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A Chorus Line Extended

By Casey Long, 2016-07-18

Chance Theater proudly presents an intimate interpretation of the legendary musical, A Chorus Line. Due to overwhelming demand, five shows have been added.

This winner of nine Tony Awards, five Drama Desk Awards and the Pulitzer Prize runs until August 7 on the Cripe Stage at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center.

A Chorus Line. Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, directed by Chance’s Artistic Director Oanh Nguyen, choreographed by Hazel Clarke, with music direction by Ryan O’Connell.  

A Chorus Line takes place in an empty theater, on a bare stage, where the casting session for a new Broadway musical is almost complete. For 24 dancers, this audition is the chance of a lifetime. It’s what they’ve worked for—with every drop of sweat, every hour of training, every day of their lives. It’s the one opportunity to do what they’ve always dreamed—to have the chance to dance.

A Chorus Line is the musical for anyone who’s ever had a dream and put it all on the line. Funny and exhilarating, yet raw and personal at its core, the Chance is going to bring new life to this groundbreaking show that lifted the veil on the anonymous faces behind the stars, and uncovered a heart-rending truth about what drives artists yesterday and today.

After its smash success in 1975, A Chorus Line went on to a then record-breaking 15-year 6,137 performance run, making it the longest running show on Broadway at the time. It has spawned numerous revivals in the intervening years as well as a 1985 movie adaptation, a 2009 documentary about the original production, a 2006 Broadway revival, and the book On the Line: The Creation of “A Chorus Line” by Robert Viagas in collaboration with original cast members Baayork Lee and Thommie Walsh.

Although audiences around the globe are familiar with the show’s standout numbers, “One,” “What I Did for Love,” and “I Hope I Get It”, among others, as well as what has become a cliché of leg warmers and twirling mirrors, Chance Theater hopes to create a production that captures the groundbreaking spirit of the original. While 1975’s A Chorus Line challenged musical theater conventions with an honesty of subject matter and non-linear storytelling uncommon in musical theater at the time, director Oanh Nguyen is looking to modernize this classic piece, pulling it forward and contextualizing it for contemporary audiences.

“It's a bit like the original reality TV show,” says Nguyen. “This director decides at an audition for the chorus to force these vulnerable people who are desperate to win the prize to answer very personal and intrusive questions. It's also the story of how far these young people will go and how much they are willing to fight, sweat, and literally bleed for a chance to do what they love -- even to be ‘just’ in the chorus line.”

Oanh Nguyen (Director) has been serving as Chance Theater’s founding Artistic Director since 1999. Oanh is a recipient of TCG’s New Generations Grant and the TCG Nathan Cummings Young Leaders of Color Fellowship. He was awarded the Outstanding Artist Award by Arts Orange County, profiled in Orange County Register’s “Most Influential People” 2014 series and OC Weekly’s 2014 People Issue, inducted into Anaheim High School’s Hall of Fame and recently was the commencement speaker to the 2014 graduation class of Chapman University College of Performing Arts. Oanh was Producing Associate at South Coast Repertory for four years. He also served on the advisory board of the Anaheim High School Performing Arts Conservatory, the board of Network of Ensemble Theatres, LA’s 99-seat Transitional Committee, multiple SDC committees and grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group. Oanh is a proud member of SDC and SAG-AFTRA. His directing credits include productions at Chance Theater, East West Players, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and South Coast Repertory, and served as the Associate Director for the international tour of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish (Berkeley Repertory, South Coast Repertory, Hong Kong Arts Festival). His selected film credits include Two Brothers directed by Jean-Jacques Annaude, Rush Hour 3 directed by Brett Ratner, and Lonely Boy directed by Dale Fabrigar (Best First Feature Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Louisiana International Film Festival and Audience Award Winner at the 2013 BolderLife Festival).

In addition to Oanh Nguyen, the production team for A Chorus Line includes choreographer Hazel Clarke (Chance debut), music director Ryan O’Connell (Loch Ness), scenic designer Fred Kinney (Loch Ness, Passion Play), lighting designer Martha Carter (After the Revolution), sound designer Ryan Brodkin (Dogfight), costume designer Bradley Lock (Hairspray), resident artist Nicole Schlitt as stage manager, and Sophie Cripe as our dramaturg.

The cast for this production of A Chorus Line includes returning artists Ben Green (The Big Meal), Ashley Arlene Nelson (Dogfight), Tasha Tormey (Little Women), Victoria Rafael (Legends of Sleepy Hollow), Camryn Zelinger (Hairspray), Dannielle Green (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Angeline Mirenda (In The Heights), Tina Nguyen (She Loves Me), Joseph Ott (Hairspray), John Wells III (Dogfight), Monika Pena (Dogfight), and John Wells (Hairspray). Making their Chance debuts with this production are Tatiana Alvarez, Emily Abeles, Ben Heustess, Christopher Mosley, Xavier Castaneda, Brandon Carter, Robbie Lundegard, Garrett Engle, Calvin Brady, Carolyn Lupin, Liz Williams-Borud, Damon Williams and Dustin Nguyen.

Sophie and Larry Cripe are the Executive Producers for this production, with Laurie Smits Staude and Rachelle Menaker & Eddie Schuller as Associate Producers. Bette and Wylie Aitken are producers for the entire 2016 Season.

To schedule press interviews, request photos, schedule press comps or for any additional information, please contact Casey Long at (714) 900-3284 or by e-mail at casey@chancetheater.com.



 

 

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