Andrea Cain has been performing her entire life, even through pursuing degrees in Mathematics and Education from Illinois Wesleyan University. Her minor in Theatre Arts allowed her to explore the world of theater critique, and she has enjoyed freely blogging about her experiences for many years. She can be found dancing, writing, and practicing different dialects with her family in her free time.
Pictured: The ensemble of A CHORUS LINE. Photo courtesy of Metropolis Performing Arts Centre.
By Andrea Cain
It is entirely possible I am the only avid theater-goer that has never seen A CHORUS LINE, especially not a stage production. So when I went into Metropolis Performing Arts Centre’s production, I had little to no expectations of what I might see other than iconic choreography. And I was spoiled rotten. The simple set design created by Christopher Rhoton made for the perfect space to allow a full cast to dance freely and display their beautiful technique, excellent character, and overall talent.
The story is simple: these actors need this job. Every character has their moment to share, to put on display why it is they do what they do. From simply putting food on the table, to fulfilling a lifelong dream, we meet a myriad of characters with any number of skills they think set them apart and make them appealing to the director, played with a powerful presence by Brian Kulaga.
The cast is chock full of some truly incredible performers. Laura Sportiello (Maggie) fully demonstrates her incredible vocal range alongside the adorable and endearing Sara Haverty (Bebe) and the sly and hilarious Kara Schoenhofer (Sheila). All three women portray heart and a sense of nostalgia in their touching rendition of At the Ballet, making the entire audience long for whatever it is that has made life special to them.
We are also blessed by the performances of Jessica Miret (Diana) and Luke Halpern (Paul). Miret’s delightful description of her character’s past in Nothing and then her moving rendition of What I Did For Love all show her devotion to the character’s vulnerability. And if you see this show for nothing else, you must see it for Halpern’s gut-wrenching performance. His presence is captivating, and his emotions are palpable. His speech and voice carry a sort of relatable heartbreak over the industry that is show business, and what is means to a person who pursues it regardless of outside expectations.
Metropolis has done great work with this production. They have made this show important to more than just someone in the business. Director Robin M. Hughes has given more than the typical piece of individual stories but made the show into a full ensemble experience filled with every possible emotion. Choreographer Christie Kerr has given the performers the chance to show their technique, notably Ivory Leonard IV (Richie) and his explosive strength and power on the dance floor. The show will bring you to stitches, to tears, and to your feet. Enjoy.
A CHORUS LINE runs through November 3rd. For more information visit MetropolisArts.com.