A Cho­rus Line a real mu­si­cal feast


A Cho­rus Line is a highly vis­ual, mu­si­cal feast, says an author­ity who should know. Stephen Fisher, who’s been mu­si­cally di­rect­ing in Palmer­ston North for 47 years, has loved the hit mu­si­cal since it was launched on Broad­way in 1975. He has seen the show and the movie, has his own score and now he’s mu­si­cally di­rect­ing the Re­gent on Broad­way pro­duc­tion which opens on April 19.

But as well as Prop­erty Bro­kers’ A Cho­rus Line hav­ing catchy, im­me­di­ately like­able mu­sic and char­ac­ters the au­di­ence will eas­ily iden­tify with, the mu­si­cal achieves some­thing else very unique. It goes be­hind the scenes and ex­plores the world of au­di­tion­ing and the peo­ple who put their bod­ies, voices and per­son­al­i­ties on the line to achieve a role in the next big Broad­way show.

‘‘ A Cho­rus Line is a se­ries of in­ti­mate vi­gnettes about dancers who seek that mo­ment of star­dom by au­di­tion­ing for a new mu­si­cal,’’ Stephen says ‘‘Some are ex­pe­ri­enced, some are new, all are vul­ner­a­ble as they face the di­rec­tor.’’

It’s their sto­ries that are told by one of the greats of pop­u­lar mu­sic, Marvin Ham­lisch. Stephen ex­plains Ham­lisch skil­fully cre­ates won­der­ful nar­ra­tives around the peo­ple who’re ul­ti­mately suc­cess­ful at the au­di­tion. ‘‘Each has their own per­son­al­ity which is re­flected in the songs they sing,’’ he says.

For ex­am­ple the en­dur­ing num­ber What I Did For Love ex­presses Diana’s dream to be in a show. I Can Do That is sung by Mike about set­ting his goals and achiev­ing them while in Sing, Chris­tine bares her soul about not be­ing good enough to be­ing in­cluded in the line-up. She makes it be­cause she has other gifts that are vi­tal to the show.

All of these songs reach a cli­max in the ensem­ble num­ber One that comes at the show’s end and rep­re­sents the open­ing cho­rus of the mu­si­cal that they’ve au­di­tioned for.

‘‘It’s a spec­tac­u­lar song that will send the au­di­ence away im­pressed and com­pletely over­whelmed,’’ Stephen says.

A Cho­rus Line has never been per­formed be­fore in Palmer­ston North and rarely in New Zealand be­cause of the de­mands placed on the cast.

Stephen is look­ing for­ward to start­ing re­hearsals this week. ‘‘We have a cast that will meet the chal­lenges of the show and give it full jus­tice,’’ he says.

Stephen Fisher, Ash­leigh Blum­mon­tand Michael Doody re­hearse forACho­rus Line.

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