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Chorus Line to return to Broadway in 2006

 
 
mac11
 
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 09:47 am
'A Chorus Line' Will Return to Broadway
By Jesse McKinley

Published: January 12, 2005


That singular sensation is coming back: "A Chorus Line" will be revived on Broadway next year.

Sixteen years after it closed a record-setting run at the Shubert Theater, Michael Bennett's landmark musical about the lives of Broadway dancers is to be restaged with the help of three of the original production's creators: the composer Marvin Hamlisch, the designer Robin Wagner and the choreographer Bob Avian. Produced by John Breglio, the powerful entertainment lawyer who controls Mr. Bennett's estate (he died of AIDS in 1987), "A Chorus Line" will open on Sept. 21, 2006, at a theater to be named.

Interviewed on Monday afternoon, Mr. Breglio and the creative team described their decision to revive the musical as exciting and almost inevitable.

"For the last five years, I got countless calls from many, many people asking me when would 'Chorus Line' be brought back to Broadway," Mr. Breglio said. "But for a long time, for whatever reason, we didn't think it was the right time. So we waited and waited, and I woke up one day and said, 'My sense is the right time is now.' "

Mr. Avian, who choreographed the original production with Mr. Bennett, will direct the revival, and Mr. Hamlisch will orchestrate and oversee the music. Mr. Wagner, who designed the show's minimalist set (bare stage, a single toe line on the floor, a wall of rotating mirrors), will recreate that look, although with some technological advancements.

The three men, who were in their late 20's or early 30's when the show first opened, said they wanted to put the show on again before age or infirmity made their involvement impossible. "We said, 'Let's do it while we can,' " Mr. Avian said with a laugh. "Because if we wait much longer, we won't be able to."

In addition to Mr. Bennett, who conceived and directed the original production, many of the other original creative personnel have died since the show's triumphant Broadway debut in 1975: the writers of the book, James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante; the lyricist, Edward Kleban; and the producer, Joseph Papp.

For those who somehow missed its 15-year-run on Broadway, which ended in 1990, "A Chorus Line" tells the story of a group of workaday dancers who are auditioning for a director - and for the audience. Developed from a series of workshops and drawn from interviews with dozens of hardened hoofers, the show opened quietly at the Public Theater, but its good buzz and rave reviews quickly made it a hot ticket. Two months after opening downtown the show jumped to Broadway, where it won nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. It ran for a record 6,137 performances. ("Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera" later surpassed it.)

The length of its original run may raise questions about who is left to see it and how many will pay to see it again.

Mr. Breglio's hunch? A lot.

"In addition to the audience that has not seen it, that new generation, there's a second audience that has experienced it - either performed in it or seen it around the country - but never seen it at the standard of quality that you see in a Broadway production," he said. "And there's a final audience, the millions that saw it once or twice or three times, that have to see it again."

That said, Mr. Breglio, who has never produced a show on Broadway but was Mr. Bennett's lawyer and friend, deflected the suggestion that the revival was being done to cash in on a revered property.

"I'm not sitting here thinking this is some slam dunk, that all you have to do is throw 'A Chorus Line' on stage and suddenly you'll make a lot of money," he said. "Far from it. But every single person I've talked to and asked to be a part of this show, their reaction is 'Whatever we have to do, we have to do it.' "

The creative team agreed, saying they felt enormous pressure to care for - and expand upon - the artistic legacy of Mr. Bennett.

"I feel strongly that the star of the show is the show," Mr. Hamlisch said. "And I feel a real kind of charge to infuse the new generation with what it was, so that they really understand what this thing they heard about was."

The team does not envision major changes to the show's look or any to its score or book. But Mr. Breglio added: "We're dealing with the crown jewels, and there's so many people in this business who look at it that way, that we have to be able to say that 'Yes, they are the crown jewels, but maybe we have to tinker.' And that's the challenge."

In addition to its confessional style and frankness about issues like homosexuality and plastic surgery, "A Chorus Line" was also groundbreaking in that it came out of a nonprofit theater (the Public, then known as the New York Shakespeare Festival) and a workshop process; neither was common then in the commercial theater. The show was a huge moneymaker for the Public - estimated to have earned more than $35 million - but after it closed on Broadway, the rights reverted to the authors.

Mr. Breglio left open the possibility that the Public would participate somehow in the new production. "There's a position for the Shakespeare Festival in all of our hearts, and it will obviously be reflected," he said.

Many details are still being worked out, and the show's $7 million to $8 million capitalization still needs to be raised. The show has no theater and its old home, the Shubert, is currently booked by a new musical, Monty Python's "Spamalot." And everyone involved expects a high level of scrutiny from passionate fans and nostalgic critics.

"This is not an easy project," Mr. Breglio said. "It is still daunting as far as the economics. And we don't have a crystal ball. But we all love it."

"How could you not do it," Mr. Wagner interjected, "if you had the chance?"


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/12/theater/newsandfeatures/12broa.html (registration required)
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 16,316 • Replies: 73
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 09:53 am
Okay, I'd go and see it again. I'm a sucker.

I can't believe that it ran for 15 years and now it's been 15 years since it closed. God I'm getting old.

I think it's funny that the article mentions that the Shubert is booked by a new Monty Python musical. Anybody want to take bets on whether that production will still be a hindrance 18 months from now? Very Happy
0 Replies
 
bree
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 10:15 pm
I'll take that bet: I have a hunch Spamalot (the Monty Python musical, which is based on the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail) is going to be a hit. Maybe they just have a really good publicity machine, but there's been an awful lot of buzz about it even before it's opened. Plus, it's directed by Mike Nichols.
0 Replies
 
mac11
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 11:49 pm
I must admit that I did no research at all before I made that bet, but since I put it out there - what stakes should we bet? Very Happy
0 Replies
 
bree
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 04:14 pm
Let's see ... how about the original cast CD of any Broadway musical of the winner's choice?

And just so we're clear on the terms of this wager (can you tell I'm a lawyer?), are we betting on whether Spamalot will have closed before the revival of A Chorus Line begins preview performances?
0 Replies
 
mac11
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 09:07 pm
How about betting that the revival of Chorus Line will be in the Schubert?

I'm on for the CD!
0 Replies
 
bree
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 09:13 pm
It's a bet!
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 09:17 pm
Excellent!

I saw it the first time in December of '77 from the back row of the back balcony at the Schubert. Lovely ceiling. Tiny actors on a distant stage. I loved it anyway, and have seen it several times since from a better vantage point.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 09:19 pm
I gather this means you kids won't be coming to go off-off-Broadway with me in April. <sob>
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 09:27 pm
Bethie, I'm still a maybe for the April trip. I have another trip tentatively planned for April that might get postponed - if it does, I'm on!
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 09:33 pm
http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=43309&highlight=

I've found some kind of fun off-off options.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 10:10 pm
Spamalot looks great! There was an article about it in the New Yorker, I wanna see it. Basically the pythons haven't done anything together in quite a while and are generally anti-python, so they read what Eric Idle had put together with skepticism and then laughed their butts off and said "how can I help?" Remember that Eric Idle is behind stuff like "The Galaxy Song" (I sang it in a musical in Jr. hi school):

And things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft,
And you feel that you've had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough...


Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the "Milky Way".


Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.


(Animated calliope interlude)


The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

You can listen to it here!

http://www.gecdsb.on.ca/d&g/astro/music/Galaxy_Song.html

I think Spamalot will do better than the new Chorus Line, so there! :-D
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 10:15 pm
New Yorker article:

http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/?041220crat_atlarge

This is the part that sold me:

Quote:
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 11:32 pm
You're right. Spamalot sounds great. When does it open?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2005 08:48 am
Dunno... I think previews are supposed to have started in Chicago (?).
0 Replies
 
bree
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2005 11:27 am
Spamalot starts previews on Broadway on February 14, with an opening night of March 17. The Chicago run (interestingly, at the Shubert Theater in Chicago) opened on December 21 and closes on January 23.
0 Replies
 
Jack Webbs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 09:31 pm
Excluding ballet I believe I enjoy dance productions at least as much as I do good theatre if not more.

I visited Radio City Music Hall several times many years ago and enjoyed the "Rockettes" so much. I don't believe I ever got over it!

A couple of years ago, I checked out "A Chorus Line", the video with Michael Douglas. Several times since then I thought about buying it. Today as I was rummaging through a basket of tapes and DVDs on sale at Wal Mart I came across the video for $7.50. I had second thoughts and decided to check Half.com and see if it was available there. Sure enough it was @ $2.50 (no tax!) and I should be receiving it in a few days.

Our local community college has nice dance reviews now and then. I never miss them. I enjoy them and even when I go to a ballroom dance I enjoy watching good dancers probably as much as I enjoy dancing myself although I am not a good dancer.

Doubt I will ever see Broadway so the local arts will do. Not bad at all.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Mar, 2005 03:38 pm
A rave for Spamalot! (NYT was more subdued):

Quote:


http://www.newyorker.com/critics/theatre/
0 Replies
 
bree
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Mar, 2005 03:48 pm
I'm glad somebody liked it, since I've got tickets for August 13. I had to go that far out to get even halfway decent seats. Imagine my chagrin when I told the search engine I wanted center orchestra seats for any Saturday matinee in July or August, and immediately got back a "We don't have any seats that meet your criteria" message!

I'm glad you characterized John Lahr's review as a rave, because I didn't want to read it before seeing the show. I find that his reviews often give away much more than I want to know about a show before I see it. I don't imagine Spamalot holds many surprises, but I want whatever surprises there are to be just that.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Mar, 2005 03:50 pm
Well suffice it to say that from the review, I'm way jealous that you have tickets.
0 Replies
 
 

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