On its 5th trip here, 'Chorus Line' is still terrific

Evening Sun Staff

November 27, 1991|By Lou Cedrone

''A Chorus Line'' is one of those shows you can see year after year, so long as it is done well, and it is being done very well at the Lyric Opera House.

This is the fifth time the musical has played Baltimore, and, again, it is most welcome. Some of the voices are not that true, but these same people dance like troupers, and that's where ''A Chorus Line'' matters, the dance.

The show opened on Broadway in 1975. It ran there for 15 years and is the longest-running production Broadway has ever known.

Many of the people who helped create the show, James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante who did the book, Edward Kleban, who did the lyrics, and Michael Bennett, who ''conceived, choreographed and directed,'' have left us, but their work lives on, showing no signs of age.

The producers of this touring production have left the time frame as was (it is still 1975), and it is nice to report that the players have not added any shtick, which is so often the case with shows that have been on the road this long.

The cast includes Gail Benedict as Sheila, the chorine who has reached 30 and isn't that happy about it, Mark Santillano as Mike, who took up dancing when he accompanied his sister to dancing school, and Deborah Geneviere as Diana, the Puerto Rican girl who remembers the drama teacher who taught her nothing.

Kelli Fish is Val, the girl who was getting nowhere until she had her breasts and rear done, and Wanda Richert-Preston is Cassie, former lover of Zack, the choreographer who is looking for dancers.

Richert-Preston was the original Peggy Sawyer in the Broadway production of ''42nd Street.'' She also did Cassie on Broadway. She is good enough to make you forget all the others who have done the role.

The score includes ''I Hope I Get It,'' ''I Can Do That,'' ''One'' and ''What I Did For Love,'' in which the dancers consider their occupation, its advantages and disadvantages.

It still gets to you, but then the whole show does. Baayork Lee, who was in the original Broadway cast of the show, did the staging. The production moves along and, as it does, looks and sounds great.

''A Chorus Line'' will remain at the Lyric Opera House through Dec. 8. If you've never seen it, now is the time to do so. If you have already seen it, it is certainly worth seeing again. ''A Chorus Line'' is the Broadway musical at its finest.

''A Chorus Line''

*** Twenty-four dancers audition for spots in a Broadway musical.

CAST: Gail Benedict, Michael Biondi, Melinda Cartwright, Randy Clements, Kelli Fish, Wanda Richert-Preston, Mark Santillano

DIRECTOR: Baayork Lee

RUNNING TIME: Two hours and five minutes with no intermission

TICKETS: 625-1400

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