There could not have been many more exciting places to be in the Chicago area Feb. 2 than opening night of A Chorus Line at Drury Lane Theatre, where an exuberant full house cheered on the winning cast as they delivered a rousing performance peppered with several standout turns.
The music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban still pack a wonderful, hummable punch, and this production more than does it justice. In fact, the singing is even a bit better than the dancing, which is very good.
Vocal highlights include Yesy Garcia nailing the nuanced “Nothing” and “What I Did for Love” as Diana, and Sara Andreas, revealing one of the show’s deeper emotional through lines as Cassie with second-act opener “The Music and the Mirror.”
But there’s not a weak link in this company, which does a good job keeping focus on their development from disparate dancers into a tight-knit chorus line as they audition for a Broadway show being cast by hard-driving voice-of-God director Zach (Ryan Watkinson)
Director/choreographer Jane Lanier and her husband, associate director/choreographer Frank Kliegel, met 20 years ago when they played opposite each other as Zach and Cassie. Their deep connection to the show, staged here with a minimal set aside from a mirrored wall and light bars that can evoke everything from a dance barre to a church cross, shines through in this often funny (shout-out to Alexandra Palkovic and Caleigh Pan-Kita, as Sheila and Val, and to scene-stealer Sawyer Smith as Bobby), sometimes poignant (Martin Ortiz Tapia builds to a strong emotional finish as Paul, as do Andreas and Watkinson), always fast-paced production.
Photo by Brett Beiner