Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Finally Saw A Chorus Line!!!

Back in the 1980s my mother used to rent VHS tapes from the library because they were free. She would come home with all sorts of nonsense, but one day she had a movie about a bunch of dancers at an audition. It was A Chorus Line. I was about nine years old.

My parents copied the movie onto a blank tape for me (Scandalous! FBI warning be damned!) and I watched it over and over again like a mental patient. Sometime after the 25th viewing my dad took me into New York City to see a matinee of A Chorus Line when it was at its original home at the Shubert Theater. Six months later the show closed.

I spent the next 15 years or so listening to the soundtrack. I can literally pick any point in my life and say for certain that songs from A Chorus Line were in my personal rotation. They were there on all the flights back and forth from California when I was a teenagers and went to see my dad. They kept me company in college and in my first apartment in New York. I uploaded them into my first iPod. I've been known to karaoke certain numbers.

Despite loving the music, I never went to see the show since I first saw it in 1989. I didn't want to see a touring production. I wanted to see the real thing. Imagine me glee, then, when I heard two years ago that it was coming back to Broadway. And so, on an otherwise cold and boring January night, I burritoed myself up and headed to Times Square and sat alone in an orchestra seat.

I wouldn't want to see the show any other way. I have friends who like Broadway, but considering my history with the show I wanted to enjoy it alone. A Chorus Line is very much a thinking person's show. Its beauty is in its simplicity. There is no set, just some free standing mirrors. Even the razzle dazzle gold outfits that you see in all the ads don't come on until the last five minutes of the show, and they're mostly just window dressing for the curtain call. I can't lie, though, I totally want one!

I'm not sure most people realize that the stories and lyrics in A Chorus Line are based on real interviews that the original directors and writers held back in the 70s with working, New York City dancers. I keep that in mind when I think my life sucks. Because it doesn't suck and I will likely never have to deal with the frustrations that professioanl dancers do. My job does not depend on my weight or my looks. They work in an industry where an injury could kill their career and, as they say in the show, "there is no advancement and no promotions." What, then?

In an age where it seems like every new Broadway show is just a Disney movie set to music, (yawn) it's nice to know that A Chorus Line can still sell out every night.

Marvin Hamlisch et al, you are my personal Allahs!