Musical connects with audience with personal themes

Cabaret Theatre’s production of “A Chorus Line" provided an extremely relatable and honest image of life as an individual, attempting to succeed in their endeavors. The opening song, “I Hope I Get It,” allowed audience members to project their personal struggles onto characters that are able to, through their own stories, leave us with an enduringly, optimistic view of the future.

The cast is initially only referred to by their assigned casting number, diminishing the individuality of each person auditioning for the chorus line. Being assigned a number removes a key element of humanity from a person. This easily resonates with members of a large university, where students are constantly barraged with numbers that ultimately form their identity. The musical told the stories of dancers trying to figure out their current situation, as well as navigate their future.

Choosing to have a cast that is mostly new to Cabaret was a widely appropriate decision. The play emphasized the different levels of experience in regards to acting, dancing and singing that the performers possessed. When one considers the work that goes into the production behind the scenes, we can see that each member brought a particular skill set to the group that was emphasized during the performance. The idea of each performer having their own strengths translates well on stage during the performance of the show.

"A Chorus Line" exists as a compilation of stories about dancers seeking their break. They are looking to get that one gig that will make them a star, pay the rent, lead to self-discovery or allow them to dance one last time before their body wears out.

In more traditional performances of the play, every cast member must be a dancer, singer or actor. When the cast consists of individuals who are not as experienced in dance as other members, we become forced to analyze our use of space and become hyper-aware of how each individual’s strengths can be best utilized during the performance. This poses more of a challenge, but as the cast demonstrated, working with each other proved to be an excellent way to showcase the stories told on stage.

The dynamic between Zach and Cassie allowed the audience to renew their faith, which can sometimes appear to be a troubling future. While there was no definitive lead role, Zach, who is played by Orem Merhov, and Cassie, who is played by Allie Ambriano, present the most character development on stage. Their relationship, which displays  former lovers experiencing heartbreak and given a chance to reconnect, resonates well with the audiences.

The chemistry between actors allows us to feel as if we are viewing private moments. When asked about the relationship between mood and creative output, Merhov said that he and Ambriano had created a playlist filled with songs that their characters would listen to in order to put the actors into the correct mindset of their roles. 

He explained that the music helped get them into character, and allowed them to overcome the initial disconnection they felt between the acting and emotions. We see this display of emotions especially during Cassie’s dance, which follows a passionate conversation between the two. 

The lights change color, covering the room in a red glow that matches that of her dress. The usage of red is a subtle promotion of agitation, which allows her to use her position of power to revolt against a current that keeps pushing her away from the reality she seeks. We must be grateful that she uses this chance to establish her position in a part of the world that would rather give her false hope and daydreams, instead of providing the reality she pursues. Dance on, Cassie.