A Chorus Line to Return to Broadway in 2006

News   A Chorus Line to Return to Broadway in 2006
 
A Chorus Line, one of the biggest hits in Broadway history and a landmark work of the musical comedy genre, will return to the Great White Way in 2006.

Castmembers from the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line
Castmembers from the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line

Opening will be Sept. 21, 2006. The theatre hasn't been named. A Chorus Line spent its 15-year Broadway life at the Shubert Theatre. But, as that house will soon be home to the expected megahit Spamalot, it's unlikely the show will return to the theatre.

A Chorus Line will be produced by the well known and well-connected entertainment lawyer John Breglio, who represented the musical's director-choreographer-conceiver Michael Bennett while he was alive and still handles his estate. Breglio's many theatre clients include Manhattan Theatre Club, The Public Theater, Stephen Sondheim and August Wilson.

The credit will mark Breglio's Broadway producing debut. "I feel like I've tried to guide and help hundreds of producers over the years," Breglio told Playbill On-Line. "This one was sort of inevitable for me. It's the closest thing to me in my career that I've ever done." Breglio and Bennett joined forces in the early '70s. After A Chorus Line, they formed a producing partnership with choreographer Bob Avian and Susan MacNair called Quadrille Productions, though Breglio eventually returned to his practice.

Also participating in the revival will be the show's surviving creators, including Marvin Hamlisch, designer Robin Wagner and Avian, who was billed as "co-choreographer" in the original production. Avian will direct the new mounting. Wagner will recreate the bare-stage-and-mirrors set that characterized the original.

Also teaming with Avian will be original cast member Baayork Lee, who will assist in recreating Bennett's original staging and choreography. Toward the end of the original's long run, the creators added a line to the program that read "Time: 1975." Breglio said the piece will still remain rooted in that year. "We're treating it as a period piece," he explained. "We won't be changing any words. The themes of Chorus Line go far beyond any words in the peice. I hope we're right. Only the public will tell us that. To try to take it out of its time, then your'e tinkering. We explored that possibility, talked about it and rejected it."

A Chorus Line has a book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, and lyrics by Edward Kleban, who later became the subject of the show A Class Act. Bennett and Kleban died in 1987, followed by Kirkwood in 1989 and Dante in 1991.

The staging will be capitalized at the relatively low price of $7 to $8 million.

A Chorus Line began life at Joseph Papp's Public Theater. It is about a collection of Broadway gypsies who tell there stories and reveal their fears as they go through the fraught and trying process of trying out for the chorus of a new show. It was revolutionary not only for the long workshop process that created the show (and which birthed a workshop ethos which has persisted—for better or worse—in nonprofit theatre to this day), but for epitomizing the "concept musical," a genre which began with such Sondheim works as Company and Follies and reaches its peak in Line.

The cast included such then-unsung performers as Wayne Cilento, Robert LuPone, Priscilla Lopez, Kelly Bishop (then called Carole Bishop) and Donna McKechnie. Though many went on to productive careers, no one from the cast became a major star. Breglio said he suspected the new cast would also be composed of largely unknown performers.

"It was always this thing that emerged out of anonymity and it exploded. It was this little thing downtown that happened. I want to preserve as best as I can what it is."

The well-remembered score includes "One," "Nothing," "At the Ballet" and "What I Did for Love."

A scene from the original Broadway production of <i>A Chorus Line</i>
A scene from the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line
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