Fairfax Academy A Chorus LineBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jan 20th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Fairfax High School, Fairfax, VA
Through January 22nd
2:20 with one intermission
Reviewed January 14th, 2012
A Chorus Line is a Tony Award winning musical with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, and book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante. A new Broadway musical will be happening in NYC, and we’ve been invited to watch a group of dancers audition for the chorus of the show. They all have stories to tell and dreams to fulfill.
The talented cast of singers and dancers really put their heart and soul into a strong performance accented by a live orchestra Saturday evening at the fairly packed Fairfax High School auditorium. Upon going into the auditorium you were met with a stage of young people stretching, warming up, mingling, and trying not to look nervous as they glanced at the other faces also trying hard to not look nervous. It was a setting of controlled chaos. It gave the a realistic feeling to the performance, as the cast was on stage from the time the auditorium doors opened.
The group of performers who were called to continue their auditions were true professionals. They stayed in character and those that chose to open up did so with great emotion that either tugged the heartstrings or made you laugh to forget your troubles. All of the singers and dancers formed a positive cohesive group, all sharing the same hopes and fears despite their differences.
There was Cassie played by Sage Coury. She had been in the spotlight earlier in her career and after a difficult relationship ended came back to just be “one of the girls” in the chorus line. Coury realized that having to reign in her high kicks and star quality was proving more difficult than she had anticipated. Alexandra Nicopoulos played Sheila, an almost washed up dancer who could freeze Lake Erie in the summer with just one cold stare. She was tall, built and had the attitude to go with it. Diana Morales, played by Claire Ashur, was the spunky dancer who felt “Nothing,” but she had the emotion and drive to go all the way.
Several of the young men also gave strong performances. Mike, played by Joshua Israel, showed everyone that guys can tap as well as dance. Israel had lots of energy and strong legs that carried him easily around the dance floor. Bobby was a delight to watch. Played by Sallieu Fullah, Bobby kept the audience at ease with his over dramatizing and big jazz hands. His dancing was just as big as his smile. Finally, Paul played by Michael Lamar, told an emotional story in Act 2 that showed a vulnerable side that all the finalist may have possessed, but only Paul was willing to show. It was quite touching.
There were some technical problems that caused the flow of the show to bounce a little. The follow spots did not always catch up to the performer fast enough and so there times when they were either in the dark or half of their body or face was not lit. There were some mic problems as well. There was rustling and in the larger groups there was some popping sounds that were at times distracting. Andrea Heininge and Kristina Hadley’s costumes didn’t quite represent the 1970s, although it could be argued that this production showed a generic time period (before cell phones and doctors made house calls) in the life of dance auditions on Broadway.
It was also interesting that one of the numbers, “Dance Ten; Looks Three” used alternate lyrics from the Broadway production. We spoke with the director after the show, he had to make that change (with permission of Tams-Witmark) to comply with the county school system.
However all that did not mar the high emotion and superb dancing by the Fairfax Academy Musical Theatre and Dance Department, who gave a great performance of a classic dance show.
Welcome to the Fairfax Academy Dance and Musical Theatre Actor’s studio production of A Chorus Line.
Individually, Andrea Heininge and I have wanted to do this production for a few years now, never suspecting it was on the others’ radar. This year we were fortunate to have the depth of performers available to put it together. We knew we needed at least seventeen strong dncers who could also sing and act. A very tall order.
Note: You will find that some of the themes in A Chorus Line are more of an adult nature. We hope we have handled them with grace, dignity, and a lot of humor. I believe these are the type of shows that we should be attempting at the Academy.
In 1976, Michael Bennett won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical and the Tony Award for Best Choreography for the Pulitzer prize-winning phenomenon A Chorus Line. Bennett, with producer Joseph Rapp, created A Chorus Line based on precedent-setting workshop process which he pioneered. In all he garnered Seven Tony Awards for his choreography and direction of Broadway shows and was nominated for an additional eleven.
Although his production has been around for over thirty years I feel it is still the best and most timely representation of the life of a working performer. These stories about individuals who show up before the sun rises to stand in lines around city blocks for hours in the cold, hoping for that 32-bar chance to show their wares to a director or producer. Most will be cut or “typed out” before they even come close. For those who do make it, money is not an issue. Most would work for food money or for free. Some even pay for the privilege. At the end of a career, a tally will probably show that it cost the performer far more than money but also friends, family, or any semblance of a normal life. But as Ethel Merman once sang, “Still you wouldn’t change it for a pot of gold!”
We dedicate this production to the memory of Michael Bennett, Bob Fosse and all the others who tirelessly gave back to the theatre until literally there was nothing left to give.
Special thanks to producer and Choreographer, Andrea Heininge and Music Director Tony Asher. Sorry guys! At least we will be doing therapy together! Also to Dave Saunders, Principal Dave Goldfarb, Judy Bowns & Wendy Knights for your wonderful support.
Michael Replogle, AEA
Photos provided by Fairfax Academy
- Larry: Rachel Fernandes
- Larry (Understudy): Kristiana Hadley
- Cassie: Sag Coury
- Cassie (Understudy): Kaitlin Nelson
- Sheila: Alexandra Nicopoulos
- Sheila (Understudy): Deanna Payne
- Val: Brianna Latrash
- Val (Understudy): Morgan Miller
- Diana: Claire Ashur
- Diana (Understudy): Chelsea Townsend
- Judy: Morgan Miller
- Judy (Understudy): Victoria Ciavarella
- Kristine: Kaitlin Nelson
- Kristine (Understudy): Erin Sullivan
- Maggie: Libby Dowell
- Maggie (Understudy): Deanna Payne
- Bebe: Anne Norland
- Bebe(Understudy): Deanna Payne
- Connie: Rose Mathews
- Connie (Understudy): Erin Sullivan
- Mike: Joshua Israel
- Richie: Jason Rath
- Don: Christopher Chandler-Liu
- Paul: Michael Lamar
- Mark: Reggie Herold
- Greg: Daxx Wieser
- Bobby: Sallieu Fullah
- Al: Anthony Ingargiola
- Vicki: Moira Ragen
- Vicki (Understudy): Chelsea Townsend
- Lois: Anna Bangerter
- Frank Gil Louis Brown III
- Butch: Griffy Collins
- Roy Sean Ross
- Tom: Connor Knusten
- Assistant to Zach: Kate Campbell
- Vocal Ensemble: Victoria Ciavarella, Danielle David-Thompson, Skye Lindberg, Deanna Payne, Chelsea Townsend
- Dance Ensemble: Czarina Attipoe, Dani Banks, Vera Barba, Emily Barnes, Christina Beaubeuf, Savannah Britt, Joey Day, Rachel Fallovollita, Kristina Hadley, Jenny Hagemeier, Drishti, Lakhia, Julia Lyon, Katara Mahdi, Brianna McCrave, Logan McTure, Nicole Mobley, Jasmyne Moore, Rebecca Ploykin, Samantha Ray, Christopher Saunders, Callie Schwartz, Rebecca Shapiro, Allison Thompson, Kristin Toler, Paul Watler, Lindsey Wheeler
- Saxaphone, Clarinet: Becca Welke
- Percussion: Ryan Whitcomb
- Trumpet: Will Dykstra
- Alto Sax: Kara Capell
- Flute: Sarah Ebhardt
- Trumpet: Chase Campbell
- Trombone: Michael Morgano
- Trombone: Aaron Kwok
- Percussion: Adam Ashforth
- Keyboards: JD Fartney
- Trumpet: Curt Christensen
- Piano: Tony Ashur
- Clarinet: Jane Lee
- Bass: Jenna Capell
- Director: Michael Replogle, AEA
- Producer and Choreographer: Andrea Heininge
- Music Director: Tony Ashur
- Technical Director: Ihsan Singleton
- Lighting Designer: Mile Luu
- Sound Sonsultant: Rich Bird
- Stage Manager: Vicki Clinch, McKenzie Moskowitz
- Program Design: Debby Anderson
- Costumes: Andrea Heininge, Kristina Hadley
- Photography: Professional Photo studio
- Poster Artwork: Cesar
- Videography: Digital Wave Productions
- Publicity: Paulina Nicopoulos, Jane Rath
Disclaimer: Fairfax Academy provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/7556.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.