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.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.