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Promo image from A Chorus Line


By Donna Feore

No one begins a career in dance dwelling on thoughts of how difficult, painful and short it might be. But the truth is, dance demands discipline, sacrifice and suffering. Our bodies are the stuff of which this art is made, our dreams and desires given physical form. In dance there is nowhere to hide. The delicate work of revealing ourselves is undertaken with great courage and care. Michael Bennett understood that it also takes love, lots of love. And if you don’t love dance, don’t do it. It’s just too hard. And yet, so often when we witness wonderful dance, they make it look so easy. How does that happen? Michael Bennett’s genius was to hit upon a way to reveal how that happens and what it costs. Every time we set foot on stage we risk disappointment and disaster but also elation and transcendence.

A Chorus Line, with its Pulitzer Prize-winning book and the complex, irresistible music of Marvin Hamlisch, puts the audience right in the centre of this experience. Dancers must be actors, must be singers, all in equal measure. And like a Penn and Teller routine, we see a bit of the “how,” a glimpse of the “why,” and lose none of the magic.

So, why here, why now?

Michael Bennett imagined things unavailable to him on the Broadway stages of the 1970s, a space where his actors could reach their audience unimpeded by the standard orchestra pit, a space that allowed an intimate focus on one story as well as the cacophonous clamour of many. Well, Stratford is such a place. Our stage was designed to accommodate exactly those demands, and our orchestra, though very “live” and brilliant, is upstairs and behind us. My first moments on this stage twenty-six years ago convinced me that the Festival would be an exceptionally good fit for A Chorus Line. And when Michael’s friend and executor John Breglio and I walked onto the Festival stage together last year, he agreed. John also agreed that, had Michael lived to see and been able to use this stage and our dancers, he would have re-imagined the show in this space. Convinced of my deep affection and respect for Michael and his work, John has graciously allowed me to do that in his stead. We are not trying to pretend we are anywhere other than where we are. This is Zach’s theatre. And I get to live a dream: I have directed and choreographed A Chorus Line on and for the Festival stage.

A Chorus Line debuted in 1975. The moment I heard those now famous first two counts of six that start the show, I knew what I would grow up to be. I have worn many hats since, but I never forget my shoes. We have assembled an exceptional company who are standing by to put themselves “on the line” for you.