Also see John's review of Rent
Director/choreographer Kevin Black has replicated the Bennett/Avian choreography to a "t" and the intermissionless production flies by. I am loathe to go through a synopsis of the play for fear of curing my charming readers' insomnia, so let's concentrate more on the actual production.
Mr. Black has chosen to use the actual bare bones of the stage, which lends the show a more authentic air. What they saved on faux wings, back wall, etc. should have been spent on the noisy, clunky mirrors and the final sunburst for the finale, but I am nitpicking. When a show is as basic as this one is, most of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the lighting designer, and succeed Ardean Landhuis does. He is able to complement the characters' every mood change with whatever hue would most bring out their emotions. Bravo to him.
For its larger productions, Stage Door uses tracks rather than a live orchestra, and with a 22-member cast, that is realistic, indeed. The tracks are serviceable and the cast is "on top of things" from the first note. One suggestion is thatfrom where I was sitting in the 4th row, much of the dialogue was impossible to hearperhaps a bit of aural tweaking is in order.
As for the performers, all are exemplary dancers, and mention must be made of John Dempsey as Bobby; his seamless movements are mesmerizing. Add to this list the Sheila of Brooke Martino, a gorgeous Amazon with the tongue of an asp; the foul-mouthed, yet endearing Val of Kara Krichman; and the heartbreaking Paul of William Thomason, and you have a great recipe for success. As Diana, Shenise Nunez manages to make "What I Did For Love" her own, and I defy anyone to say they were not touched by her rendition.
The originally cast Cassie was injured and replaced at the 11th hour by Nikki Allred Boyd. This was the first week of her performances and she still needs time to grow into the role. The talent is there on all counts and, while she was still hesitant in her line readings and singing, her dancing in "The Music and the Mirror" spoke volumes. By the time you read this, I am sure she will be as terrific as can be ... the signs are all there.
So, while I was reticent, at best, about attending, I cannot wait to see the show again. There, I said it! It's a thrilling piece of theatre. We all know that. Is it worth seeing again and again? As evidenced by what I saw, the answer is a resounding "yes."
A Chorus Line through May 17, 2015, at Broward Stage Door Theatre, 8036 West Sample Road, Coral Springs. For information and tickets, call 954-344-7765 or visit www.stagedoortheatre.com.
-- Jeffrey Bruce