Let’s get this one silly notion out of the way, first of all: A Chorus Line is not a period piece.
It’s true, technically, that Pioneer Theatre Company’s current production continues to use the 1975 time frame of the original Broadway production, leaving in references to The Ed Sullivan Show and 1940s birthdates. But that doesn’t mean director/choreographer Patti D’Beck—a member of the original Broadway company of A Chorus Line—has produced something that feels in any way dated.
That’s because Michael Bennett’s creation— brilliantly realized by writers James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante, composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Ed Kleban—remains one of the most perfectly constructed pieces of dramatic musical theater ever. From the broad comedy of a song like “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three” to the heart-breaking monologues, A Chorus Line is a still-relevant love poem to those who labor in obscurity to entertain us, never sure if the next job will be their last. And with the sequences that get you inside the heads of dancers memorizing their choreography, you get a magnificent sense of how hard that job is.
PTC’s cast faces the same challenges as any Chorus Line production in lining up triple-threat (singer/dancer/actor) performers for the lead roles, and some of them are considerably more threatening in one aspect than in others. But the great dancers (like Kimberly Dawn Neumann’s Cassie), great singers (like Jessica Leigh Brown’s Maggie) and great actors (like Miguel Angel Falcon as Paul) can still add up—even after more than 30 years—to one singular sensation.