The 1975 Tony winner for Best Musical is still considered a quintessential Broadway production decades after its premiere. Audiences for whom the term “Broadway musical” is synonymous with the grandeur of Andrew Lloyd Weber or vivid spectacle of “Wicked” might question its enduring legacy. That its popularity has also endured despite the show’s minimalist vibe, from set to costumes to choreography, can be credited to a story that’s still hitting a nerve and characters we can still identify with more than 30 years later — two elements that were on display in Thursday’s performance.
The characters are based on the show’s original cast members — professional dancers who opened up about life on the Broadway audition circuit during a theater workshop with show director and choreographer Michael Bennett.
The current tour’s young cast, many noticeably younger than the roll in which they’ve been cast, could have been excused for glossing over the complex themes of failure, humiliation and humility told in the show’s evocative lines and lyrics still wildly relevant today.
As singers and dancers, the company was perfectly lovely, however, as actors they were outstanding — at times funny, sympathetic, maddening and inspiring, handling topics of lingering controversy such as homosexuality, infidelity and promiscuity with what comes off as effortless humanity.
Always aiding performers in the PAC is the venue’s curious way of drawing every seat into the heart of the action. It is a trait that’s been noted before, and it did not go unnoticed by this company.
Caley Crawford, a Houston native who plays former star-turned-chorus hopeful Cassie, said the entire cast noticed the quality of the theater’s acoustics.
“The sound was amazing. A lot of times we can hear echoes up on stage; we’ll have problems with the reverb,” Crawford said. “But tonight the balance was perfect.”
The presentation of “A Chorus Line” brought to a close the Knox Concert Series’ 67th season, a season that brought multiple internationally celebrated acts to the area, including the legendary Russian National Ballet Theatre, country music icon Ronnie Dunn of Brooks and Dunn, and seven-time Billboard World Artist of the Year Celtic Woman.
Tickets for the 2013-2014 season are on sale now. The schedule has not yet been announced. For more information, visit their website at knoxconcertseries.org.