The cast of "A Chorus Line" at Theatre By The Sea through June 22 Source: Michael Derr

Review: 'A Chorus Line' Still Fresh in Theatre By The Sea's Production

Will Demers READ TIME: 3 MIN.

It's the 91st season at Wakefield, Rhode Island's Theatre By The Sea, and the season opener is one that celebrates musical theater in more ways than one; anyone who has ever desired to perform in a show in front of an audience will see themselves in this one. "A Chorus Line," with music by legend Marvin Hamlisch (EGOT recipient), lyrics by Edward Kleban, ("Madwoman of Central Park West"), and a book by James Kirkwood Jr., and Nicholas Dante, won the Pulitzer prize for drama.

The musical follows 17 actors auditioning for a Broadway show. Zack (Christopher deProphetis), the production's loud and boisterous director, puts the actors through their paces. Along with his assistant choreographer, Larry (Glenn Giron), Zack digs deep into their psyches.

Each of the actors is keen just to dance and sing, but Zack's obsessive vision of four boys and four girls perfectly suited to his production creates emotional strife, especially with Paul (Luciano Castaldo, adorable and fragile-looking) and Zack's ex-girlfriend Cassie (Cassie Stoner, a fabulous voice; plus, her dance solo is amazing to watch). He pushes back at the very self-confident Sheila (Kallie Takahashi; all eyes are on her every time she speaks), as well as at the very nervous newlywed Kristine (Ashley Bice) whose secret is that she cannot carry a tune. As Zack continues the casting process, the lines between audition and interrogation blur. Who will be in the chorus line? What is he looking for?

The cast of "A Chorus Line" at Theatre By The Sea through June 22

The original Broadway production premiered at the Shubert Theatre in July 1975, and the '70s sensibilities are evident in this show's musical choices. Some of the dancier numbers carry a disco-era flair, while others seem timeless. Yet, the message isn't lost here. "Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love" is still an anthem about puberty, and "The Music and the Mirror" is still a showstopper.

"A Chorus Line" was the longest-running musical until it was dethroned by "Cats" in 1997, but this show is vastly more fun to watch. Director Josh Walden keeps the cast moving about this theater's smaller stage deftly, and the choreography is a technical marvel. There are no flashy sets or costumes to detract from the drama – or the comedy, for that matter.

Each actor gets their moment to shine, and there's plenty of talent on this stage. John Reed's Greg is fun to watch, Connor Barton's Mark is a standout for his flair, and Emma Stricker's Connie is fun to watch. Christopher deProphetis is slick as the formidable Zack, and he is keen to bark directions at any moment. This show is truly a dissection of the process. Several hours of sessions with real Broadway actors were taped, and this was the basis of the idea of the show. Perhaps it's why the show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won nine. Performed here without an intermission, "A Chorus Line" still flows well; just use those facilities before the opening curtain.

"A Chorus Line" is running through June 22nd at Theatre By The Sea, 245 Cards Pond Road, Wakefield, RI 02879. For information or tickets call 401-782-8587 or visit

by Will Demers

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