RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
A scene from the opening number, "I Hope I Get It" in the musical "A Chorus Line," which opened Tuesday night at Hawaii Theatre.
The "A Chorus Line" cast lives up to the show's rich history despite sound goofs
'A Chorus Line'
Where: Hawaii Theatre
When: 7:30 p.m. today, 8 p.m. tomorrow, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $38 to $53
There is so much great dialogue, and so many memorable songs, in the rich history that is "A Chorus Line," that fans approach each new production with high expectations. The touring cast that's playing the Hawaii Theatre this weekend does a fine job with this contemporary Broadway classic, even though sound problems marred Tuesday's opening night performance.
Jamie Buxton, Jessica Brokowsky, Kiira Schmidt and Justin Wilcox give Broadway-worthy performances in their big showcase numbers.
Buxton captures the ironic attitude of "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three" perfectly while radiating sweet sex appeal. Brokowsky makes "What I Did for Love" the heartfelt emotional show-stopper it should be. Her skillful balancing of humor and irony in "Nothing" also lives up to expectations.
Wilcox is an early favorite as the energetic lead in "I Can Do That" and quickly proves that he certainly can.
Schmidt brings interesting shadings to the role of Cassie, the one-time lead dancer so desperate to start over after a failed film career that she's willing to risk auditioning for the ex-boyfriend she dumped years before. Schmidt's interpretation of the choreography in "The Music and the Mirror" is unusually effective in showing how Cassie's passion is freeing her from her current circumstances and cleansing her soul. As the music fades and Cassie returns to the reality of the audition stage, we sense that she's been rejuvenated and feels better able to take whatever Zach (Charles Linden), her ex-boyfriend, dishes out.
The director and choreographer of a fictional Broadway show, Zach has godlike power over the dancers who have assembled for this "cattle call." He orders the survivors to stand in line, and his initial questions posed to them -- stage name, birth name, age and hometown -- ask for more personal information than some care to give. But if they want the work, they must answer him. Anyone who won't bare their soul is free to go.
And so, the dancers share memories of good times and bad, broken homes, sexual identity issues, ethnicity, and the traumas of puberty.
Several of these themes percolate through "At The Ballet," and Katherine Kammler, Melissa Center and Lisa Frechette make it one of the brightest moments in the show. Each handles her share of the number beautifully.
Joey Moore, as Paul, touches the audience's collective heart with his show-stopping monologue describing the hard life and jarring times of a sensitive, gay Puerto Rican. It's one of the two most demanding dramatic pieces in the show, and Moore illuminates each facet of it.
J.J. Detlef was an instant hit with the opening night audience, Lindsey Gee was another comic dynamo, and Abby Brady added comic relief as a tone-deaf singer.
Linden's performance, unfortunately, was one of several that were marred by sound problems, which only got worse as the show progressed. Zach's pivotal confrontations with Cassie were muffled by a buzzing microphone buzz, so the groundwork for Zach's eventual epiphany never jelled.
The impact of several of the key one-liners in the four "Montage" numbers were also lost when the soundboard operator failed to bring up each of the individual performers' mics fast enough.
On the other hand, open mics, which sounded like they were placed in the orchestra pit, allowed an unacceptable amount of ambient noise to intrude on several actors' dialogue.
Linden and the others deserved better audio support than they received on opening night.
But problems aside, fans of Michael Bennett's beloved Broadway blockbuster will enjoy this touring production.