‘A Chorus Line’ at Wildwood Summer Theatre by Maddie Gaw

God, I hope Wildwood Summer Theatre gets the recognition they deserve for this production of A Chorus Line! ‘God I hope they get it!’

“WST is the only fully independent youth-run summer theatre in the Washington, DC area,” my program explains to me. Make no mistake; here, youth-run is not synonymous with amateur. In this production, the cast is not just dancing in a show—they are in a show about dancing. Color me impressed by this young cast’s ability not only to dance at a high-caliber level, but to sing while doing so.

The cast of 'A Chorus Line.' Photo courtesy of Wildwood Summer Theatre.
The cast of ‘A Chorus Line.’ Photo courtesy of Wildwood Summer Theatre.

Choreographer Kelsey Spencer has put together three big-scale production numbers that all achieve something quite different. “I Hope I Get It” captures the brutal and repetitive audition process. When it continues in “One,” we begin to see the power of the dancers moving in sync to a polished and Broadway-bound routine. Last, the lengthy montage sequence that begins with “Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love” is comprised of more fun, rocking movements that allow us to really see the joy of dancing for these characters.

A Chorus Line, which opened on Broadway in 1975, has music by  Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, and a book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante. It was awarded 9 Tony Awards. In A Chorus Line, which has a simple plot, 17 dancers are vying for 8 spots in the show Zach (Alex Palmer) is directing. At Zach’s prompting, the dancers share stories about their lives. Given that we pretty much only get one vignette per character, none of them can be described as particularly three-dimensional, but the cast does their best to inhabit them.

Director  Devin Goodman has a talented cast to work with and they all deliver fine performances. Here are some of the highlights: Mike (Corey Levine) leaves a lasting impression with his spunky and strutting tap number “I Can Do That”. Bobby (Chris Naughton) is a natural-born storyteller, recounting his childhood with a bitter flamboyance. Sheila (Shabnam Salek) channels a sassy Bebe Neuwirth before leading a trio (Rebecca Adelson and Gabriela Schulman) in the heartbreaking “At The Ballet.” Diana (Alexa Soriano) does a wicked impression of her pretentious acting teacher in “Nothing.” And Paul (Tiziano D’Affuso) delivers a painful and heartfelt monologue about learning to “be a man,” with enough realistic restraint to keep it from being melodramatic.

The cast of 'A Chorus Line.' Photo courtesy of Widlwood Summer Theatre.
The cast of ‘A Chorus Line.’ Photo courtesy of Wildwood Summer Theatre.

KayCee Tucker’s lighting design was sophisticated and simple—washed out pale for scenes in “reality” and bright blues, purples and greens for the songs. At times, there would be attempts at “shadow dancing” behind the scrim, which could have been more distinct. Sound was, for the most part, pretty high-quality. The orchestra was perfectly mixed. While there were more than a few line drops due to microphone issues, the actors never let this trip them up. I am confident that this problem will be rectified before the next performance.If you want to see some truly impressive singing and dancing—for any age—Wilwood Summer Theatre’s A Chorus Line is the place to be. Don’t miss it!


A Chorus Line plays through July 27, 2013 at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School – 4301 East-West Highway, in Bethesda, MD, Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 240-583-0978, by mail or at the door.

Wildwood Summer Theatre Presents A Chorus Line July 19-27th by Rocky Nunzio.

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Maddie Gaw
Maddie Gaw grew up in suburban Maryland, where she was a frequent audience member at local high school productions before she overcame the shyness that kept her off the stage. She re-located to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College, concentrating in theatre arts after initially abandoning theatre for the much more profitable field of historical studies. A big supporter of new play development, Maddie is proud of her work as Literary Manager for the Downstage Theatre Company, where she gave slots to two plays written within the last five years, and one premiere production. Having graduated in May, Maddie squints into the post-grad distance as she returns to the D.C. area, looking for work in arts administration, or any place that will support her habit as a full-time suffering writer and part-time suffering theatre artist. Her rants and musings outside the purview of reviews can be found on her website, maddieturgy.wordpress.com



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