Musical concieved by Michael Bennett, with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, and book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante.
Look at all the people! At all the people. How many people does he need? How many boys, how many girls? How many people does he need? I hope I get it. I've come this far, but even so it could be yes, it could be no, How many people does he need? I really need this job. In an empty theatre, on a bare stage, casting for a new Broadway musical is almost complete. For everyone present, it's the chance of a lifetime. It's the one opportunity to do what they've always dreamed of - to have the chance to dance. But the director only needs eight dancers - four boys and four girls - and now its the final audition... Who am I anyway? Am I my resume? That is a picture of a person I don't know. What does he want from me? What should I try to be? So many faces all around, and here we go. I need this job, oh God, I need this show.
Told through captivating song, riveting drama and stunning choreography, the auditionees for the Chorus Line describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers. Based on true stories, this musical revolutionised Broadway, becoming the longest running musical in New York theatre history, breaking records, winning nine Tony Awards including 'Best Musical'. Includes the songs 'One (Singular Sensation)', 'What I Did For Love' and 'At The Ballet'.
The West End Premiere run for just under three years: 5 preview performances, and 1,113 regular performances.
James Kirkwood, who co-wrote the book for this musical said: "Michael Bennet asked me if I wanted to work on a show about dancers and what they're forced to go through in order to compete for jobs. I'd been an actor for years myself and been through the auditioning, the competition. In fact, that's one of the things about acting that nudged me into writing. I wrote my first novel because I wanted to be able to get up in the morning and do my work without permission from a committee: agent, producer, director, etc. As an actor, I'd felt a certain lack of dignity about always going around with my hand out for the next job. So when Michael asked me to do this show, I said yes so fast it surprised even me. I have a tender spot in my heart for performers, for their endurance, their bravery and their ability to survive in a business that hands out a lot of hard knocks and dishes out rejection constantly. People think being in show business is glamorous. To me it's as tough as rugby, it's a killer. I suppose that's because my parents were in it. They were both 'movie stars' in the early days, and I saw their careers peak and then wane. It was heartbreaking to watch. So I wanted to be involved in this show because this business has been part of my life since I can remember." James Kirkwood's parents where the silent movie stars James Kirkwood Snr, and Lila Lee, who has a star dedicated to her on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Original West End London Production 1976
Previewed 16 July 1976, Opened 22 July 1976, Closed 31 March 1979 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
The original cast (American International Touring Cast) featured Eivind Harum as 'Zach', T. Michael Reed as 'Larry', Steve Baurnann as 'Al Deluca', Miriam Welch as 'Bebe Benzenheimer', Ron Kurowski as 'Bobby Mills', Sandy Roveta as 'Cassie Ferguson', Jennifer Ann Lee as 'Connie Wong', Loida Iglesias as 'Diana Morales', Ronald Young as 'Don Kerr', Mark Dovey as 'Greg Gardner', Yvette Mathews as 'Judy Turner', Christine Barker as 'Kristine Urich', Nancy Wood as 'Maggie Winslow', Timothy Scott as 'Mark Anthony', Jeff Hyslop as 'Mike Costa', Tommy Aguilar as 'Paul San Marco', A. William Perkins as 'Richie Walters', Jane Summerhays as 'Sheila Bryant', and Mitzi Hamilton as 'Val Clark', with Ken Rogers as 'Butch', Troy Garza as 'Frank', Michael Austin as 'Jarad', Wendy Mansfield as 'Lois', Donn Simione as 'Roy', Ronald Stafford as 'Tom', Gina Paglia as 'Tricia', and Nancy Dafgek as 'Vicki'. Towards the end of 1976 Jean-Pierre Cassel joined the cast as 'Zack', replacing Eivind Harum.
The were no performances from Monday 24 to Thursday 27 January 1977 due to cast change.
The original second cast (British Cast) from Friday 28 January 1977 featured Jean-Pierre Cassel as 'Zack', Jack Gunn as 'Larry', Jeffrey Shankley as 'Al Deluca', Susan Claire as 'Bebe Benzenheimer', Leslie Meadows as 'Bobby Mills', Petra Siniawski as 'Cassie Ferguson', Cherry Gillespie as 'Connie Wong', Diane Langston as 'Diana Morales', Lance Aston as 'Don Kerr', Stephen Tate as 'Greg Gardner', Judy Gridley as 'Judy Turner', Vicky Spencer as 'Kristine Urich', Veronica Page as 'Maggie Winslow', Peter Barry as 'Mark Anthony', Michael Howe as 'Mike Costa', Michael Staniforth as 'Paul San Marco', Roy Gayle as 'Richie Walters', Geraldine Gardner as 'Shelia Bryant', and Linda Williams as 'Val Clark', with Richard Lloyd-King as 'Butch', John Chester as 'Frank', Jenny Lyons as 'Karen', Sharon Hill as 'Liza', Jo-Anne Robinson as 'Lois', Grahaam Turner as 'Martin', Loraine Hart as 'Paula', Gerry Davis as 'Roy', Christopher Molloy as 'Todd', Kenn Oldfield as 'Tom', Nicky Croydon as 'Tricia', Olivia Breeze as 'Vicki', and Thorey Mountain as 'Wendy'. A couple of months after the British cast opened, Stephen Tate, who was playing 'Greg Gardner', took over as 'Zack, and Christopher Molloy, who was playing 'Todd', took over as 'Greg Gardner'.
Directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett, co-choreographed by Bob Avian, sets by Robin Kleban, costumes by Theoni V Aldredge, lighting by Tharon Musser, and sound by Abe Jacob.
This production opened with the American International Touring Cast who came to London's West End immediately following an 11-week run in Toronto, Canada. The UK actor's union Equity had given them permission to perform in London's West End for a six-month season, following which a British cast was too take over. Following their six-month run in London, the American International Touring Cast returned to North America to continue touring.
The American cast where scheduled to finish on Saturday 22 January 1977, with a new British cast taking over straight away from Monday 24 January 1977, with no break. But two weeks before the cast change, it was announced that Elizabeth Seal, who was due to take over the leading role of 'Cassie', had been dismissed from the production. The producers requested UK Equity give permission for the American actress Donna McKechnie - who had originated the role on Broadway - to step in allow the production to continue without a break. Although UK Equity initially offered to allow Donna McKechnie to perform for a limited four-week period, allowing the producers time to rehearse a new British actress for the role, shortly afterwards UK Equity withdrew their offer, leading to the producers closing the show for four days in order to fully rehearse the actress Petra Siniawski in the role of 'Cassie', for which she was due to be the understudy. Thus there where no performances from Monday 24 to Thursday 27 January 1977.
When the British Cast took over, the Ensemble was expanded, and some of the character's names where changed.
The first preview performance on Friday 16 July 1976 was a 'Special Gala Charity Presentation' on behalf of The Variety Club of Great Britain, in aid of the Variety Club's Heart Fund for underprivileged children, and The Police Dependent's Trust (Children's Section).
The last preview performance on Wednesday 21 July 1976 was a 'Royal Charity Gala' held in the presence of HRH Princess Margaret, in aid of the English Stage Company.
1st West End London Revival 2013
Previewed 2 February 2013, Opened 19 February 2013, Closed 31 August 2013 at the London Palladium
A major revival of the classic Broadway musical A Chorus Line in London starring John Partridge, Scarlett Strallen, and Leigh Zimmerman
For the first time since its award-winning London season premiered in July 1976, the original creators join forces to bring this legendary musical back to the stage of London's West End.
Please note that the suggested age limit for this production is 10 years and above.
The cast featured John Partridge as 'Zach', Alastair Postlethwaite as 'Larry', Simon Hardwick as 'Al Deluca', Daisy Maywood as 'Bebe Benzenheimer', Ed Currie as 'Bobby Mills', Scarlett Strallen as 'Cassie Ferguson', Alexzandra Sarmiento as 'Connie Wong', Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as 'Diana Morales', Gary Watson as 'Don Kerr', Andy Rees as 'Greg Gardner', Lucy Jane Adcock as 'Judy Turner', Frances Dee as 'Kristine Urich', Vicki Lee Taylor as 'Maggie Winslow', Harry Francis as 'Mark Anthony', Adam Salter as 'Mike Costa', Gary Wood as 'Paul San Marco', James T Lane as 'Richie Walters', Leigh Zimmerman as 'Sheila Bryant', and Rebecca Herszenhorn as 'Val Clark', with Segun Fawole as 'Butch', Jon Tsouras as 'Frank', Alice Jane Murray as 'Lois', Marc Leslie as 'Roy', Michael Steedon as 'Tom', Georgie Ashford as 'Trisha', Katy Hards as 'Vicki', Rebecca Giacopazzi, Genevieve Nicole, and Ashley Nottingham.
Directed by Bob Avian, from the original by Michael Bennett, with choreography by Baayork Lee, from the original by Michael Bennett and Bob Avian, sets by Robin Wagner, costumes by Theoni V Aldredge, and lighting by Natasha Katz, from the original by Tharon Musser. Baayork Lee originated the role of 'Connie' on Broadway in 1975.
John Partridge's London stage credits in the role of 'Robert Martin' in Casey Nicholaw's production of the Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison musical The Drowsy Chaperone at the Novello Theatre in 2007; and the ensemble of Des McAnuff's production of Pete Townshend's Tommy at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1996.
Leigh Zimmerman's West End theatre credits include the role of 'Ulla' in Susan Stroman's production of Mel Brooks' The Producers at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2004; the leading cast in Susan Stroman's production of the dance show Contact at the Queen's Theatre in 2002; and the role 'Elaine' in Michael Radford's revival of George Axelrod's The Seven Year Itch at the Queen's Theatre in 2000.
Scarlett Strallen's London theatre credits include the roles of 'Kathy Selden' in Jonathan Church revival of the Betty Comden and Adolph Green musical Singin' In The Rain at the Palace Theatre in 2012; 'Clara' in Jamie Lloyd's production of Stephen Sondheim's Passion at the Donmar Warehouse in 2010; the title role in Richard Eyre's production of the Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman musical Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre in 2005; the ensemble of Timothy Sheader's revival of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 2005; 'Truly Scrumptious' in Adrian Noble's production of the Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium in 2004; and the ensemble of the original cast of Phyllida Lloyd's production of Catherine Johnson's ABBA musical Mamma Mia! at the Prince Edward Theatre in 1999.
"Groundbreaking dance musical A Chorus Line was a smash hit when it premiered on Broadway in 1975, running for a whopping 15 years. And it remains eerily relevant in today's era of X-Factor wannabes. The story is simple - 24 dancers desperate for a job are auditioning for eight places in a chorus line... Scarlett Strallen stands out as down-on-her-luck Cassie with a high-kicking solo number that leaves you exhausted just watching. Directed by Bob Avian this is an entertaining, often poignant, revival that captures both the sparkle and the slog of life as a hoofer." The Sunday Mirror
"A Chorus Line has a wonderfully satisfying structure; a mix of spotlit heartfelt soliloquy, soulful songs and sensational dancing. Ironically, there's no room for your average chorus liner here: this show potentially makes stars of them all. A muscular, brutal director, Zach, puts the dancers through their paces, and Leigh Zimmerman is appropriately stand-out as the towering, cynical Sheila. But the real show-stopper is Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the gutsy Diana... The tussle between Zach (the cold and uncharismatic John Partridge from EastEnders) and Cassie (Scarlett Strallen), his former lover, who had made it briefly as a soloist but wants to be accepted for what she believes she is, a natural chorus liner, should be climactic. But Strallen's rendition of the passionate number The Music And The Mirror is oddly underwhelming. Perhaps, as Zach says, she is 'dancing down' to prove her point. But there is nothing disappointing about the finale, One, when the chorus line is indeed 'a singular sensation'; the individuals vanish in a glorious ensemble, solid gold with a sprinkle of sequins." The Mail on Sunday
"Every now and again, a production arrives with such force majeure that one has to accept that nothing, and no one, will stand in the way of it becoming an all-singing, all-dancing box office sensation. A Chorus Line falls so obviously into this category that one might as well just reach for the five-star rubber stamp and be done with it... Its secret is an awesome simplicity that must count as one of the great wonders of the theatrical world: it's a show all about artifice that, paradoxically, contains absolutely none itself. The piece has a rhythm and momentum about it that always seems to pull even the most curmudgeonly punters along. James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante's script is full of knowing one-liners... Marvin Hamlisch's big numbers, when they start to come, thick and fast, still work their magic... The climactic belting out of One - 'One singular sensation' - ends the proceedings on a high. The rough and ready souls we saw at the first audition, kitted out as they make their final triumphant entrance in gold suits and top hats, are finally transformed into shimmering butterflies. It takes a great, big show, with a great big heart, to fill the London Palladium's enormous stage, and this one fills every inch of it, magnificently." The Sunday Telegraph
A Chorus Line in London at the London Palladium previewed from 2 February 2013, opened on 19 February 2013 and closed on 31 August 2013.