A Chorus Line

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A CHORUS LINE is a stunning concept musical capturing the spirit and tension of a Broadway chorus audition. Exploring the inner lives and poignant ambitions of professional Broadway gypsies, the show features one powerhouse number after another. Memorable musical numbers include “What I Did for Love, “One,” “I Can Do That,” “At the Ballet,” “The Music and the Mirror,” and “I Hope I Get It.” A brilliantly complex fusion of song, dance, and compellingly authentic drama, A CHORUS LINE 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, as 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 (“One”) and showing exactly the talent it takes to make it into A Chorus Line.

    -James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante

  • A CHORUS LINE

    Conceived and Originally Directed and Choreographed by
    Michael Bennett

    Book by                Music by                  Lyrics by
    James Kirkwood    Marvin Hamlisch     Edward Kleban
    & Nicholas Dante                                                             &

    Co Choreographed by Bob Avian

    Original Broadway production produced by the New York
    Shakespeare Festival, Joseph Papp, Producer, in association
    with Plum Productions, Inc.

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    A CHORUS LINE
    is presented by arrangement with
    TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC.
    560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022

  • 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

    2 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.

    Optional additional materials are available (see list under Rehearsal Materials).

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

    Optional Additional Materials

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

  • 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

    *Singers/Dancers used in large ensemble numbers, as Offstage Singers and as Understudies.

    Note: Because the on-stage performers are singing and dancing at the same time, the offstage singers are used for vocal support. However, the audience should never be aware that it is not hearing just the performers on stage.

    See the chart on page 4 of the Prompt Book for Dance Bag positioning.
    All bags should be a dark tone so they never pull your eye or catch the light.

    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, Robert LuPone and Carole Bishop, transferred to the Shubert Theatre on Broadway on July 25, 1975 and ran for 6,137 performances 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
    Coronado Playhouse CORONADO, CA 11/04/2016 12/11/2016
    Downtown Cabaret Theatre BRIDGEPORT, CT 11/18/2016 12/11/2016
    Los Angeles County High Sch./Arts LOS ANGELES, CA 12/09/2016 12/10/2016
    Centenary Performing Arts Guild HACKETTSTOWN, NJ 12/11/2016 12/18/2016
    Artistree Performing Arts MAMARONECK, NY 12/16/2016 12/18/2016
    Springfield Theatre Centre SPRINGFIELD, IL 01/13/2017 01/22/2017
    Evansville Civic Theatre EVANSVILLE, IN 01/20/2017 01/29/2017
    Erie Playhouse ERIE, PA 02/17/2017 03/05/2017
    Phillips Academy ANDOVER, MA 02/24/2017 02/25/2017
    Springfield High School HOLLAND, OH 03/10/2017 03/12/2017
    West Valley Light Opera Assn. LOS GATOS, CA 03/11/2017 04/08/2017
    University of Western Ontario LONDON, ON 03/15/2017 03/18/2017
    Oakland University ROCHESTER, MI 03/23/2017 04/02/2017
    Fine Arts Network dba Temecula Perf Arts MURRIETA, CA 03/24/2017 04/09/2017
    Broadening Theatrics NEW YORK, NY 03/31/2017 04/02/2017
    Mentor High School MENTOR, OH 04/06/2017 04/09/2017
    University of Alabama TUSCALOOSA, AL 04/13/2017 04/13/2017
    Alameda High School ALAMEDA, CA 04/20/2017 04/29/2017
    Southgate Community Players SOUTHGATE, MI 05/05/2017 05/13/2017
    Moses Brown School PROVIDENCE, RI 05/11/2017 05/13/2017
    Sante Fe College GAINESVILLE, FL 05/18/2017 05/26/2017
    High Street Arts Center MOORPARK, CA 06/02/2017 07/02/2017
    Central Piedmont Community College CHARLOTTE, NC 06/16/2017 06/24/2017
    Stage 212 LASALLE, IL 07/14/2017 07/30/2017
    Community Circle Theatre GRAND RAPIDS, MI 07/14/2017 07/29/2017
    Eight O'Clock Theatre SAFETY HARBOR, FL 07/14/2017 07/23/2017
    Municipal Theatre Assn. of St. Louis ST. LOUIS, MO 07/29/2017 08/04/2017
    Plaza Arts Center EATONTON, GA 07/29/2017 08/05/2017
    Enlightened Theatrics SALEM, OR 08/02/2017 08/27/2017