A Chorus Line About to Show off What Dancers Do For Love

It's a modern classic - the Tony- and Pulitizer Prize award-winning story of 17 dancers auditioning for an available eight spots in a chorus line, woven together with music by Marvin Hamlisch. As a way of winnowing them down, their demanding director Zach asks them not only to dance for him, but to divulge some of their innermost secrets.

Theatre Under the Stars is bringing A Chorus Line back to Houston, this time to the Miller Outdoor Theatre (we don't envy those hardworking dancers pounding the boards in the July heat) and Martin Harvey has a lead role, playing Zach.

Still up in the air is whether he'll perform in his native British accent (as he did in a New Jersey production) or he'll do American (which he does a lot as well). Saying the story was set at a time when dancers were "at the bottom of the pile,"

Reached in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he and his wife (who comes from there) were busy teaching a week-long summer dance class to children, Harvey says he wasn't even acquainted with the stage performance of A Chorus Line until about a year ago when he first auditioned for a part.

An actor with dance training, he balances his work between stage, TV and film, Harvey says one of the great legacies of A Chorus Line is what it did for so many dancers. "I don't know how many thousands and thousands of dancers have had jobs because of A Chorus Line," he says. "In this piece, he gave them the spotlight."

Some of the language has been changed to remove '70s pop culture references, but the songs - "One" "I Hope I Get It" "What I Did For Love" - remain.

Mitzi Hamilton, the model for the Val in the original Michael Bennett production and who also performed in that role in London and on Broadway, is directing and choreographing (Harvey got his New Jersey role after auditioning for her there).

A Chorus Line runs July 16-21 at 8:15 p.m. at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. Free tickets for the covered seats are available on the day of performance between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Miller Theatre Box Office. Free tickets are limited to four per person age 16 or over. Any tickets remaining will be given out one hour before curtain.

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing