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STAGE LEFT PLAYERS 'The Chorus Line' portrays emotion of reality for 17 performers

Monday, July 21, 2003

An exciting, well-choreographed performance and glittering finale combine for a singular sensation.
LISBON -- The foibles, dark secrets and struggles of 17 young performers were scrutinized under the glare of a spotlight. As the hopes and dreams of some are cruelly destroyed and their hearts are broken, others show their relief and joy as they win coveted roles in an upcoming production.
That brief synopsis does little to convey the emotions displayed by the youthful hopefuls portrayed so realistically in the Stage Left Players production of "The Chorus Line" that opened Friday night at David Anderson High School.
In retrospect it became apparent that natural talent combined with years of practice and hard work had brought the 17 to the point in their careers where they felt qualified to compete for roles in an upcoming production.
From their actions, it was apparent that each really needs a job and is desperate for work, and that desperation is voiced in the wishful song, "I Hope I Get it."
However, the young performers were unaware that not only their talents but their personal lives would be displayed during the tryouts.
Tension builds as each is singled out for questioning and becomes the center of attention on the barren stage.
Gradually each is stripped of confidence and bravado as he or she steps into the spotlight to answer questions, often too personal, directed at them by the demanding director.
While some of the youngsters are brazen or amusing, others become pathetic characters as they are challenged to "talk about yourself."
The cause for much of their frustration is the director, Zach (Craig Snay) who seems to regard each performer as a commodity instead of a sensitive person.
However, he too becomes personally involved in the cattle call tryout as his old flame, Cassie (Tiffany Gardner), a one-time star, is reduced to seeking a chorus line job. She tells Zach she can do it and demonstrates that she is still a terrific performer as she dances to "The Music and the Mirror."
Despite her ability, she is forced to compete for the job with the other talented youngster, including an Italian kid who boasts, "I Can Do That"; a happily married couple who rely on each other even while performing a number called "Sing" and a Puerto Rican kid who gives a heart-breaking monologue about his life as a drag queen before suffering a career-ending injury.
A touching answer
When Zach asks the troupe members what they would do if they had to stop dancing, Diana (Mollie Polite) answers for the group by singing the moving, hummable torch song, "What I Did for Love."
Ultimately four men and four women are chosen by Zach for roles in his production, and the manner of their selection is surprising, astounding and cruel.
The acting, singing and choreography were terrific and performed excellently by the talented cast.
Directed by Snay, and earning a standing ovation from the delighted audience, the cast included Erica Shonn, Anna Sturgeon, Darrell Cleland, Jake Neiheisel, Paula Politis, Andy Doyle, Amanda Murphy, Josh Homan, Tracie Sinsheimer, Geoff Barnes, Erin Roberts, Rob Dumovic, Ali Cleland, Dave Krivonak, Meg Wack, Kari Lankford, Nathan Price, Laura Oxley, Connie Crawford and Jordan Snay.
The unforgettable finale features the rousing music of Marvin Hamlisch and a stirring, glittering performance of the show's big production number that is definitely "One Singular Sensation."