Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 21, 2016

A Chorus Line

Playhouse on Park, West Hartford,  CT
through July 31
by Barbara Stroup

Playhouse on Park proves something with the production of every play, and “A Chorus Line” is no exception. The list of superlatives is endless for this production and its cast, but the director’s and choreographer’s abilities to make a condensed space (in Broadway terms) feel vast must be the first one on the list. But wait, shouldn’t it be the energy, or the movement, the singing by the youthful cast --- or perhaps the highest accolade should go to the sincerity of each solo performance, or better yet, to the tightness of the ensemble vocal and dance numbers?

Photo by Rich Wagner
In its hands, this conception of “A Chorus Line” is no repetition of something we all knew and loved 30 years ago. It is fresh, relevant, and touching with a balance of pathos and comedy that still honors the original creators. Running through this amazing production is the golden thread of memory and time – memories that sear when past histories come forth, as well as each dancer’s personal dedication and commitment to what the future holds for choices already made.

One hesitates to highlight individual performances when a group works this well together. In response to the persistent probing of the “director” Zach, Alex Polsun as Mike sets a standard for all that follows in “I Can Do That” – he lets the audience know that this company will not hold back. Outstanding also is Bobbi Barricella in “What I Did For Love,” as well as Andee Buccheri’s self-revealing “Dance: Ten Looks: Three.”

But back to where this review began – the use of space. Where many musical theatre directors might see a problem, Sean Harris capitalizes on the intimacy of the U-shape and stage-level seating. His staging cannot help but draw every audience member into an unforgettable and peak experience.