The Aurora Theatre starts off the new season in prime fashion by bringing in the talents of both Broadway and local actors in A Chorus Line. Opening night was filled with excited and eager fans to see three New York actors, David Rossetti, Brance Cornelius and Pamela Gold, along with a very talented local group of actors.
The musical’s clever format allows each actor to provide an audition that revealed their personal life and covered the gamut from abused childhoods, homosexuality, and the rare occurrence of some sense of normality during the formative years. There are striking insights into the past of these young performers in their quests to make it in New York City and become dancers. Most of us can’t identify with these struggling dancers, but the interpersonal dialogs among the cast members brings to life the driving urge to dance, particularly on Broadway.
Among the stellar cast, Pamela Gold and David Rossetti stood out, especially Gold’s talent and maturity in her role of Cassie. Rossetti gave a stellar performance as Paul, struggling with his homosexuality and the life he would live away from his parents, who stood by him and loved him. Rossetti’s emotional breakdown as he wept openly to the dance director was moving.
Both Rossetti and Gold lifted the dance performance to a high level and thrilled the audience with their professional acumen. Additionally, the young married couple, Al Deluca and Kristin Deluca, played by Nick Morritt and Angela Nicole Harris were outstanding. Harris stole the show with her down-home accent and youthful insights about life as she strove to be a good dancer and wife. The audience ate up her acting and dancing, but her character was lifeless as a singer. However, this young actress has a great future ahead of her.
Another show-stopper was Courtney Godwin’s singing and dancing in “Dance – Ten; Looks – Three” with lyrics about “tits and ass.” As Val Clark, she made the audience howl with laughter and smug chuckles from even the most modest audience members. As the vamp-type dancer and flashy showgirl persona, she made the show sparkle with good humor and excellent acting.
The entire technical staff is to be congratulated. The excellent lighting by Thom Beaulieu, using large revolving mirrors and multi-colored lights, provided a vibrant and surrealistic atmosphere for the dance rehearsal scenes. In addition, the actors used new microphones, which could hardly be seen. They provided quality sound reproduction and greatly enhanced the singing. Another commendation is due to the costume designer. The costumes by Neal Vipperman were cleverly done, especially during the closing number where the entire dance company came out one-by-one in bright yellow costumes.
With the guidance and leadership of Anne Towns (Director), Ann-Carol Pence (Music Director) and Jen MacQueen (Choreographer) the Aurora Theatre has created a production that not only Gwinnett County can be proud of but also the metro-Atlanta area. A Chorus Line runs through September 4. Visit the Aurora Theatre website for more details.
– Jim McGraw