In one of the most anticipated announcements for 2020, Darlinghurst Theatre Company has revealed the cast of “triple threats” who will take to the stage of Eternity Playhouse in March for their new production of A Chorus Line under the direction of Amy Campbell.
“I didn’t precast any of the roles … everything was up for grabs,” says the Helpmann Award-nominated director and choreographer Amy Campbell. “That’s what A Chorus Line is all about – it’s about auditioning for a show – so I felt that everyone should be given a chance.”
Campbell won the 2018 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Choreography of a Musical for her work on In The Heights and was nominated again for last year’s smash-hit production of ONCE at Darlinghurst Theatre Company. She now returns to stage the legendary A Chorus Line and has spent nearly two months casting the production which opens in March.
With literally hundreds of submissions, it fell to Campbell to find the best of the best. “Yes, they had to have amazing dance, acting and vocal skills, but I also wanted them to be truly special, unique and diverse. I wanted an eclectic bunch of performers who could bring these stories to life with authenticity and passion,” she said.
Following a rigorous audition process, Campbell has succeeded in bringing together a company of 20, who are all passionate about A Chorus Line. Having worked their way up through the industry to perform in iconic dance-based shows like CATS, West Side Story and Chicago, the story resonates with each and every one of them on a deeply personal level. Seeing them come together on the Eternity Playhouse stage will be the dance highlight of 2020.
“The intimate nature of the space will make 20 dancers feel like 100. You’ll feel their sweat, pain and joy in every row,” says Campbell. “You’ll be up close and intimate with these characters who, by their very nature, expose all their vulnerabilities and talent for the chance to be seen and heard. The physical energy is going to be electric.”
Tim Draxl makes a welcome return to Darlinghurst Theatre Company following 2018’s Torch Song Trilogy. Draxl plays Zach, the director auditioning a group of actors for his upcoming musical. The role of Zach was largely modelled on the show’s legendary creator Michael Bennett and subsequently performed by Michael Douglas in the film adaptation of the musical.
The auditionees, who are desperate to get a job in Zach’s new show, will be performed by some of the most accomplished triple threats in Australia. Angelique Cassimatis plays Zach’s ex-girlfriend Cassie. Having fallen on hard times after a stint in the spotlight as a soloist, Cassie is now eager to rejoin the other hopefuls looking for a break.
They will be joined by Daniel Assetta as Al, Molly Bugeja as Vicki, Samantha Bruzzese as Diana Morales, Andrew Cook as Don, Nadia Coote as Sheila, Lachlan Dearing as Mike, Natalie Foti as Bebe, Keanu Gonzalez as Greg, Chaska Halliday as Val, Glenn Hill as Bobby, Emma Jarman as Connie, Madeleine Mackenzie as Judy, Coby Njoroge as Ritchie, Dayton Tavares as Mark, Jessica Velluci as Maggie, Romina Villafranca as Kristine, and Lyndon Watts as Paul. All the dancers are put through their paces by Zach’s assistant choreographer Larry, who is played by Eli Cooper.
“This is the perfect cast for the intimate space at Darlinghurst Theatre Company,” says Campbell. “They’re going to knock it out of the park!”
Conceived and Originally Directed by Michael Bennett, A Chorus Line was Co-Choreographed by Bennett and Bob Avian. The musical features a book by James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante with Music by Marvin Hamlisch and Lyrics by Edward Kleban.
The original production opened in New York on 19 October 1975. At the time of its closure 15 years later, it was the longest running show in Broadway history, having played a total of 6,137 performances. It won 10 TONY Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, 9 Drama Desk Awards, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the New York Drama Critics Award.
The original Australian production of A Chorus Line opened at Sydney’s Her Majesty’s Theatre in May 1977, before moving to Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre in January 1978. Subsequent revivals toured Australia in 1993 / 94 and 2012. Baayork Lee, who played Connie in the original Broadway production, has either directed or choreographed each of these productions.
Director & Choreographer: Amy Campbell Musical Director: Andrew Worboys Set Designer: Simon Greer Lighting Designer: Peter Rubie Costume Designer: Christine Mutton Assistant Director & Choreographer: Sally Dashwood Associate Musical Director: Damon Wade Dialect Coach: Linda Nicholls-Gidley
A Chorus Line
Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst
Season: 19 March – 19 April 2020 (previews: 13 – 17 March)
Information and Bookings: www.darlinghursttheatre.com
Image: A Chorus Line – artwork by Daniel Shipp and Evi O Studio