Review: MAUREEN DOLAN - ‘A Chorus Line’ hits all the right notes

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    Courtesy photo Pictured from left, rehearsing for Lake City Playhouse’s production of “A Chorus Line” are Kiara Klinkefus (Judy), Isabella Mesenbrink (Kristine), Amber Fiedler (Diana).

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    Courtesy photo Pictured from left, rehearsing for Lake City Playhouse’s production of “A Chorus Line” are Kiara Klinkefus (Judy), Isabella Mesenbrink (Kristine), Amber Fiedler (Diana).

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If you go

What: ‘A Chorus Line’

When: Through Sept. 23, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

Where: Lake City Playhouse, 1320 E. Garden Ave., Coeur d’Alene

Tickets: $25/adults, $23/seniors, students and military

www.lakecityplayhouse.org

info@lakecityplayhouse.org

208-676-PLAY (7529)

I was a drama kid, and “A Chorus Line” is an important part of my brief history as an actress.

When I saw the show last weekend at Lake City Playhouse, I remembered why.

“A Chorus Line” perfectly captures the energy, excitement and camaraderie of show business, along with the heartbreak that comes with striving for a career on stage. The story is about a large group of people auditioning for a few parts on a chorus line in a Broadway show.

The Lake City Playhouse production, a high energy affair with some incredible singing and dancing, did not disappoint this former drama kid.

Way back when “A Chorus Line” was on Broadway garnering stellar reviews and winning awards, I was just starting high school in New Jersey.

I was the only freshman to win a role in the school’s fall production of a Neil Simon comedy. The older students in the show took me under their wings and showed me the high school theater ropes.

It was an incredible experience for a starry-eyed 14-year-old. That’s when I fell in love with theater.

The day after our final Sunday afternoon performance, I got a taste of the heartbreak. The show had closed, and although I always knew it would, at my tender age, I was unprepared for the sense of loss I experienced.

I knew the energy, excitement and camaraderie I’d been part of would never be quite the same.

But I had made some new friends, and those seniors, my fellow thespians, rounded me up after school the first day we were no longer rehearsing, to visit the auditorium where we had spent every day for almost two months.

The school’s stagecraft students were breaking down the set, taking down walls and doors and moving the furniture from the stage.

We just stood there and watched, silent. I was embarrassed because I felt tears getting ready to roll down my cheeks.

But I was not alone.

I looked over at Danya, one of those seniors who had starred in the play with me, and she was beginning to cry a bit also.

That’s when she grabbed my hand, and grabbed the hand of the girl next to her, who grabbed the hand of the boy next to her, who grabbed the hand of the boy next to him, and so on, and so on.

And then Danya began to sing, quietly.

“Kiss today goodbye. The sweetness and the sorrow,” she sang.

One of the other girls joined in.

“Wish me luck the same to you. But I can’t regret, what I did for love, what I did for love,”

They sang this popular song from “A Chorus Line,” as we stood there, crying and holding hands in the back of the auditorium.

Amber Fiedler, who plays Bronx born and raised auditioner Diana Morales in the Lake City Playhouse production, sings “Kiss Today Goodbye” flawlessly, in one of the most moving performances in the show.

The other touching and sometimes funny moments throughout the play occur as the auditioners are whittled down. The hopefuls, like Bobby, played by Tre Keough, a black man burdened by a Buffalo, New York, upbringing, are challenged to be more than dancers. They are asked to share their personal trials and tribulations in their journey to be Broadway performers.

The cast of the Lake City Playhouse production is young and energetic. David Eldridge, as auditioner Mike Costa from New Jersey, performs an impressive, peppy dance routine with some acrobatics thrown in.

With a sparse stage set, just a practice room, “A Chorus Line” is anything but. It’s full of emotion and charisma.

It reminded me of everything I loved, even the exquisite pain of loss, as a drama kid.

It propelled me back to that high school auditorium, and I recalled joining Danya and the other girl singing as we stopped crying and continued holding hands.

“Look, my eyes are dry. The gift was ours to borrow,” we sang, our other friends joining us in a crescendo. “It’s as if we always knew. And I won’t forget what I did for love.”

Don’t miss this show. Sure, you can watch the 1985 film adaptation, but there is something so much more magical about live theater.

This is a show to be savored from a seat in the same room as the performers giving it their all, which the performers at Lake City Playhouse do, and then some.

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