A Chorus Line Comes to Olney Theatre

Jul 17, 2013
A Chorus Lines

Olney Theatre Center will produce the groundbreaking Tony Award-winning musical A Chorus Line August 1 through September 1 on the Mainstage. With 24 performers and 8 musicians in the pit, A Chorus Line is the largest musical in Olney Theatre Center history.

Featuring the hit Broadway songs "What I Did for Love," "One," and "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three" A Chorus Line follows 17 dancers competing for eight coveted spots in the chorus of a Broadway musical. Throughout the audition, they bare their souls while sharing stories of their childhood, ambitions, fears, and experiences in show business. This musical is for anyone who has ever put it all on the line, whether for promotion, attention, approval, or love. 

"In the nearly 40 years since A Chorus Line swept the Tony Awards, we may have forgotten just how revolutionary this musical was.  The first major musical created by a group of artists - dancers, even! - rather than a traditional writer/composer team.  The first major musical to eschew standard book-and-song format.  The first major musical to tackle controversial issues so frankly, and so personally.  And the first major musical to celebrate theater and theatermakers. Musicals are American theater's gift to the world, and A Chorus Line revolutionized the American musical theater," says Olney Theatre Center Artistic Director Jason Loewith.

Director and Choreographer Stephen Nachamie, director of 1776, Camelot, and You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, returns to Olney Theatre Center to direct and choreograph A Chorus Line.

"Seeing this show on Broadway at 13 confirmed my passion for wanting to be in the Theatre, and helped me see others who live that passion in an endearing and enlightening way.  I began my A Chorus Line performing and directing journey at 18 - and it was the best master class I could have ever asked for," says Mr. Nachamie. "When Olney Theatre Center approached me about doing this show, we discussed how we wanted to take a fresh look at the piece. I wanted to allow enough rehearsal time for the actors to not only learn the complex choreography and amazing score, but also to dig deep into the text. We always talk about A Chorus Line being a Tony Award-winning show, but what many people may not know is that it also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama."

"I am excited about the talented cast we have assembled for this production," says Mr. Nachamie. "A Chorus Line is the ultimate lesson about the business of theatre - a show about theatre gypsies, triple threats, people who give their all to the theatre, and we have 24 actors who embody these qualities ready to share their passion with the audience."

Playing the role of the once successful solo dancer looking for a second chance and a former love of Zach, Cassie, is Broadway veteran Nancy Lemenager. Ms. Lemenager is no stranger to dance heavy shows having played Velma in the Broadway production of Chicago, Brenda in Twyla Tharp's Movin'Out and Penny in Never Gonna Dance. She has also performed in the Broadway productions of Kiss Me Kate, Dream, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, and Guys and Dolls.

Some of the cast members also have a history with A Chorus Line, including Carl Randolph, who plays director Zach in this production. Mr. Randolph's first professional production was the 1982 National Tour of A Chorus Line where he played Bobby. Olney Theatre Center audiences will remember him from his roles as Arthur in Camelot, The Constable in Fiddler on the Roof, and John Hancock in 1776.

Bryan Knowlton, who plays Paul, was in the 2006 Broadway Revival of A Chorus Line, as well as the 1st National Broadway Tour of the show. Mr. Knowlton also appeared as Noah Claypole in the 1st National Tour of Oliver!

Taking on the role of Diana Morales is Broadway veteran Michelle Aravena. Ms. Aravena played Tricia in the 2007 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line and is featured on the cast recording. Ms. Aravena headlined the 1st National Tour of West Side Story as Anita, as well as the 1st National Tours of Momma Mia and Jersey Boys. Ms. Aravena joins the production directly from a production of World Goes 'Round at the new Bucks County Playhouse, where she performed alongside Tony Award-nominees Emily Skinner and Tom Hewitt.

Rounding out the cast are Kurt Boehm, Elyse Collier, Jennifer Cordiner, Parker Drown, Sam Edgerly, Christie Farrell, Jay Garrick, Colleen Hayes, Jaimie Kelton, Heidi L. Kershaw, Angela Millin, Taylor Elise Rector, Kyle Schliefer, Steven Sofia, Momoko Sugai, Derek John Tatum, Tony Thomas, Joseph Tudor and Carl Wilson.