Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 12, 2012

A Chorus Line

Berkshire Theatre Group
Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA
through July 21, 2012
by Amy Meek

The Berkshire Theatre Group’s presentation of “A Chorus Line” is filled with high energy and emotion as its cast takes over the stage during the opening sequence. Within the first few minutes, the audience finds itself immersed in the world of a dance audition complete with the tension, competitiveness and even humor of the experience. On the stage are nameless people. Only as the show goes on does the audience see a glimpse into the characters’ inner selves, which is the beauty of this musical.

The original production was created, directed, and choreographed by Michael Bennett, a dancer/director who wanted to make a show by dancers about dancers. “A Chorus Line” was immensely successful, winning nine Tony Awards. This production recreates the essence of the original, while giving it a fresh look through updated costumes and interpretation.

The cast works together beautifully as an ensemble. There is no one star, although there are certainly some standout performances. Natalie Caruncho (Diana) gives a nuanced portrayal of the spunky, idealistic Puerto Rican dancer. Matthew Bauman (Mike) and Neil Totton (Richie) wow the audience with strong technique and bravado in their solos. Eddie Gutierrez (Paul) delivers his intense monologue with strength and ease of emotion. Nili Bassman (Cassie) is stunning as she sings her difficult “Music and the Mirror” number, fighting for her place on stage. Noah Racey (Zach) holds the show together with his intensity and authority as he manipulates all of the dancers during the course of the audition. There are too many individual moments to mention, but every performer is given a chance to shine.

The choreography by Gerry McIntyre, a mixture of the original and new material, is spot-on and executed well by the dancers, especially the “Montage” and “Finale”. The vocals, directed by Steven Freeman, are also very strong. As a whole, Eric Hill’s direction of the show allows the dancers’ individual stories to shine through in the songs and dances. While an amazing spectacle to watch, the show is also introspective as it deals with the many issues dancers face during their struggles to make it in the dance world.