Theatre Western’s third and final major event of the year, A Chorus Line, dances onto the Mustang Lounge stage this Wednesday.
The musical centres on 17 dancers who are auditioning for spots on a Broadway chorus line in the 1970s. When the director asks the dancers about what makes each of them special, a direct contrast to the uniformity and conformity of a chorus line, the characters delve into their backstories and explain their passion to perform.
“A Chorus Line is ultimately a love story — it’s just not the love story we’re used to hearing,” producer and fourth-year Ivey HBA student Lauren Nicolaas says. “It’s not about what you do for the love of someone, but what you do for the love of something; what you do for your passion.”
This is Nicolaas’ tenth time being involved in a production, and she believes that A Chorus Line really stands out amongst other musicals due to its exploration of the individual and the dilemma of choosing between doing what is pragmatic or following one’s passion. She considers the musical to be a tribute to uncertainty about the future and believes that many students will easily relate to it.
The show features a diverse cast of students coming from all types of academic backgrounds, from astrophysics to MIT.
“I think that one of the misconceptions about Theatre Western is that they assume everyone is a music or theatre student. That’s not true,” Nicolaas says. “What I love about Theatre Western is that it offers performance as a hobby and a passion, not for grades. [A Chorus Line] as a show really reflects the passion of our cast and crew.”
Ben Leibovitz, a first-year music theory master's student and the production’s music director, says that Theatre Western has never done a dance show to this scale before; in addition to rich character stories and musical performance, audience members should anticipate some “mind-blowing choreography."
The audience should also expect an emotional roller-coaster, according to assistant choreographer and second-year international relations student Cassandra DiFelice. She explains that there are some really high notes and really low notes — be ready for a few tears — but that the tone of the play is ultimately hopeful.
Jack Sizeland, a second-year anthropology student who plays Al Deluca in the show, says that A Chorus Line’s focus on individuality really transfers to a university setting.
“I think it’s an important message and that a lot of students in university can relate to it," says Sizeland. “The show asks, ‘How do you stand out in a place that demands conformity, demands you to want to blend in, be the same, and try to meet a standard?’”
A Chorus Line runs from March 15 to 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students and can be purchased at the Purple Store or at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/theatre-western-presents-a-chorus-line-tickets-32124253507