This singular sensation of a musical will probably be revived as long as there are young performers hoping to make it into a chorus line. Although the late Michael Bennett’s landmark 1975 show contains a few topical references fixing it in that era, the still-reigning Broadway longevity record-holder makes all the right dance and dramaturgical moves to appeal to today’s audiences.
Original cast member Baayork Lee has re-staged Bennett’s direction and choreography in a manner faithful to his spirit, though it’s understandable that what once seemed refreshingly innovative sometimes comes off here as self-conscious reconstruction. Fortunately, there’s enough overall liveliness and several fine individual performances to give this particular chorus line its own high kicks and snappy tap combinations.
Backed by the mirror-wall that makes their competitiveness, camaraderie and confessional speeches all the more visible to the audience, these wannabe chorus members include such go-getter types as Christina Marie Norrup as a bubbly Texan named Judy; Mark Evans as Mike, who lives up to his assertion that “I Can Do That”; and Cindy Marchionda as the vivacious Puerto Rican dancer Diana Morales.
Also making strong impressions are a sexy Jill Slyter as Cassie, a once-promising solo performer who now desperately needs a chorus line job. When Slyter does “The Music and the Mirror,” she really brings the pathos of Cassie home. A broader turn is delivered by Michelle Bruckner as Sheila, who provides some fine comic moments as a bold beauty not afraid to tout her assets. Most moving of all is Luis Villabon as the insecure Paul, whose confession of his homosexuality is so touching that one wishes other scenes in this production had as much heart.
Musical and tech credits highlight the chorus line with efficient ease.