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July 15, 2009 > Theatre Review: Determined Chorus Line

Theatre Review: Determined Chorus Line

By Julie Grabowski

Winner of nine Tony Awards and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for drama, "A Chorus Line" swerves past the glamour and romance of theatre life to the dark backstage of ambition and desperation, uncertainty, instability, disappointment, and mental and physical limitations. An anonymous collection of dancers is auditioning for a spot in the chorus of a Broadway musical, personalities and backgrounds gradually unfolding as 23 dancers are whittled down to 8. Their stories are the stories of us all: awful jobs, family problems, personal discoveries, physical frustrations; the struggle of expectation and desire, and the need to hold on to our dreams.

Director Michael Ryken's production has energy and tremendous effort; and despite a lack of polish succeeds due to a handful of performances. Catherine Williamson is an immediate standout as the perky Judy, hitting every step, note, and line with confidence and personality. Danny Martin is luminous as the flamboyant Bobby, dependably hilarious and delectable throughout. You can't help but have a soft spot for Elena Ruggiero's hard and sassy Sheila, and Lisa Tateosian displays wonderful presence and heart as Cassie. Tomas Theriot and Patricia Pitpitan round out the top tier as the endearing Paul and persistent Diana.

Music and vocals are a strong point, with enjoyable numbers including "And," "Sing," "Nothing," the popular "One," and moving "What I Did For Love." However the orchestra has a tendency to overpower individual voices, burying some of the lyrics. Michael Ryken and Krista Samboy's choreography is fun and engaging, but much of the dancing appears uncomfortable and forced.

The evening presents a lot to absorb, and asks you to do so without an intermission. But while the story begins to grow a bit tedious, refreshing laughs and favorite characters pull you through to the glittering finale.

To experience the longest running Broadway musical originally produced in the United States, and currently the fourth longest-running show in the history of Broadway, stop by the Douglas Morrisson Theatre and fall into step with "A Chorus Line."

Tickets cost $25 for adults, $22 for seniors 60 and over, $15 for students with ID and juniors under 18; TBA members pay $10. Those interested should be advised that the show contains strong language and mature subject matter. For more information or to purchase tickets call (510) 881-6777 or visit

A Chorus Line
July 10-26
Thursday-Saturday - 8 p.m.; Sundays 2 p.m.
Douglas Morrisson Theatre
22311 North Third Street, Hayward
(510) 881-6777

Tickets: $10-$25

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