Dancers step up up to the Chorus Line challenge

THE struggles facing young people trying to break into the entertainment industry are as relevant now as they were in the mid-’70s, making Holiday Actors’ upcoming production of A Chorus Line as timely as ever.

Angela Kenna (in red) as “Diana”, Elijah Ziegeler (kneeling) as the choreographer Larry, and (right) Tobin Varley as the director Zach rehearse with the cast of A Chorus Line last night. 140812RG61 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Angela Kenna (in red) as “Diana”, Elijah Ziegeler (kneeling) as the choreographer Larry, and (right) Tobin Varley as the director Zach rehearse with the cast of A Chorus Line last night. 140812RG61 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

“It was originally set in the ’70s but we haven’t made that known in our show,” director Jacqui Lumsden explained.

“The setting is quite ambiguous ... but the hardships are still very relevant to now.”

Lumsden, 18, is a five-year veteran of Holiday Actors and pitched A Chorus Line to the acting troupe’s committee for its mid-year Young Director’s Program.

As opposed to the usual summer production, the mid-year show is on a smaller scale and gives young people a chance to step into some of the key off-stage roles.

Lumsden said she chose A Chorus Line because it provided a good challenge for its cast and featured no small roles.

“With A Chorus Line there are about 19 roles ... (and) everybody gets a song, everyone gets a chance to shine, no one is stuck up the back in the chorus,” she said.

With its plot about Broadway dancers auditioning for a spot in a chorus line, it also put dancing front and centre in the show — a rarity in Holiday Actors productions, Lumsden explained.

“The dancers often get lost in backline ... but in this show that talent is really showcased and it’s really exciting,” she said.

“It was so challenging for a lot of them, especially a lot of the boys who had never danced before.

“(But) they all worked so hard to pull it off — rather than say ‘no, it’s too hard’, they’ve taken the challenge head on. 

“Some of them couldn’t dance two steps before this show but now they’ll be up for feature dance roles in the summer show.”

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