Review "A Chorus Line": One Singular Sensational Gift To Borrow!

Marriott Theatre presents


At 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
Conceived, originally choreographed and directed by Michael Bennett
Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Directed by Mark Lococo
Choreographed by Rachel Rockwell
Musical direction by Ryan T. Nelson

Thru October 31st
Buy Tickets
Running Time:  Two hours and fifteen minutes includes a fifteen minute intermission

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

Again…Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch… Again…   Marriott Theatre presents A CHORUS LINE, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical.  Twenty-six dancers are auditioning for eight spots in a Broadway musical.  Initially, the first cut is based strictly on dancing abilities.  A series of complicated dance sequences dismiss the weakest prospects.  To further the elimination process, the director forces the remaining seventeen candidates to bare their soul in an unorthodox group interview.  In 1975, A CHORUS LINE, conceived, originally choreographed and directed by Michael Bennett, introduced a truly behind-the-scenes look at the makings of a Broadway musical.  Staged in the round, this Marriott Theatre’s production comes at the audition process from all angles.  Since the audience gets glimpses, up close and personal, of the grueling staged version of the try-out process, they appreciate even more the Marriott’s effort to cast to perfection this One Singular Sensation!


This Chorus Line can dance… and sing and act!  In the first act, the entire ensemble moves together in an exhausting, energetic pace.   In the limited physical space and all access exposure, the dance try-outs are a hot mess.  Choreographed masterfully by Rachel Rockwell, the musical numbers continually revolve to ensure every audience section has the best view.  The stage action continually stops and starts on a diagonal line.  It’s a phenomenal visual going from fast-paced group synchronization back to individuality by striking a pose.  Leading the posers in seasoned attitude is Anika Ellis (Shelia).  Ellis is hilarious as the veteran mocking the casting system.  Her bad ass shell cracks to reveal childhood hopes in “At the Ballet“.  Ellis, along with Pegah Kadkhodaian (Bebe) and Danielle Plisz (Maggie), sing it with a hopeful wistfulness.  Another stand-out number is “Sing” with Adrian Aguilar (Al) and Nicole Hren (Kristine).  A newly married couple, Aguilar and Hren charm in this duet solo.  He interjects words for her nervous stumbling.  The song especially showcases Aguilar’s strong tenor voice and comedic timing.  Pilar Millhollen (Diana) leads a magnificently harmonious “What I Did for Love.”  Sure, the dancers’ eyes may have been dry but I’m certain many of the audience’s weren’t.


Under Director Mark Lococo, Director Zach is often invisible.   Tim Gregory’s (Zach) voice is heard in different locales leading the actor to face various angles in response.  One poignant interaction with Gregory’s voice is Bryan Knowlton (Paul) as he reveals a secret past.  Knowlton crumbles in anguish bringing Gregory from the rafters.  It’s a humanity pause in a cruel business that elicits shivers and sniffs.   

Seeing ALL the ‘Hope I Get It’ dancers in A CHORUS LINE, you can’t help but empathize for all the actors that brave the sweetness and sorrow for the pleasure of the audience.   Thank you to everyone who tried out for A CHORUS LINE… whether you made it to the line or not!  The gift was ours to borrow.  It’s as if we always knew, And we won’t forget what you do for love, What you do for love.

On the other side of thirty, Shawn sums up the show with ‘I did that?!’


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