Song & Stage

Theater Review: ‘A Chorus Line’ at The Gateway

A Chorus Line shines bright on The Gateway stage

The Gateway returns for the summer season with the Broadway hit, A Chorus Line. A musical homage to all performers who have worked on a chorus line or gone through the rigors of the audition process, A Chorus Line takes us along for the ride with all the singing and dancing you missed throughout the winter.

The Gateway once again brings Broadway expertise to Long Island in the form of Broadway legend Mitzi Hamilton, at the helm of this production as Director/Choreographer. Hamilton, who was the original inspiration for the character of Val, worked with Tony Award winning choreographer Michael Bennett, who won a Tony for his work on A Chorus Line. Who better to hand over the dancing torch to than this outstanding group of performers? The Broadway polish and pizazz are in every scene, every dance number, every dramatic pause or tongue-in-cheek comment. The caliber of the cast is awe-inspiring—working together flawlessly, each individual lending his or her own flavor to the dances. The singing and dancing may be what will draw you in, but the compelling stories each cast member has will be what keeps you enthralled.

Marvin Hamlisch’s score for A Chorus Line is infectious—you’ll be humming the songs long after you’ve left the theater. In the first scene we can feel the desperation from the cast—voicing their anxiety over this audition and how desperately they need this job—as they perform “I Hope I Get It.” The audition is led by Zach, played by Victor Wisehart, and for much of the show he’s simply a voice asking our hopefuls some deeply personal questions. We realize quickly that there is some unresolved “business” between Zach and Cassie, played by Sabrina Harper. Harper performs a solo after intermission, “The Music and the Mirror,” which was so poignantly beautiful, Harper looked like a red siren calling out to her fans. We heard you, Ms. Harper, and we loved every minute!

Sabrina Harper performs 'Music in the Mirror'
Sabrina Harper performs ‘The Music and the Mirror,’ Photo: Jeff Bellante

The haunting melody of “At the Ballet” was a favorite. Sheila, played by Kate Loprest, has been around on the line for a while and seems to know Zach. She’s haughty and beautiful on the outside, but we see glimpses of her vulnerability through Lopret’s superb portrayal of her character. Joining her in this number are the graceful Maggie, played by Jackie Raye, and spunky Bebe, played by Erika Conaway.

The hilarious duet “Sing!” between Kristine (Julia Lynn Sammon) and Al (Nick Varricchio) was another favorite. These two did not miss a beat during this fast-paced, slapstick number. Kudos to this pair—the chemistry between them was adorable.

Val, played by Amanda Miller, is the T&A girl (tits and ass), the character that Hamilton inspired. Her number “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three” gives us a glimpse into the less savory aspects of auditions. Her dancing was superb, but she wasn’t getting cast because of her looks. Her solution? As she puts it, she got some tits and ass! Miller played this character hilariously well, as the vivacious, buxom, blonde, brazen Val struts across the stage coached, no doubt, by the illustrious Hamilton.

Shout outs to our Long Island grown talent gracing The Gateway stage in A Chorus Line. Diana Princi, who plays Lois, graduates from Patchogue-Medford in June and has danced with Stage Door School of Dance since she was three—and it shows. Princi is a tiny, dark-haired force of nature, commanding the stage with her impeccable dance style and mesmerizing the audience with her melodious voice. Well done, Ms. Princi! Julia Lynn Sammon, who plays Kristine, is also a Long Island native making her Gateway debut, and we hope to see more of her there!

The Finale performed by the company of 'A Chorus Line'
The Finale performed by the company of ‘A Chorus Line,’ Photo: Jeff Bellante

A Chorus Line is a show within a show, a glimpse into the world of actors and the oftentimes grueling audition process these “kids” have to endure. The music is captivating, the dancing is thrilling and the finale will knock your socks off. This singular sensation will be reverberating in your head, and you won’t be mad about it.

A Chorus Line is at the Gateway Playhouse at 215 South Country Road, Bellport through May 26. For tickets and information visit call 631-286-1133 or visit thegateway.org.

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