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Thirtysome years ago, at the end of a High School class trip into New York City, I went to see my first Broadway show ~ A Chorus Line. I loved it and that’s when I became a fan of musicals. It originally opened at the Shubert Theater on Broadway in 1975 and closed on April 28, 1990. The show had some serious staying power but I never had the chance to go back and see it on Broadway.

Recently, A Chorus Line opened in London at the Palladium Theater which is within walking distance of our flat. Very convenient. I was thrilled when John came home yesterday with half price tickets to see last night’s performance. I wasn’t quite so thrilled when I got to the theater and we were in the nosebleed far above the stage upper circle. I have eye-strain from trying to see the dancers. Oddly, the women next to me actually took off her big boots which I accidentally kept kicking because they were in my foot space. But once the show started, I got lost in the dancing and the music.

Full House at the Palladium

Full House at the Palladium

A Chorus Line is about dancers auditioning for a Broadway Musical. No surprise, there’s lots of dancing, but the dancers are asked by the director, Zach to tell about their backgrounds. He wants to get to know them before he selects the eight he needs for the chorus line. The set is simple ~ black backdrop and mirrors. Nothing else. No fancy props or stage sets. It’s about their passion for dance and about the dancers themselves. The show is a two-hour non-stop musical adventure. There’s no intermission so be sure to get your drinks before it starts. The show last night was true to the original. If you go, you seriously need to consider the context of the 1970s. Dancers ambitions were to dance on Broadway which was the pinnacle of their careers. They weren’t trying out for MTV since there was no MTV. They spoke using 70’s vernacular. Also, in the 70s, coming out as gay was more difficult and less accepted than today. Embrace that it is “dated.”

It was great fun to hear the familiar tunes such as “Dance Ten, Looks Three”, “Kiss Today Goodbye”, “One” and “At the Ballet.” All the singers are wonderful. I couldn’t help but compare it to the original. Since the show just started 12 days ago, it seemed to me the dancers are still getting their rhythm with each other worked out. Some scenes seemed a little stiff. The chemistry between the two main characters (Zach the director and Cassie who is his auditioning ex-girlfriend) needs a little more development/chemistry. The most distracting part for me though was the “American accents” and attitude of the dancers. A person from the Bronx is very different in both attitude and accent from the perky kid fresh off the Missouri farm. Last night, I found the dancers to be much too homogenous for this show. I realize it is very difficult for British actors to get a localized accent down but it’s a critical part of the show. The storyline is about dancers from all over the US coming to audition for a Broadway show and then by the end of the show, you can’t tell them apart from one another.

A side note: One thing I really enjoyed about Rock of Ages is the lead actor had me totally convinced he was a Californian circa the 1980s. No doubt about it. Attitude and accent were spot-on. But when he spoke to the audience after the show, he reverted to his English accent and admitted he’s from Essex. I was so shocked!

If you’ve ever had to come together as a group, whether it be dancing or marching in step, I think you’ll enjoy the show. John could relate because he was on Sword Drill at The Citadel (his alma mater). It was a group of cadets from different walks of life who performed a drill~ reminded me of A Chorus Line as they also look like one singular sensation:

Sword Drill "Singular Sensation"

Sword Drill “Singular Sensation”

A Chorus Line

A Chorus Line

Bottom line ~ I recommend A Chorus Line . Since my daughter is a dancer and didn’t get to go with us, I’ve already purchased tickets for the two of us to go in May. I was able to get 4th row seats and I’m really looking forward to seeing it upclose.

If you want to purchase tickets, click here. The show will run until 18 January 2014. They have matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Closed on Mondays. There is a minimum age of 5 years old but I wouldn’t recommend it for under 10 years old ~ mostly because of the two hours with no intermission. Tickets for the stalls (floor) run £67.50 although there are a few which are more expensive. Again, I would not recommend sitting in the upper circle for this particular show ~ it’s more intimate so it’s best to be closer to the stage.

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Birthday in London

Thoroughly enjoyed my birthday yesterday.  Since we feel like we’re living in the days of wine and roses here in London,  John got real wine (my favorite: Chateauneuf-du-Pape) and red roses for me:

If you squint and look very closely at the photo, those are tickets from Logan to “Billy Elliott” at the Victoria Palace Theater ~ which I can’t rave enough about.  I’m in awe of the actors since it’s a demanding musical but especially the kids.  The amount of talent is amazing.  Loved the story line, the cast enthusiasm, the songs, the dances and, on the practical side, it was 15 minutes door to door (on the tube).  Did I mention I love living in London?!

  

What made this year even more special is I usually don’t celebrate much for the “big day”  At first,  it was because my dad died on my 25th birthday. For years, I didn’t celebrate at all.  But once Logan was old enough to understand birthdays, she’s made it her mission to make sure I enjoyed mine.  But even with the best of intentions, events sometime overtake the day. Last year, in early September, we had two tropical storms and an earthquake hit the Northern Virginia area, causing water to seep into our basement.  We decided to waterproof it completely which meant on my birthday, I was listening to the sound of jack hammers tearing up the basement floor:

This year, I only had sweet sounds to listen to and my favorite was John and Logan singing “Happy Birthday” while I blew out the candles on my chocolate macaroons (goodbye cupcakes, hello macaroons) ~ doesn’t get better than that.

Now about the age thing, I’ve decided to start counting backwards!!

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