The stakes are high for the performance artists who must find ways to match the talent and motivations of their characters in Landmark Musicals’ season closing production of “A Chorus Line” at the Rodey Theatre. The musical received a received Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976 as a candid glimpse into a career on stage. The story brings background to forefront as a band of auditioning dancers—hired to support the real stars—are required to talk openly about why they should be chosen for the job. One by one, their long-held aspirations and worries are allowed to surface during a day of make-or-break tryouts for a new show.
There is no denying that the cast is grabbing a sizeable chunk of Broadway lore. Director Zane Barker stays true to Michael Bennett’s original structure and his performers deliver a valiant effort in recreating this trailblazing chartbuster filled with smiles, slipups and soul searching. Working tirelessly to guarantee satisfying coordinated routines are husband and wife choreographers Louis and Courtney Giannini. The opening rehearsal scene featuring the era’s definitive jazz combinations is gratifying.
As the tap happy Mike, Kevin Gallacher takes the lead with a punchy version of “I Can Do That” and skillfully flips the troupe into a winner-take-all competition. Personalities emerge during the company’s montage, “Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love”, where memories of traumatic events from their early teens are shared. This song is also one of several places throughout the narrative where sexuality is frankly discussed, a risky concept when written.