Swing Bridge Arts Alliance presents 'A Chorus Line'
By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
East Haddam - posted Mon., Jul. 11, 2011
For more than 35 years, “A Chorus Line” has been satisfying audiences across the globe with its tale of the stresses of auditioning for a spot on the line of a Broadway play, providing glimpses of the thoughts and experiences that have helped shape the lives of the various dancers and brought them to that point.
This Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16, local audiences will have the chance to see this award-winning musical, as the Swing Bridge Arts Alliance (SBAA) will present “A Chorus Line” in the Friedman Auditorium at Nathan Hale-Ray High School in East Haddam.
Founded in 2008 by Jim Kane, the SBAA is a nonprofit theater group dedicated to the goal of providing educational opportunities for students in all aspects of the theater arts with collaborative productions with residents of surrounding communities.
Currently, the group puts on one show a year. Previous productions have included “Little Shop of Horrors,” “A Night on Broadway,” and “Urinetown: The Musical.” Many of the performers, said Kane, are college music and theater majors.
While “A Chorus Line” features a cast of 27, there is no real featured performer. All 17 of those auditioning are featured at some point, relating their stories one-by-one. The lack of a true lead is one of the things that drew Kane to this show.
“Everybody is featured at some point,” he said, adding that, with singing and dancing required of virtually the entire cast, “In general, it’s very challenging for everyone.” But Kane credits the show’s choreographer, Shelley Collok, with providing strong guidance to all of the performers. In keeping with the educational aspect of SBAA, during rehearsals, Collok goes through each number with the performers individually, pointing out their strengths, and the areas where they could make improvements.
Jason Gagne plays Zach, the show’s producer – one of the few roles that do not require any dancing, and only some off-stage singing. He spends most of the show in the dark at the back of the auditorium, talking with the performers on stage.
“It’s fun seeing it from that perspective, to see the dance numbers come together from the outside,” he said. This is Gagne’s first show with SBAA, and only his third show ever. He was drawn to the stage by his wife, Meghan, who plays one of the 17 auditioning dancers. While she has performed in twice as many shows as Jason, “this is her biggest role yet,” he said. And now that he has caught the acting bug, he intends to continue, as well.
Show time for “A Chorus Line” is 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors and children, and are available through the group’s website (swingbridgeartsalliance.com) or at the door the night of the show. Kane, however, suggests buying tickets in advance, as there will be only two performances - a number he is hoping to increase in the future.
“Everyone works so hard, it’s sad to only do it twice,” he said.
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