Saturday, April 1, 2017

Memo from the RTC: A Chorus Line Update - I Won’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me

I'm going back to see it again Saturday night and then again Sunday when Arthur and family are coming.

Memo from the RTC:  A Chorus Line Update - I Won’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me
By Norm Scott

They may have asked Sinatra when he sang those words, but they didn’t ask me.  I need a defibrillator from just watching the show. But I am astounded when people who know me ask if I have a part in A Chorus Line, if they know the show at all.

Do they have a clue that you must be able to sing, act and, most importantly of all, dance, dance, dance until you want to drop and on a scale of 1-10, I am minus 10 in all three categories? I wanted to drop numerous times on opening night just watching the 24-member cast showing their triple threat chops.

I was raving about all these facets to Director Susan Corning at the opening night after show celebration. She reminded me, pointing to choreographer supreme Nicola DePierrro Nellen, that despite the amazing acting and singing, the heart of “A Chorus Line” is dance and that this production’s success relied on the amazing work of Nicola, who also has a part in the show as dance mistress Laurie. Whenever you see it, or if you saw it, just think about all the choreography involved in getting so many people to synchronize. I was taping from right up front, practically on the stage in the corner, and got as close up as you can. It was, like, a perfect production.

I just don’t have the space to talk about all the performances by so many RTC regulars, who are joined by a five newcomers with major roles. Actually, almost every role is major, with each member of the cast getting their time in the sun, which is why the play is so coveted among actors and why reviewing all the performances would take a book. If there is a lead, it is the role of Cassie, played by the superbly gorgeous and talented Catherin Leib, who finally returned to the RTC in last fall’s Toxic Avenger after two years absence while touring with a production company. The director, Zach, is played by Frank Caiati who can do just about anything on and off stage. Both Catherine and Frank, a member of Actors Equity and SAG/AFTRA, have been with the RTC since they were teens, well over a decade ago. Their list of credits is beyond extensive. They have a crucial scene opening Act II that is worth the price of admission, followed by Catherine’s take-your breath away solo.

The fabulous Musical Director Jeff Arzberger leads an 11-member band. I went to the 50th anniversary of the Zombies on Saturday night and they only have 4 musicians in their band. But the RTC is all about giving Rockaway a major taste of Broadway, baby, and with free parking too. And a 50-50 cash on the barrel, which on opening night netted the winner with almost $500.

I know my two or three regular readers are sick of my raving about every show. But believe it when people leaving opening night are saying, “I can’t believe you guys keep topping yourselves. This is the best one yet.”

The directing tandem of Susan Corning and David Risley, both of whom have been major top-level actors at the RTC in so many shows, deliver a perfect rendition of this complex show, which if not done expertly would be a disaster. 

Hot Yoga Rockaway Beach guru Anita Ruderman, whose word is law, posted this comment on FB:  GO SEE A CHORUS LINE at the RTC in Ft. Tilden. A PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE NOT TO BE MISSED!!! Really UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Here's the link for tickets. I'm serious. Please go see it. :)…/

Anita may sometimes talk in CAPS, but rarely does she write in CAPS.

Norm blogs at NAMASTE!!!

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