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'A Chorus Line' Hopes to be Sensational

by and on August 04, 2014 3:45 PM

FUSE Productions' next show spotlights the men and women who struggle through the minefields of Broadway auditions, pouring their hearts and souls into making enough of an impression on jaded directors to land a spot dancing in a musical.

A Chorus Line, directed by Richard Biever and choreographed by Nicole Swope will open at the State Theatre on Friday, Aug. 7.

This first-time collaboration of FUSE and Centre Dance features 17 dancers, including professionals from New York.

"This is a young cast," according to Biever, "but this show speaks to this generation as strongly as it did when it opened in 1975."

Conceived, directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett, A Chorus Line took chances shows back then just didn't take. It had no scenery. It had no flashy lead. It had no real plot.

Rather, it took place on an empty stage where a director tells 17 dancers that he will choose eight of them for his show. He then requests that they tell him about their lives, their passions, their histories and what makes them want to dance.

"It's about putting yourself on the line for a job," Biever says.

Each dancer tells their story, complete with song and dance. Mike, played by Steven Del Col, recalls how he, as a young boy, would watch his sister's dance classes. His song, "I Can do That," tells how he took her place one day and never stopped dancing.

Dancers Sheila (Emily Dennis), Bebe (Lyndy Adamonis) and Maggie (Madeline Biever) reminisce about how they used to love the escape they found "At the Ballet." "Everything was beautiful at the ballet," where they could forget the tedium of their lives at home.

Poor Kristine (Jill Wess) can't carry a tune in a bucket. Her husband Al (Mario Castro) helps her through her number, "Sing."

"Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love" brings all the dancers together as they recollect the trauma and angst of early adolescence and the relationship they had with dance. This piece lasts 20 minutes beginning to end and tests the stamina of the performers. It features some showcase dance moves from FUSE newcomer Jimmy Bonilla as Richie.

One by one, the dancers tell their stories, some comical, some raunchy, some cringe-inducing and some heart-breaking, but all authentic. Everyone can relate to some moment in this show.

For the finale, the show's big hit song, "One" brings the final eight dancers together. Bennett says that he wanted people to leave the show realizing "Those kids shouldn't be in a chorus!" He wants people to think about the experience when watching other shows, and to realize what a dancer's life really means.


What: "A Chorus Line"

When: Aug. 7-9

Where: The State Theatre, downtown State College

For more information or to buy tickets visit the State Theatre's website.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Ann is an Arts and Entertainment correspondent for the Gazette.
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