Thanks to The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance and the myriad of other talent shows on our TV screens, auditioning has become a form of entertainment in its own right.
So it seems the time is right for a restaging of the groundbreaking 1975 musical A Chorus Line, which tells the story of 19 Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line.
The show provides a glimpse into the personalities of the performers and their choreographer as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers.
This new all-Australian production has played to packed audiences in Melbourne, Adelaide and most recently Singapore. It will debut in Sydney on July 20.
But as cast member Euan Doidge told the Star Observer, the stripped-back nature of the production was a shock for some audience members weened on a diet of OTT Hollywoodesque musicals.
“It can be confronting for people who aren’t used to seeing something like this,” he said.
“People expect a lot of singing and dancing, but it’s quite story-focused. It’s a story about dancers’ lives, which is great for us because we get to show people what we go through.
“It’s such a special show to the performers. Not many people know what happens behind the scenes. They just see the glitz and glamour, the costumes and props. This show is very simple and stripped back.”
Doidge plays Paul San Marco, a gay Puerto Rican hopeful auditioning for the chorus line.
Doidge made his professional musical theatre debut in The Production Company’s staging of Anything Goes. Named Australian Senior National Dancer of the Year in 2010, he now joins a cast of 30 for the show, headed by Dancing With the Stars judge Josh Horner as Broadway director Zach.
“This role of Zach really speaks to me,” Horner said.
“You see people giving their heart and soul and you are in control of their dreams. I’ve been on both sides of that role so A Chorus Line mirrors perfectly my life as a dancer.”
The production is directed by Baayork Lee, one of the cast members and inspirations from the Tony Award-winning 1975 original. Lee was originally invited by creator and director Michael Bennett to participate in the workshops from which the show was developed, with the role of Connie Wong largely based on her own life.
Since then, she’s directed and choreographed 35 international productions of the show.
“It’s awesome to have an original member of the cast in the room, telling us stories about these people, these real people,” Doidge said.
“Just knowing that the characters we’re playing are real people and we share certain qualities with them, which is why we were all cast, is overwhelming.”
INFO: A Chorus Line, Capitol Theatre, from July 20. www.achorusline.com.au