Artists Who Inspired Chorus Line Will Get a Piece of Current Revival's Pie

News   Artists Who Inspired Chorus Line Will Get a Piece of Current Revival's Pie The beneficiaries of the Estate of Michael Bennett and the artists from the original interviews and workshops of A Chorus Line jointly announced Feb. 1 that amendments have been made to the terms of their agreement signed in 1976.

Jeffrey Schecter in A Chorus Line
Jeffrey Schecter in A Chorus Line Photo by Paul Kolnik

The smash musical directed and choreographed by Bennett was constructed out of interviews with chorus dancers and pieced-together in what were called "workshops" — a revolutionary process at the time. (The term "workshop" is now commonly used in the industry to denote a developmental rehearsal.)

"The artists will now have a financial interest in the current Broadway production as well as all future First Class productions," according to the Feb. 1 statement. "The financial arrangement applies to the original interviewees of the taped sessions that Mr. Bennett held in the spring of 1974 and the actors who participated in the workshops prior to the original Off-Broadway production."

The beneficiaries of the Bennett estate "became aware in the spring of 2006 that the artists were surprised that they were not receiving a financial participation in the current production."

The parties met, and the beneficiaries "agreed that it would be fair and appropriate to extend the existing agreement to include the current Broadway revival playing at the Schoenfeld Theatre as well as all future First Class productions of the show."

Examples of a First Class production might be a major national tour or a major-market sitdown spun-off from the current Broadway production, a London production, or a future Broadway revival. The beneficiaries of the Bennett estate participating in this arrangement include Bob Avian, Frank DiFiglia, the Estate of Gene Pruit, Robin Wagner and John Breglio.

The artists who were in the forefront of these discussions include Tony Award-winning actresses Kelly Bishop (the original "Sheila") and Donna McKechnie (the original "Cassie"), as well as Priscilla Lopez (the original "Diana"), Robert LuPone (the original "Zach"), Tony Stevens and Michon Peacock.

The amended terms of the new agreement are confidential and will not be disclosed by any of the parties.

To honor Bennett's wishes, the parties have agreed that AmFar (a Bennett beneficiary) will not be affected by this new arrangement.

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A Chorus Line is one of the most successful shows in Broadway history. In addition to receiving nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976, the show went on to run for 6,137 performances on Broadway. The current production, which opened in October 2006, is produced by Vienna Waits Productions.

The cast of the <i>A Chorus Line</i> revival.
The cast of the A Chorus Line revival. Photo by Paul Kolnik
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