Overreaching can be precarious in the topsy-turvy world of community theater, especially when an organization has to live up to iconic material. A recent case can be found at Beavercreek Community Theatre where James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch and Ed Kleban’s 1975 Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Chorus Line” receives a bizarre treatment.
Director Doug Lloyd, who rarely missteps when staging musical theater, startlingly assembles a jarring hodgepodge of clashing ages, skills and sizes for this classic look at aspiring hopefuls longing to join an upcoming Broadway musical. Each dancer’s wonderfully insightful background remains attractive as always, but the sheer legitimacy of their world, including the critical proficiency to appear as viable Broadway-caliber dancers, is totally amiss here, cheapening the show’s legacy and intent. In fact, the awkward costuming appallingly suggests the show takes place at some point between 1975 and 2013. It also doesn’t help matters that the pre-recorded use of Hamlisch and Kleban’s dandy score, including such gems as “At the Ballet,” “Nothing,” “What I Did for Love” and “One,” sounds so thin and distant you’d think it was playing in a car stereo in the parking lot.
As for the cast, only Mick Merkle (Larry), Tina de Alderete (Diana), Joshua Hughes (Mark), Sandra Hyde (Sheila), Matt Curry (Richie), Lisa Glover (Connie) and Akayla Crawford (Maggie) walk away marginally unscathed. Matt Owens, who hardly dances even in the crucial opening number, particularly barks and bellows his way through his one-dimensional portrayal of director/choreographer Zach, who has difficulty grasping the job-hungry desperation of his former flame Cassie (an uncomfortable, reserved Kristan Stanforth who truly struggles in “The Music and the Mirror”). Lloyd’s ensemble, attempting Stacy Gear’s Michael Bennett-inspired choreography to the best of their abilities, also includes Lindsay Sherman, Maggie Carroll, Danielle Kubasky, Meagan Kuchan, Brian Kester, Ben Douglas, Nicholas Sutton Brown, Mike Stockstill, Anthony Fende, Gary Watts, Jordan DuVall, Ryan Garner, and Allison Willardson.
I’ve no doubt Beavercreek Community Theatre greatly admires “A Chorus Line.” However, the troupe fails to present it realistically. They haven’t gone as far as to stage an all-black version of “1776” but authenticity matters.
“A Chorus Line” continues through March 10 at the Lofino Center, 3868 Dayton-Xenia Rd., Beavercreek. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. The production is performed in 120 minutes without intermission. Tickets are $13 for adults and $11 for students and seniors. For tickets or more information, call (937) 429-4737 or visit online at http://bctheatre.org