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Theater Review: “A Chorus Line”

“A Chorus Line” plays through March 22, 2020, at Welk Resort San Diego, 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido.
Photo credit:
Welk Resort San Diego.

Those high-stepping wannabe Broadway hoofers are back, dancing, begging and mostly just hoping to “get this job,” in that 1975 juggernaut of dance hopefulness “A Chorus Line.”

Welk Resort Theatre presents this iconic winner of nine Tonys – wonderfully directed by Hector Guerrero – through March 22 at the resort’s theater, which sports a recently renovated lobby.

The setup is this: director Zach (Jeffrey Ricca) is looking for a quartet of dancers for a new show. Eighteen applicants show up, and we will watch the winnowing process as this disparate group dances – and shrinks.

Applicants range from kids like Al (Cody Walker) and Mark Anthony (Drew Bradford), who report in as 20) to Sheila (the reliably excellent Natalie Nucci), Zach’s former lover, who admits to 30.

Paul (Anthony Michael Vacio) is young, Puerto Rican (pretending to be Italian) and almost pathologically shy. His painful efforts to talk about himself contrast with the “old-timers” like Sheila, who says she was hooked on dance when she saw “The Red Shoes.” Though her home situation was less than lovely, she found that “Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet.”

Then there’s young Judy (Sarah Morgan), who moans “When am I going to grow tits?” And the height-challenged, like pint-sized Val (Holly Echsner), who complains about being “Four Foot Ten.”

And my favorite – silver-voiced Richie (Devon Hunt), an African-American who got a scholarship and planned to become a kindergarten teacher, but soon realized that was not his calling. He pleads with Zach to “Gimme the Ball.”

I’ve never seen this show in a space as small as the Welk, and I must say it benefits from the more intimate atmosphere, since much of it is about each dancer’s psychological makeup and/or problems. And although Welk no longer uses a live orchestra (relying on tapes), this show does not suffer for it.

They’ve sanitized the title of what may be the most famous song: “Tits & Ass” is now the staid-sounding “Dance: 10; Looks: 3.” The title lacks, shall we say, bite, but Holly Echsner, as Val, knocks it out of the park.

This is the first show of the theater’s 39th season, which now boasts a recently renovated lobby. Although they no longer use a live orchestra (relying on tapes), this show does not suffer for it.

Guerrero (who set the original Michael Bennett show) has found the right cast. Together, they do the charming old warhorse proud.

The details

“A Chorus Line” plays through March 22, 2020, at Welk Resort San Diego, 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido.

Saturday at 2 and 7 pm; Sunday at 1 pm.

Tickets: (760) 749-3448 or (888) 802-7469 or SanDiegoTickets.WelkResorts.com