Chorus Line to Play San Francisco Before Reaching Broadway in 2006

News   Chorus Line to Play San Francisco Before Reaching Broadway in 2006
 
The coming Broadway revival of A Chorus Line will play San Francisco's Curran Theatre before coming to New York.
Castmembers from the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line
Castmembers from the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line

The show will play the Curran in late summer 2006 and then move on to Broadway. Dates are July 9 through Aug. 6.

Opening on Broadway 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 is 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 previously told Playbill.com. "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 piece. I hope we're right. Only the public will tell us that. To try to take it out of its time, then you're 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 their stories and reveal their fears as they go through the fraught and trying process of auditioning 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 reached 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," Breglio said.

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

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