Peoria Players closes its 100th season by presenting A Chorus Line May 3-12. A 9-time Tony Award winner during its original 15 year run on Broadway (at the time an unprecedented record), it is considered one of the most iconic and popular musicals of all time. A Chorus Line examines one day in the lives of seventeen dancers, all vying for a spot in the “chorus line” of a Broadway musical. After the first round of cuts, each dancer is asked by the director to speak about themselves and “tell their story.” Through this revelation, audiences get a look into each dancer’s individuality.
Peoria Players has performed the show twice previously, in May of 1986 and again in May 1994. This time around, a special twist has been added. Show director Chip Joyce (who last appeared earlier this season as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz and directed last season’s award-winning musical, Rock of Ages), steps into the role of director on this show in more ways than one. Joyce writes in his directors notes “I have always thought it would be interesting if art could imitate life a step further… like what if the director OF the show also played ‘Zach’, the director IN the show?”
In his first (and what he claims will be his only) stint as both director AND performer in a show, he will appear alongside the cast of 27 and adds “there are many layers to this show, and with this concept in place, many more are added unique to our production.”
The cast is a wide range of talent that encompasses much of the downstate area. Many of the actors are local; however, some commute from as far as Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana and Galesburg to take part in the production. While it is an ensemble cast without “leads” in the traditional sense, familiar faces in key roles will include Brandon Chandler (Eastlight’s “Joseph”), Vicky Snyder (from Peoria Players’ “Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Sunset Boulevard”), and Kelsey Jensen (who appeared as Sophie in last season’s record breaking “Mamma Mia!”).
Although it boasts an impressive and well-loved musical score, A Chorus Line is perhaps best known for its iconic and extensive dance sequences. To tackle the ambitious choreography for the show Joyce enlisted Heather Klaus, a former Peorian now based in the Aurora/Naperville area. Klaus has commuted to Peoria on weekends throughout the rehearsal process for choreography intensives. Handling music direction and conducting the live orchestra will be Laura Weaver Hughes, who has also collaborated with Joyce on a number of productions.
Providing costumes for the show is JMR Costume Designs, an East Coast company with special ties to the original production. Their stock of “Chorus Line” costumes are all originals from Broadway, touring and international productions of the show designed by Tony and Academy Award winning designer Theoni V Aldredge.
With its heartfelt acting, spectacular dancing, AND dazzling costumes from the original production, A Chorus Line is set to be a singular, show-stopping sensation that will end Peoria Players’ 100th season on an especially high note.
A Chorus Line is set to run for at least 7 performances May 3-12. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for patrons 20 and younger, and are available by calling 309-688-4473 or at peoriaplayers.org. Performances include 7:30 pm evening shows on May 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11, and 2:00 pm matinees on May 5 and 12. Some performances have been removed from the online option due to high demand, but you may call the box office for reservation assistance. Please note the show is 2 hours long performed without an intermission and contains some adult content.