Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Connecticut & the Berkshires

A Chorus Line
Downtown Cabaret Theatre
Review by Zander Opper | Season Schedule

Also see Fred's review of An American in Paris


The Cast
Photo by Kevin McNair
Downtown Cabaret Theatre is currently presenting a dazzling and deeply felt production of A Chorus Line. As directed by Eli Newsom, every one of the performers makes their mark as an individual and they perform perfectly as a group. A Chorus Line, as conceived by Michael Bennett with a score by Marvin Hamlisch and Ed Kleban and a book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, is not the easiest musical to pull off, but Downtown Cabaret Theatre manages to present this show superbly—on par with their recent sensational production of Hairspray.

The appropriately bare stage with a mirrored backdrop (set design by Lief Smith) soon fills with dancers performing Michael Bennett and Bob Avian's original choreography brilliantly reproduced by Andrea Metchick. From the opening number, "I Hope I Get It," it is clear that this young cast has the razzle dazzle to put the show over wonderfully as a group, and are just as intriguing and fascinating as individuals.

The director/choreographer of the story, Zach (extremely well performed by Rich Goldstein), attempts to narrow his selection of dancers down to eight. As Cassie, Lindsay Johnson is quite touching in the book scenes and downright spectacular in her character's big song and dance number, "The Music and the Mirror." Also standing out is the vivacious and funny Cassie Carroll as Val, whose number, "Dance Ten, Looks Three," brings down the house. The handsome and sinewy Brendan Maly does wonders with "I Can Do That" and Oliva Grace Rivera is a powerhouse as Diana, both in her solo "Nothing" and leading the full company in a moving rendition of "What I Did for Love." In one of the showiest roles, Emily Frangipane is a terrific Sheila, making the most of the character's sharp lines and attitude. What's more, Frangipane is also great in the trio "At the Ballet," with Renee Sutherland and Jessica Rahrig also scoring, respectively, as Bebe and Maggie.

The entire company performs at the same high level, with Bonnie Gregson an extremely amusing Connie, and Matthew Casey a Bobby who can stop the show with just a raise of an eyebrow. Particularly memorable is Danny Burgos, who gives a shattering performance as Paul. His delivery of Paul's poignant monologue is enormously satisfying and touching.

By the time the show gets to the finale, "One," with everyone in their gold costumes and truly moving as one, the force of their energy and precision is astonishing. Director Eli Newsom deserves a lot of credit for eliciting such amazing performances from his cast, and he is ably assisted by Phill Hill's haunting and incisive lighting design and musical director Clay Zambo's fabulous leading of the offstage orchestra.

Just about everything in Downtown Cabaret Theatre's smashing production of A Chorus Line comes together excellently and it is highly recommended for bringing more than a little bit of Broadway to Bridgeport, CT.

Performances of A Chorus Line continue at Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport CT through December 11, 2016. For tickets, please visit www.dtcab.com or call the box office at 203-576-1636.


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