NY Theatre Guide: Theatre Review: ‘A Chorus Line’ at John W. Engeman Theater

The Cast of A Chorus Line-Patrick Ball, Rachel Marie Bell, Sissy Bell, Nic Casaula, Abby Church, Hayden Clifton, Matthew Couvillon, Courtney Fekete, Omar Garibay, Jessica Lee Goldyn, Francesca Granell, Eric Greengold, Stephanie Israelson, James Ludwig, Andrew Metzgar, Courtney Moran, PJ Palmer, DJ Petrosino, Alexzandra Sarmiento, Kelly Sheehan, Maria Cristina Slye, Michael Warrell, Sari Weinerman and Danny Wilfred. Photo by Genevieve Rafter-Keddy.

A Chorus Line, this classic musical with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kieban and a book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, first opened in 1975.  It received immediate acclaim, and has won nine Tony awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, seven Drama Desk awards, the New York Critics’ Circle award and the Olivier Award.  It became the longest running show in Broadway history, until 1997 when it was exceeded by Cats.  With drama and humor, poignant emotion and dazzling dance numbers, there is something for everyone, keeping generations of audiences coming back for more.

This production of A Chorus Line is the perfect storm of vision, ability and creativity.

When? 1975.  Where? An empty Broadway stage.  Who? Seventeen hopeful dancers at an audition. Why? ‘Cause God they really need this job.  But as it turns out, ‘How’, is the real question.  How did they all come to be here?  How did they begin dancing in the first place?  How did this become their life?  Through the grueling physical and emotional audition process, we are given glimpses into these dancers’ pasts and how they became who they are.

Directed by Drew Humphrey, the Engeman’s production of A Chorus Line is superb.  The cast is amazing, the crew is on point, and the talent of the direction is obvious.  Stunning choreography by Dena DiGiacinto was performed with seemingly effortless execution from start to finish.  The stage was simply, yet perfectly styled by Scenic Designer Jonathan Collins, while accurate Costume Design by Tristan Raines seamlessly reflected each character’s personality.  Beautiful lighting effects by designer Cory Pattak, and wonderful sound design by Laura Shubert brought depth and emotion to many scenes.  As always, the orchestra under direction of James Olmstead was fabulous.

Every single person in this large cast deserves commendation on their performances.  Loaded with triple threats, the accuracy, ability and pure talent of these performers will blow you away.  Beautiful voices, incredible dancing and true believable emotion come from every angle.  The characters run the personality gambit from the snooty Sheila (Kelly Sheehan) to the adorable Judy (Sissy Bell), the young Mark (PJ Palmer) and the short but feisty Connie (Alexzandra Sarmiento).  Some of the most memorable moments include the incredible dance solo called “The Music and the Mirror” by Jessica Lee Goldyn as Cassie, the lovely singing of Abby Church as Maggie, and the humorous duet of “Sing!” with Rachel Marie Bell and DJ Petrosino as Kristine and Al.  The rest of this impressive cast consists of: Frank (Patrick Ball), Roy (Nic Casaula), Greg (Hayden Clifton), Larry (Matthew Couvillon), Vicki (Courtney Fekete), Paul (Omar Garibay), Tricia (Francesca Granell), Mike (Eric Greengold), Valerie (Stephanie Israelson), Zach (James Ludwig), Bobby (Andrew Metzgar), Bebe (Courtney Moran), Diana (Maria Cristina Slye), Don (Michael Warrell), Lois (Sari Weinerman) and Richie (Danny Wilfred).

This production of A Chorus Line is the perfect storm of vision, ability and creativity.  All of the necessary factors interweave to affect the quality of the final marvelous creation. Thoroughly enjoyable from the opening scene down to the spectacular final number.

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours with one 15 minute intermission.

Advisory: Mature audiences – Cursing and many sexual references.

A Chorus Line will be running at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport, until May 10th, 2015.  The theater is located at 250 Main St. Northport, NY.  For tickets call the box office at (631) 261-2900 or click here.

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