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A Chorus Line' is a hit

Special to Village News

When you hear "six, seven, eight – step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch," you know you have arrived at The Welk Resort Theater in Escondido to see "A Chorus Line." Producers Sean Coogan and Larry Raben have a hit on their hands.

"A Chorus Line" presents a clear picture of a rehearsal room as a Broadway director narrows the auditioning ensemble of singers and dancers down to a final eight for an upcoming musical.

Originally opening on Broadway in 1975, "A Chorus Line" won countless awards for the original music by Marvin Hamlisch and the imaginative choreography by Michael Bennet and Bob Avian.

The irony of the story is how "A Chorus Line" mirrors itself. After all, each cast member had to live the script as they had to audition for their parts in the production about auditioning for a show.

Primarily, the play is an ensemble show. Nonetheless, there are a few who performed exceptionally well. Sheila, played by Natalie Nucci, comes to mind as the saucy grown-up in the line-up. Richie, played by Devon Hunt; Bobby, played by Donny Gersonde, and Paul, played by Anthony Michael Vacio, each shine during their breakout moments. And hats off to Roy, played by Leonel Ayala, for performing his small part with passion.

Cassie, played by Mikayla Agrella, and Val, played by Holly Echsner, each set the stage aglow during their solo pieces, while Diana, played by Lauren Louis, grabbed the spotlight with "What I Did for Love" summarizing why they work so hard.

It is the haunting awareness which is exposed as each performer realizes the limitations of their profession. Even if they get into this show, one day it will close; and they are painfully mindful of eventually being too old to withstand the intensity of a Broadway show schedule. It's raw and real. While job interviews can be terrifying, imagine doing one in a pair of tights.

Every performer brought their A-game to opening night. Kristine, played by Danielle Airey, is ditsy and spontaneous. Mark, played by Drew Bradford, is spot on with every step. Bebe, played by Katie Marshall, shines. Judy, played by Sarah Morgan, sparkles as a dumb-brunette. Played by Amanda Neiman, Connie's appealing self-analysis is hilarious. Emma Nossal plays Maggie's performance on point. Mike, played by Jeffrey Scott Parsons, miraculously blends into the line. Gregg, played by Trevor Rex, boldly draws attention with every muscle.

Don, played by Aaron Morgan Shaw, gives a solid performance along with Al, played by Cody Walker) and Butch (Nick Aiello).

The ensemble dancers include Tom (Mason Ballard), Lois (Nikka Frank), Frank (Hayden Luedde; Vicki, played by Paityn Manor, and Tricia, played by Valerie Walker, who vie for the coveted eight spots in the line.

Playing the choreographer and director is Jeffrey Ricca as Zach, along with Fisher Kaake as his sidekick and dance captain Larry. It is their stark realism that moves the show forward.

The behind the scenes crew includes costumer Janet Pitcher, sound designer Patrick Hoyny, lighting designer Jennifer Edwards, along with set designer Rory Brown and prop designer Larry Raben.

So much has been written about previous productions, it is nearly impossible to find something new to say. Except this production showcases the talent of Hector Guerrero as director and choreographer coupled with the amazing Randi Ellen Rudolph Jethwa as musical director. And that, my friends, marks the genius of producers Coogan and Raben.

Playing multiple times each week until March 22, "A Chorus Line" is perfect for the entire family. For ticket information, contact the box office at (888) 802-7469, (760) 749-3448 or visit SanDiegoTickets.welkresorts.com. There is lots of free parking and a restaurant near the theater. Matinees are now at 1 p.m. Evenings have changed to 7 p.m. This show is rated 10 out of 10.

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached by email at [email protected].

 

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