On the Line: 'Chorus Line' tour makes a quick step stop at Star Plaza Sunday

2013-01-04T00:00:00Z 2013-01-04T21:27:19Z On the Line: 'Chorus Line' tour makes a quick step stop at Star Plaza SundayBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Caley Crawford is happy to report the cast of young singers and dancers from the new national touring production of "A Chorus Line" aren't nearly as competitive behind the curtain as their stage counterpart roles.

"We get along like a family because we spend so much time together," said Crawford, speaking from telephone Wednesday night from her Milwaukee tour stop.

"We usually travel by bus, so it's a good thing we all get along so well. Since we're all young and just starting out in this business, we can all relate to our characters."

Crawford plays the plum part of Cassie, the struggling singer trying to convince an auditions director to include her in his new production, despite their own personal stormy past.

"A Chorus Line," the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical, is playing one performance at 3 p.m. Sunday at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.

Crawford, who originally hails from Texas, joined this new tour produced by Columbia Artists Theatricals in New York City, when it launched in October.

"Previously, I had played the role of Val, the one who sings about her body assets, in a regional production of 'A Chorus Line,' prior to being cast in this tour," Crawford said.

The original production of "A Chorus Line" opened at the Public Theater's Newman Theatre on May 21, 1975 and transferred to Broadway's Shubert Theatre on July 25, prior to officially opening Oct. 19 and running for nearly 15 years, before closing on April 28, 1990 after 6,137 performances.

For this new tour, actress Baayork Lee, who has performed in a dozen Broadway shows and is famed for creating the role of Connie in "A Chorus Line," is directing. She also served as assistant choreographer on the original "A Chorus Line," which was directed and choreographed by Buffalo native Michael Bennett.

As for Crawford, she said after she moved to New York City after college, she spent a year looking for work before finding "A Chorus Line" as her first successful audition to join a production.

"For anyone who has ever auditioned for anything or knows about 'call backs,' this is a story that really hits home," she said.

The musical revue tale of Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line was inspired by the book authored by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante, with lyrics written by Edward Kleban, and music composed by Marvin Hamlisch.

It focuses on the back stories of 17 main characters and is set on the bare stage of a Broadway theater during an audition for a musical, providing glimpses into the personalities of the performers and the choreographer as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers.

Star Plaza CEO and Talent Buyer Charlie Blum said he booked this national tour more than a year ago, just before Marvin Hamlisch died last year, as part of his stage venue's commitment to bring Broadway productions to Northwest Indiana.

"This actually marks the third time during Star Plaza's 30-year history that we've brought 'A Chorus Line' to our stage, because it's one that audiences love so much because they know the songs," Blum said.

"What I Did For Love" and "One (Singular Sensation)" are among the most popular songs showcased.

In recent seasons, Star Plaza Theatre has booked a number of popular Broadway musical tours for performances, including "CATs," "Spamalot," "Chicago" and "Avenue Q."

"We love to host shows that audiences want to see again and again," Blum said.

"And 'A Chorus Line' is in that group,"

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