A CHORUS LINE – Now at the Curran Theatre until July 27th

National Tour of 2006 Revival is peripatetic, poetic and chic

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

If you have never seen A CHORUS LINE or are a die-hard fan of the show no matter where, no matter who – then this is the show for you. Nominated for twelve Tony Awards in 1976 and winning nine of them – including BEST ORIGINAL SCORE for Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban – this first National Tour of the 2006 Broadway revival is totally enjoyable and worthy of your attention. The ensemble players and main characters of this “backstage musical” are a strong ensemble in every way – which is the ultimate goal of the story’s director, “Zach” (Michael Gruber). Given its 32-year history and around-the-globe availability to every regional theatre, college, and high school – most veteran viewers will come to this production armed with many cherished memories of past productions and certain performers, including the last stint at the Curran in 2006. Thus, there was much comparing of notes out in the lobby on Opening Night, especially the re-staging of choreography by Baayork Lee and particular challenges to the solo-dancing of Nikki Snelson as “Cassie” (previously seen here as “Brooke” in LEGALLY BLONDE).

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Derek Hanson (as Don), Holly Howard (as Maggie), Clyde Alves (as Mike), Jessica Wu (as Connie)

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Denis Lambert (as Greg), Nikki Snelson (as Cassie), Emily Fletcher (as Sheila), Ian Liberto (as Bobby)

Kevin Santos as “Paul” is brilliant. His lengthy monologue was beautifully delivered and garnered a wave of applause at its conclusion. Mr. Santos’ dancing chops are strong and lyrical. When his character suffers what may be a permanent injury, our sympathies are totally tweaked. Natalie Hall as “Val” brings a fresh perspective to her role as the “tits and ass” girl, and a somewhat cartoon-approach to her rendition of “Dance: 10; Looks: 3″. Denis Lambert, as the (eliminated) 30-year-old “Greg”, is charismatic and very hot in his supple dance boots. Ian Liberto is charming as the joking and somewhat haughty “Bobby”. Mr. Liberto sings the truth – “If Troy Donahue can be a movie star, then I can be a movie star.”

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Pilar Millhollen (as Bebe), Stephanie Gibson (as Judy), Anthony Wayne (as Richie), Colt Prattes (as Al), Jessica Latshaw (as Kristine)

The lower alto tones of Gabrielle Ruiz (as “Morales”) were shown off well during “Nothing” – her recounting of a typical and useless beginning acting class led by a Mr. Karp who tells the young hopeful from San Juan, “You’ll never be an actress! Never!” Ms. Ruiz also delivered a finely controlled version of the show’s memorable ballad, “What I Did For Love”.

Though this production may not rank as a “Singular Sensation”, it is nevertheless exciting proof of the show’s genius construction and formidable position in the pantheon of American Theatre.

To order tickets on-line: A CHORUS LINE

Add these recordings to your Performing Arts Library:
CD – A CHORUS LINE, 1975 – Original Cast recording featuring brilliant performances by Priscilla Lopez (“Nothing”), Donna McKechnie (“The Music And The Mirror”), and Carole Bishop (aka, Kelly Bishop, “At The Ballet”).
CD – A CHORUS LINE, 1988 – From Vienna! “Tits and Ass” comes out as “Spitaz und Rund”.
CD – A CHORUS LINE, 2006 – Wonderful revival includes more incidental music and some dialogue.
DVD – THE GILMORE GIRLS – The Complete Series Collection, featuring Kelly Bishop as “Emily Gilmore”.

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Natalie Hall (as Val), Jay Armstrong Johnson (as Mark), Kevin Santos (as Paul), Gabrielle Ruiz (Diana)

Visit Seán on YouTube
Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
SAMSON & DELILAH – Meet Seán Martinfield

For related articles and interviews:
COPPOLA’S “THE CONVERSATION” – AT THE LEGION OF HONOR, July 17th
SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL – At The Castro Theatre
A CHORUS LINE – Returns to San Francisco’s Curran Theatre
VIVA TO THE DIVAS! – SF Opera Summer Season Concludes This Weekend
TALENT COMPETITON – On-Line Reality for A CHORUS LINE
ARIODANTE – Cross-Dressing Goes Baroque – at SAN FRANCISCO OPERA
WOMEN IMPRESSIONISTS – At San Francisco’s Legion of Honor
TIMOTHY HORN – BITTER SUITE – A Sweet Tribute To Alma Spreckels
‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE – At A.C.T through July 6th
60TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT – San Francisco Boys Chorus celebrates at the War Memorial Opera House
LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR – Bats it for FREE at AT&T Ballpark
CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSEUM – A Grand Opening!
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN – Just say “NO!”
ERIK BATZ – A Conversation With “The Scarecrow” At The Mountain Play
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET’S 2009 SEASON – Includes World Premiere of All-New Swan Lake by Helgi Tomasson
A CONVERSATION WITH MAESTRO HELMUTH RILLING
CHERYL BURKE DANCE – Dancing with Gavin and Jennifer
DALE CHIHULY – Lighting-Up At The de Young
ERIK BATZ – A Conversation With “The Scarecrow” At The Mountain Play
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET’S 2009 SEASON – Includes World Premiere of All-New Swan Lake by Helgi Tomasson
SWEENEY TODD – PRIME CUTS FROM DIRECTOR TIM BURTON
ANITA COCKTAIL and LEANNE BORGHESI – A 3-Way Dialogue
NORMA SHEARER in “MARIE ANTOINETTE” – At the Legion of Honor
JENNIFER SIEBEL – A Conversation with Seán Martinfield

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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

See Related: FINE ARTS CRITIC SEAN MARTINFIELD

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