‘A Chorus Line’ Stays True to its Roots in Moonlight’s Excellent Production

Jennifer Knox. (Photos courtesy of Ken Jacques.)

More than 45 years after opening, A Chorus Line is still an influential concept musical with famous songs, choreography and a sense of realism that appeals to audience members.

Moonlight Stage Productions excellent presentation of the show features all the elements that made the story work decades ago.

Set in 1975 at a Broadway theatre, a group of performers are auditioning to be the chorus of a big show. After several of the artists get cut from the audition process, the remaining dancers are asked by the director, Zach (Tyler Matthew Burk) to share personal information about their lives.

James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante’s book adapts real life interviews that largely were between the original co-choreographer and director, Michael Bennett (conceived by Bennett as well), and Broadway dancers. Monologues taken from the discussions range from hilariously overdetailed to touchingly personal.

Throughout long stretches of the runtime, scenes move back and forth between speeches and musical numbers written by composer, Marvin Hamlisch, and lyricist, Edward Kleban.

Songs, such as “I Hope I Get It” and “Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love” beautifully accompany the frequent dancing, and the numbers create empathy for the hopeful members of the main group.

Led by conductor, Dr. Randi Rudolph, the orchestra, plays each song with a high energy that matches the ensemble onstage. Their collaboration, particularly during “The Music and the Mirror” and “Bows” create a grand sound (audio by Jim Zadai) that contributes to the powerful impact of various sequences.

Natalie Nucci.

Many of the company are triple threat performers, and Burk, Jennifer Knox, Steven Ruvalcaba, Jeffrey Scott Parsons, Milan Magana, Natalie Nucci and Holly Echsner are just a few from the cast who shine. Director/choreographer, Hector Guerrero, makes sure that all of the co-stars leave a lasting impression.

Guerrero’s direction is focused on the dancers, while the costumes provided by JMW Costume Designs, and scenery by Gateway Set Rentals add to the naturalistic elements, and Jennifer Edwards’ lighting reflects the inner thoughts of various characters.

He re-creates the classic choreography of Bennett and Bob Avian, with movements that stun throughout the evening.

Whether you know every number inside and out, or are experiencing the hit for the first time, Guerrero’s interpretation at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista, is a memorable tribute to the lives of Broadway dancers. I am predicting that Bennett’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning A Chorus Line will continue to resonate for years to come.

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[box] Show times are Wednesday through Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. [/box]

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Moonlight Stage Productions
Work Moonlight Amphitheatre 1200 Vale Terrace Drive Vista CA 92084 USAWork Avo Playhouse 303 Main Street Vista CA 92084 USA Work Phone: (760) 724-2110 Website: Moonlight Stage Productions website
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David Dixon

A fan of theatre from a young age, David Dixon began writing reviews while in middle school, for Union Tribune’s Rated G column and sdcnn.com. He was the Entertainment Editor for SDSU’s The Daily Aztec. Currently, he contributes to San Diego Community News Network, a regional reviewer for Talkin’ Broadway, an interviewer for San Diego Theatre Reviews and has won several San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards. David is a San Diego Theatre Critics Circle member, an American Theatre Critics Association member & Regional Theatre Tony Award voter.

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