The performers whose lives provided the fodder for “A Chorus Line” will now have a financial participation in the current Broadway revival of the show and in future major productions of the tuner.
New agreement was reached between the dancers — including original cast members Kelly Bishop, Donna McKechnie and Robert LuPone — and the beneficiaries of the estate of “Chorus Line” creator-director-choreographer Michael Bennett. (List of beneficiaries includes revival director Bob Avian, set designer Robin Wagner and estate executor and revival producer John Breglio).
The parties are keeping mum on the exact terms of the deal.
Bennett’s recordings of interviews with dancers in 1974 were the raw material that became “A Chorus Line.” Interviewees and others involved in the development of the piece already benefited from a prior arrangement that gave them a piece of the original Rialto production, which opened in 1975 and ran for 15 years, as well as some coin from subsidiary rights.
The current revival, however, is not a part of that pact. It remains unclear whether the new deal means the interviewees will begin their participation in the revival now or whether it will retroactively extend back to when the production began perfs.
After a summer 2006 tryout in San Francisco, “Chorus Line” opened in Gotham on Oct. 5, 2006 and recouped its approximately $8 million capitalization in about five months. The revival has so far grossed more than $40 million.
The tuner, a backstage look at the lives of chorus kids, is one of the most enduring properties in the legit canon and a staple on stock and amateur circuits. By the time the original Rialto production closed in 1990, the show had grossed more than $280 million worldwide.