A Chorus Line: Where to Draw the (Chorus) Line


Catherine Bowman, Features Editor

A group of 20 to 30-year-old dancers wait to audition. As they meet the director, they tell the stories of their colorful careers in the world of dancing, especially about their formative years going through puberty and adolescence.

What is this describing? A Chorus Line, “one of the best musicals ever written,” according to director Jim Houle.

A Chorus Line, however, is not like most of the plays that Pres puts on. The play follows a group of young, desperate-for-work dancers who came to an audition for a Broadway production.

The director of the production, Zach, makes the initial cuts, leaving 17 dancers still on the stage. He then persuades them to tell him about their lives, in an effort to get to know them better. The dancers individually launch into the stories of their lives up to that point, from rough childhoods, to puberty, to confusion about sexuality.

Another major difference in A Chorus Line is its rating. This play is rated PG-13 due to its mature themes about adolescence, puberty, and the older ages of its characters.

Despite the mature content of this particular play, Houle, his artistic staff, and the administration decided to keep the script almost exactly the same as the original.

Houle says, “If we were going to do a classic like Chorus Line we would want it to stay as close to the original as possible and not dumb it down for high school. We are doing the exact script, every word, minus the F bomb.”

That may be why all of the underclasswomen performing had to get a permission slip signed by their parents to ensure they were comfortable with their daughters performing.

Freshman Allison Dosdos describes why her parents were okay with her performing in the play: “I think they trust me. I think they trust me to be mature about it, and they like theater so I think they’re pretty supportive.”

Another underclasswoman, sophomore Evelyn Rubinchik, says something along the same lines, “My parents believe I’m mature and capable of handling anything in the show, so they weren’t hesitant.”

These younger actresses don’t let the PG-13 content bother them. Dosdos believes the PG-13 moments “go nicely” with the story and exemplify the characters in the show.

Houle agrees. “We don’t feel like there is anything unethical or immoral in the play. So, I’m not worried. I had women murdering their husbands last year [in Chicago], I was a little worried about that. But we all went through adolescence.”

Senior Talia Rossi plays Sheila, an aspiring ballet dancer who had a rough childhood with a father that didn’t love her or her mom. However, she was always happy when she was at the ballet.

In the play, Sheila is “kind of forward in the way she comes on to other people,” according to Rossi. The actress herself doesn’t let this bother her: “Being a theater person this is something that is pretty normal. You see shows a lot that have this kind of content so I felt it was pretty normal.”

Dosdos, who plays Connie, explains that Connie is characterized by her 4 foot 10 inches height, and the struggles that she has had to face because of it. Dosdos says “It helps because I’m not really doing any of [the pg-13] stuff,” meaning she isn’t as involved in the more risque sections of the play.

Houle is slightly worried about some of the Pg-13 numbers, especially one called “Dance 10: Looks 3. “So [the dancer] went to a plastic surgeon and bought tits and ass, which is the refrain of the song. Are grandma and grandpa going to be a little red in the face when we do that number?”

Even though A Chorus Line has some mature content, that doesn’t mean you should steer clear. The cast members have worked tirelessly to create a spectacular show that will surely not disappoint. The dates for the show are November 5-6, 11-13, and 18-20, so make sure to buy your tickets on the Pres website before it sells out!