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'A Chorus Line' Kicks Into High Gear at Plummer Auditorium

Isaac James Creative

A Chorus Line
Plummer Auditorium
210 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton
Through May 27, 2012
Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.;
Sunday, 2 p.m.; May 26, 2 p.m.
Reservations: 714.589.2770
:: 3dtshows.com

“This show is dedicated to anyone who has ever danced in a chorus or marched in step… anywhere.” This sentiment sets the stage for Michael Bennett’s A Chorus Line, the classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning musical which hit the boards of Broadway back in 1975, and held the honor of longest running Broadway musical until some poetic felines from the West End stole the title. As the second longest running American-produced Broadway musical, you cannot help but have nostalgia and deference for this show.

Nostalgia and well earned respect seem to be the launching pad for T.J. Dawson’s direction of his second show of 3D Theatrical’s season. This is a revival piece, and both Dawson and choreographer Linda Love Simmons are true to the show’s genius. Simmons pays homage to Bennet’s original choreography with an amazingly talented cast of 26 of Southern California’s finest multitalented musical theater performers.  

Musical Director Julie Lamoureux conducts the compositions of Marvin Hamlisch with confidence and power, delivering the hits of this show that are burned into our memories, such as “I Hope I Get It,” “I Can Do That” and the finale dazzler, “One.” I have to admit that my favorite song during which I still get chills and a bit welled up when I hear it performed well is “What I Did For Love,” which is sung with passion and harmony by this impressive cast.

The company is comprised of a collaborative group of terrific talent: Tomasina Abate (Sheila), Casey Canino (Tricia), Alexis A. Carra (Cassie), Venny Carranza (Mike), Anthony Chatmon III (Richie), Robin De Lano (Diana), Juan Guillen (Al),  Jacob Haren (Mark), Kristen Lamoureux (Maggie), Chester Lockhart (Larry), Adrianna Rose Lyons (Judy), Raymond Matsamura (Tom), Cameron McLendon (Vicki), Theresa Muray (Kristine), Shane Orser (Bobby), Kavin Panmeechao (Paul), Thomas Roy (Butch), Cassie Silva (Val), Hannah Simmons (Bebe), Daniel A. Smith (Greg), Momoko Sugai (Connie), Dennis Tong (Frank), Tory Trowbridge (Lois), Carson Twitchell (Don), Jon M. Wailin (Roy) all auditioned by Michael Paternostro, who portrays Head Choreographer, Zack, and who also serves as dance captain for this production.

This is quite a notable list of actors who can sing, dance and act, and it is what they bring to their characters that makes A Chorus Line such a special piece of theater. These Broadway hopefuls are all exceptional in giving us a glimpse of their personality and passion. Kavin Panmeechao delivers the most powerful monologue of the evening, which resonates intensely still, 37 years later. I also loved Lamoureux’s optimistic and sweet Maggie, Silva’s sassy Val, Guillen’s endearing and enabling husband, Al, Abate’s fierce Sheila, Carranza’s feisty Mike, and Haren’s hilarious hypochondriac antics. The whole lot of them are exceptional at bringing us into their world during this one-act (sans intermission), high-energy exercise.

Sets are on loan from Musical Theatre West in Long Beach and replicate the 1975 simple and stark originals of Broadway; a rehearsal space lined with mirrors, which are manipulated into a few different configurations, most especially during the iconic  final flashy, sequined and glittered encore number, “One.” Lighting designed by Tharon Musser and adapted beautifully by Jared Sayeg; simple '70s costuming by Jose Rivera, with updating by Yolanda Rowell; the fabulous finale costumes on loan from Baayork Lee and the National Asian Artist Project. Sound design is provided by John Feinstein and stage management provided by William Coiner assisted by Teresa Hanrahan.

I have come to find that the village that makes up 3D Theatricals, headed up by the Dawson clan, is a passionate and dedicated crew and with each and every show, they are continuing to establish themselves in this theater community of Southern California. This brothers and sister act of T.J., Daniel and Gretchen, along with T.J.’s wife, Jeanette, are a creative force to be reckoned with, and it's exciting to watch this young company grow… A sequined top hat off to them as they ramp up their next show: the regional debut of those not-so-appropriate puppets of Avenue Q, opening in July.  




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