Theatre — A Chorus Line

A Chorus Line

By Michelle Saturley

One singular show sensation

A Chorus Line is a last dance for some of the Acting Loft players 

The spring production of A Chorus Line at the Acting Loft is something of a farewell for several of the cast members, who will be graduating high school in June and heading off to college in the fall. Many of the seniors involved in the legendary hit musical find parallels between their struggling-actor characters and their real lives as they prepare to enter a whole new chapter: adulthood.

For artistic director Chris Courage, who also plays Zach in the show, and Susan Horne, the choreographer who will play the role of Christine, the production has been bittersweet. Seven of the cast members, who have practically grown up on the Acting Loft stage, will be saying goodbye.

“It’s a tight-knit group and many of them grew up together here,” Horne said.

“We’re hoping that the things they learned at the Acting Loft have prepared them for the college experience,” Courage said.

Most of the seven departing performers are planning on majoring in musical theater or acting. They think the training at the Loft has indeed set the stage for a future in the performing arts.

“I recently went for my college audition, and it was pretty brutal,” said, Holly Marshall, who will play Cassie in the show. “But I felt pretty confident, because I’ve been preparing for it, in a way, with all the work I’ve done here.”

A few cast members have returned to the Loft for this show after being away.

“I did this show with the Acting Loft when I was a high school student, and I just finished college, and I’m back again,” said Bethany Lovering, who is now a faculty member at the Loft and plays Maggie. “It has a much deeper meaning to me now.”

One scene that seems to have touched a nerve with the cast, including Courage and Horne, is the scene where Zach, the abrasive director, grills the wannabe actors, asking what they would do if they couldn’t make it as an actor.

“That’s something all of us are going to be faced with when we leave the cocoon of this acting company,” said Caitlin Ducharme, who will play Cassie during the second week of performances.

For choreographer Horne, the show is a chance to get back to the beginning of her love for dance.

“Every show at the Acting Loft ends up being a heavy dance show, by virtue of the fact that I love to add that element to every show we do,” she said. “But for Chorus Line, the dancing is such a huge part of the show. I’ve had to keep the original Broadway choreography for some of the numbers, obviously, but I’ve also been able to add my own influences.”

One number Horne has been looking forward to choreographing is Cassie’s big solo dance number, “The Music and the Mirror.”

“It’s a nine-minute dance solo,” Horne said. “It’s all about Cassie’s love for dance. It was a rare chance for me to just make up a dance without worrying about telling a story or going with the lyrics. It was hard at first. But then I remembered, when I was a little kid, how I would just put on the music in my room, stand in front of the mirror and dance, free-form. I had to get back to that for this number.”

The Acting Loft’s production of A Chorus Line runs the weekends of May 13, 14, 15 and May 20, 21, and 22 at the Police Activities League theater on the corner of Beech Street and Lake Avenue. For tickets and show times, call the box office at 666-5999.

-Michelle Saturley

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