A Chorus Line: One Day A Hairstylist, The Next A Dancer On National Tour

Rebecca Riker always liked dancing and was good enough at it to land a gig as an NBA dancer for the Sacramento Kings in her home town when she was 18 -- but a try at college didn't take. "Wasn't for me," she says.

Being the practical sort, she knew she needed a backstop. "I ended up going to beauty school to do hair cause I was like, 'I'll always dance but if I was going to do something that wasn't dancing, what would that be?' I was like, 'hair. I would like to be a hair stylist.' "

She made it all the way through beauty school too, but then moved to New York City and became involved almost immediately in the theater there.

And as of the first week of 2010, she'll be in Houston at the Hobby Center, playing Cassie, in the national tour of A Chorus Line, brought to town by Broadway Across America.

"I did a few regional gigs and the rest, I've been on tour for about two and a half years," she told Hair Balls by phone from rehearsals in New York City.

Picked up for the touring company, Riker was an offstage swing, covering for the role of Diana and other dancers. Her first big break was when the Diana that they had left after getting a role on Broadway.

"So I got bumped into Diana and I played her for the last six months. Then we kind of started a new contract here. We have practically an all-new cast. Only five of us are returning. They offered me the role of Cassie."

A Chorus Line still works after 35 years because it has such a good story about people dedicated to doing the thing they love, no matter what it is, Riker says. And actually, other than the intensive background questioning that's such a big part of the show, ACL is very accurate as to how New York auditions are run.

"I'm trying to just enjoy this right now," Riker says laughing, because she knows that after the five-month tour, she'll be looking for work again.

A Chorus Line runs from January 5 through 17 at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. Tickets are on sale at the Hobby box office, online at BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. 

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