A Chorus Line

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A CHORUS LINE is a stunning musical-vérité about a chorus audition for a Broadway musical. It tells of the achingly poignant ambitions of professional Broadway gypsies to land a job in the show, and is a powerful metaphor for all human aspiration. Memorable musical numbers include I Can Do That, At the Ballet, Dance: Ten; Looks: Three, The
Music and the Mirror, What I Did for Love, One (Singular Sensation)
and I Hope I Get It. It is a brilliantly complex fusion of dance, song and compellingly authentic drama. The show was instantly recognized as a classic.

*Music samples provided courtesy of Hallmark Recordings and Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • A CHORUS LINE is a celebration of those unsung heroes of the American Musical Theatre-the chorus dancers, those valiant, over dedicated, underpaid, highly trained performers who back up the star or stars and often make them look even more talented than they are. It is also a celebration of the American Musical itself.
    A CHORUS LINE is also about competition, and competition might easily be the common denominator that grabs the audience and holds it by the collective heartstring until the final, ultimate choices are made. For everyone, at one time or another, puts his life on the line. We all compete, no matter what business we’re in, for promotion, for attention, for approval and for love.
    Specifically, A CHORUS LINE takes the audience through the final grueling audition run by the director, Zach, for a new Broadway musical. At the beginning of the show, Zach, a driven, compulsive worker, has assembled thirty semi-finalists and is putting them through a vigorous series of dance combinations, including ballet and jazz. Soon he thinks this group down to the final sixteen, eight boys and eight girls. They and the audience know that eventually this number will be cut in half and Zach will choose only four boys and four girls to be in his new musical.
    Instead of having them read a short audition scene, Zach wants to elicit a personal history from each one: how they got into “show business,” why they became dancers, what their hopes, fantasies and aspirations are. As he calls upon them individually, they react in every possible way, from bravado to reticence. From childhood on, their memories emerge, blending into a seamless series of musical numbers and monologues, some humorous -Dance: Ten; Looks: Three, some poignant-At the Ballet, some group reminiscences when they all share their adolescent experiences-Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love and some intimate when he calls upon Cassie, his former lover who has returned from California to ask for a chorus job after having been a featured performer-The Music and the Mirror.
    As their individual stories pour out in song-Nothing and in spoken words (Paul’s monologue), interspersed by learning dance routines that reveal their ability to perform as a faceless drill team-One, the audience, as well as Zach, gets to know each one of these ambitious entertainers individually, so that by the show’s end, they can identify and root for their favorites as well as empathize with all of them because-they all need the job, they all want to work at their craft.
    A CHORUS LINE departs from the usual glossy backstage musical by presenting a true picture of what it’s like to be in the theatre: glamorous-yes, at times, but also tough, heartbreaking and sometimes even tragic, in the case of Paul who is knocked out of the competition by an injury sustained during a dance number-The Tap Combination.
    After these brave dancers explain why they go through a life filled with rejection and injury-What I Did for Love, Zach makes his selection, eliminating the last group who reluctantly leave the stage. The lights soon fade on the remaining eight ecstatic dancers as they are told to prepare for rehearsals of their new Broadway show. They fade only to come up as each performer, now dressed in full, shimmering finale costume, reappears to receive an individual bow before joining together to perform the brilliant dance finale and showing exactly the talent it takes to make it into-a chorus line.
    -James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante

  • Conceived and Originally Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett
    Book by James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante
    Music by Marvin Hamlisch
    Lyrics by Edward Kleban
    Co-Choreographed by Bob Avian
    Original Broadway production produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, Joseph Papp, Producer, in association with Plum Productions, Inc.

  • Full Orchestration:

    1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute, Alto Flute (or Clarinet), Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed II: Piccolo, Flute, Eb Clarinet (or Flute), Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed III: Oboe (or Clarinet), English Horn (or Clarinet), Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed IV: Flute (or Clarinet), Clarinet, Eb Contrabass Clarinet (or Bassoon), Bassoon & Baritone Saxophone

    1 Trumpet I & II (both doubling Flugelhorn)
    1 Trumpet III (doubling Flugelhorn)
    1 Trombone I (tenor)
    1 Trombone II (tenor)
    1 Trombone III (bass)

    2 Percussion I & II:

    (I) Mallet Instruments:

    Glockenspiel
    Vibraphone
    Xylophone
    Chimes
    Timpani (2 drums)
    Bongos (2)
    Congas (2)
    Triangle
    Small Triangle
    Wood Blocks (2)
    Gran Cassa
    Tom-tom
    Tambourine
    Cowbell
    Maracas
    Cabasa
    Bell Plate
    Bell Tree

    (II) Trap Drums:

    Bass Drum
    Snare Drum
    Hi-Hat
    Cymbals
    Tom-toms (3)
    Floor Tom
    Triangle
    Wood Block
    Cowbell

    1 Keyboard I (multiple registrations; principally Piano)
    1 Keyboard II (multiple registrations; principally Harp)
    1 Keyboard III (multiple registrations; principally Strings)

    1 Bass (Acoustic, Electric & Bass Guitar)

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

    A Full Score (Partitur) in 2 volumes is available, at an additional charge, with the rental of the full orchestration.

  • 1       Piano Conductor’s Score
    1       Prompt Book
    22     Prompt Books for Dialogue Parts
    1       Original Cast CD
    26     Chorus-Vocal Parts

  • Running the Audition

    (2 male)

    Zach — Director/Choreographer
    Larry — Zach’s assistant

    Auditioning Actors

    (9 female; 8 male — audition numbers in parentheses)

    Cassie (no number)
    Sheila (152)
    Val (179)
    Diana (2)
    Judy (23)
    Kristine (10)
    Maggie (9)
    Bebe (37)
    Connie (149)

    Mike (81)
    Richie (44)
    Don (5)
    Paul (45)
    Mark (63)
    Greg (67)
    Bobby (84)
    Al (17)

    Others

    (3 female; 4 male)

    Vicki (60)
    Tricia (131)
    Lois (53) — ballerina; non-speaking

    Frank (59) — headband boy; non-speaking
    Butch (14) — non-speaking
    Roy (36) — wrong-arm boy
    Tom (40) — counts with his mouth; non-speaking

    The original Broadway production had a cast of 26 performers. The show has no dedicated chorus. No doubling was employed.

  • Opening Off Broadway at The Public Theater on April 15, 1975, A CHORUS LINE, originally starring Donna McKechnie, Sammy Williams and Carole Bishop, transferred to the Shubert Theatres on Broadway on July 25, 1975 and ran for 6,137 before closing on April 28, 1990.  On September 29, 1983, A CHORUS LINE became the longest-running show in Broadway history.  In London it played 903 performances at the Theatre Royale, Drury Lane. It was revived at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway in 2006 and played for 759 performances.

    Awards (1976):

    9 Tony Awards for Musical, Book, Score, Choreography, Director, Actress, Featured Actor, Featured Actress, and Lighting Design.
    4 Drama Desk Awards for Music, Director, Choreographer and Actress
    3 Obie Awards for Actress, Actor and Special Citation.
    The Theatre World Special Award
    The Pulitzer Prize for Drama

    Awards (1984):

    Special Gold Tony Award in honor of becoming Broadway’s longest-running musical.

    Awards (2007)

    2 Tony Awards for Revival and Featured Actress

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

    Search for performances near you
    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Baldwin-Wallace College BEREA, OH 11/13/2014 11/23/2014
    Binghamton University BINGHAMTON, NY 11/14/2014 11/23/2014
    Rock N The Mike Productions WELLINGTON, FL 12/04/2014 12/14/2014
    Riverdale YM-YWHA RIVERDALE, NY 12/06/2014 01/04/2015
    Teenbroadway SAO PAULO 12/19/2014 12/20/2014
    Show Palace Dinner Theatre HUDSON, FL 01/15/2015 03/01/2015
    Theatre Cedar Rapids CEDAR RAPIDS, IA 01/23/2015 02/14/2015
    Teen City Stage CHARLOTTE, NC 01/30/2015 02/01/2015
    Asheville Community Theatre ASHEVILLE, NC 02/06/2015 03/01/2015
    Florida Southern College LAKELAND, FL 02/12/2015 02/22/2015
    Orange County School of the Arts SANTA ANA, CA 02/26/2015 03/01/2015
    The Kinkaid School HOUSTON, TX 02/27/2015 03/01/2015
    Southampton Cultural Center SOUTHAMPTON, NY 03/05/2015 03/22/2015
    HarborSide Productions LLC NORTHPORT, NY 03/19/2015 05/03/2015
    Oak Park High School OAK PARK, CA 03/26/2015 03/28/2015
    Sunnyvale Community Players SANTA CLARA, CA 04/03/2015 04/26/2015
    Short North Stage COLUMBUS, OH 04/09/2015 04/26/2015
    Hagerstown Community College HAGERSTOWN, MD 04/23/2015 04/26/2015
    Exit 7 Players LUDLOW, MA 04/24/2015 05/09/2015
    Carroll High School SOUTHLAKE, TX 04/30/2015 05/02/2015
    Star Playhouse at the Suffolk Y JCC COMMACK, NY 05/16/2015 05/31/2015
    Mesa Encore Theatre MESA, AZ 05/22/2015 06/07/2015
    Napier Operatic Society NAPIER, HB 06/18/2015 07/04/2015
    The Harlequin Theatre AUCKLAND 06/27/2015 07/11/2015
    Queensland Conservatorium - Griffith Un. WOOLLOONGABBA 08/11/2015 08/29/2015
    5th Avenue Musical Theatre Company SEATTLE, WA 02/02/2016 02/28/2016
    Riverside Theatre, Inc. VERO BEACH, FL 03/08/2016 03/27/2016