to tears. Musically, Otto Bughardt and Olivia Langdon’s dual performance of Sing stands out as very difficult to perform and ironically perhaps, is a great example of the musical richness this production has to offer.

Speaking of music, one cannot review this performance without mentioning the brilliant live soundtrack provided by Shauna Beesley, David Shaw, Yann Hossfeld and Keith Hayward. Often, in musicals, especially school productions, the piano is overused to the point where all the music seems to blend together and the richness of the piece becomes lost on the audience. This is absolutely not the case in this particular performance, the use of a variety of instruments provides diversity of sound so that the music is always appreciated to the fullest capacity possible. Not to mention the musical stamina on display, as the music is more or less constant throughout the performance, if not being used during actual songs, it adds to the dialogue that makes it infinitely more engaging and entertaining for the audience.

In conclusion, “A Chorus Line” hits all the right notes, takes all the right steps and never misses a beat. It is a great example of school productions at their finest and a good reason to feel once again proud of the excellent and diverse community that we have here at Nations.

5 Stars.


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