A Chorus Line at WBT

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 By: GARY CHATTMAN Source: Westchester Arts & Education Review

       This major development in the history of American musical theatre debuted on Broadway in 1975, where it ran for 6,137 performances.  I’m not going to go into the history of how the Broadway show came to be, back then, but here in Elmsford, the spirits of Michael Bennett (creator and choreographer), Joseph Papp (producer), Nicholas Dante (the libretto), Marvin Hamlisch and Ed Kleban (music and lyrics) are hovering over the stage in Elmsford, for the Westchester Broadway Theatres’ fantastic incantation of “A Chorus Line.” 

          “Everything is beautiful at this ballet because of the direction and choreography of Mark Martino.  This genius (with obviously the muses of the people I have mentioned in the first paragraph) has gifted Westchester with this ode to Broadway—this song to the desire of success, the pain of failure, and the agony of trying.  This show speaks to all of us, and the voice provided by Mr. Martino tells us “What he Did For Love”—and that’s to create this masterpiece for the Westchester Broadway Theatre.  His re-creation of the original choreography—and his adaptation to the three-sided stage are magical.

          Bob Bray—Musical Director—has the “beat” to uplift his performers and his audience.  He has left “Nothing” to chance here.

          The plot, as we all know it, is that dancers/singers are auditioning for a show, piloted by a man named Zach (played admirably by David Elder.)  Each dancer auditions for Zach, and, consequently, tells his reason for dancing and performing and a bit of his life history.  Thus, from the musical, we learn about the characters in this unique show.  Only a few will be chosen.  Through song, dance and acting, the audience roots for its favorite, revealed at the end in the rousing dance number, “One,” which illustrates that all performers on that stage are “one” in their hopes and desires, and the audience is “one” in its engagement with the hearts and desires of the actors.

          The stars: a top-notch performance from Erica Mansfield as “Cassie”, who once was in a relationship with Zach…   Ms. Mansfield transforms the bare stage in her dancing/singing throughout the show, but particularly in “The Music and the Mirror.”  I wish to list the rest of the cast here, for all are faultless in this show.   There’s Lauren Sprague (Sheila); Diana, played by Alexandra Matteo (“Nothing”); Greg, played by Joseph Cullinane; Mike, played by Drew Carr (“I Can Do That”); Bebe, played by Kelsey Walston; Maggie, played by Emily Kelly and Mark, played by PJ Palmer are polished, talented, Broadway performers.  The song, “At The Ballet,” as sung by Sheila, Bebe, and Maggie, is an absolute standout.

         This “singular sensation” is only appearing here until April.  It is imperative, for we who live in Westchester—only 45 minutes from Broadway—to see this show.  If you like a spectacle; if you like singing; if you like real showmanship—this is this show for you.  I keep reminding you of Broadway tickets.  If you have $300 for tickets, and $50 for parking, and $200 for dinner, then, by all means, go to Broadway. If you watch your budget and are smart, all you have to do is go to the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford.  For the price of a ticket, they serve you a fine meal and parking is free.  You simply cannot beat the prices in 2018.  And, I promise you, the show “A Chorus Line” is far superior to many on Broadway.

          So—remember—“Kiss today goodbye, and point me toward tomorrow.  We did what we had to do.  Won’t forget, can’t regret, What I did for love.”  Today, tomorrow—don’t forget, don’t regret—do what you have to do—and that is to go to Westchester Broadway Theatre immediately to see “A Chorus Line.”