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A Chorus Line Synopsis


The show opens on an audition in New York. Zach (the director) and Larry (his fairly non-descript dance assistant) watch a great many hopeful auditoners dance The Opening combination. Next they learn the ballet combination (known as the ballet mark) and hang out stage right as they wait to be put into groups. As Zach and Larry call them onto stage, the first song is sung , I Hope I get it. During the ballet combination Vicki gets yelled off stage by Zach as he realises she has no ballet experience. Another unlucky boy gets reprimanded as he dances with his head down all the time. The Jazz combination comes next, followed by the first eilmination, leaving us with the 17 auditionees the rest of the show will focus on. During and after this elimination is 'The Larry clump' (getting pictures and giving them to Larry) and 'The Back Up and come down' (also known as the surge or line change). The final part of the opening is a solo by Paul as he looks at his resume wonders how much of it represents the real him.

The dancers stand in line and one by one come forward to tell Zach their names, ages and places of birth. Most of these include a joke, such as Connie's 'Always Wong never Right'. As Diana announces her name, the Diana Underscoring (Morales) begins, and we first see Zach's unusual auditioning technique, as he tries to learn more about Diana. However she quickly sees what he is trying to do, and tells him that she is too nervous to just stand there and talk about herself. He accepts this, and as he explains to the dancers what he really wants from them, a spotlight bounces head to head down the line (known as The Line Bounce.

Zach asks Mike how he started dancing, and the first solo song is sung - 'I Can Do that' telling about Mike's comical debut into tap dancing lessons. Next comes the touching song And... sung by all of the auditioners. This song is also known as 'The Internals' as it is a song about the thoughts running through the dancers' heads focusing especially on Judy's agony at her height/extreme thinness. These internal thoughts are repeated a lot during the Montage. Zach chooses Bobby as his next victim, and Bobby is completely unfazed as he tells his story of his bizarre childhood. Getting Sheila to open up is a lot harder, but she eventually begins to sing At the Ballet and joined by Bebe and then Maggie, they each speak of the effects that ballet has had on their lives. (At the Ballet can be divided into Ballet Backup, Balle Barre, and Ballet Blaze).

Next Al and Kristine sing Sing! a hilarious duet focusing on Kristine's distinct lack of singing talent and Al's need to finish off every sentence she says. Hello twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love (aka The Montages) begins next, beginning with Mark's story 'Ghonnorea' of his disasterous adolesence, followed by Connie's 'Four Foot Ten' monologue concerning the effects her height have had on her career. Part two of the Montage consists of Diana's song Nothing about her experiences with her drama teacher Mr Karp at the High School of Peforming Arts. Montage part Three begins with Don Kerr's speech, followed by the 'bah dahs' and 'Mother' (Maggies song about her mother's death, underscored with various painful childhood memories of the other dancers). Part Four of the Montage begins with Greg's story (how he realised he was gay) followed by the 'wah wahs' and Richie's tremendous 'Gimme the Ball' section.

At this point comes Val's monologue and her song Dance Ten, Looks Three (better known as 'Tits and Ass), about her pitiful life before her plastic surgery and the amazing effects that a great body can have on a dancing career. After this song has ended, a short Paul scene commences but ends abruptly as Paul freezes up and is unable to talk about himself to Zach. The dancers exit to take a break and learn the 'One' routine and lyrics. However Cassie remains, and the first Cassie/Zach scene commences. As she begs him to give her a chance, we learn more about the romantic history between them. Cassie expresses herself through a passionate dance solo and the song The Music and the Mirror. The Cassie dance can be divided into sections as follows: First dance section, the small mirrors (slow section), Accelerando (small mirrors raise up), Swan Lake, Red, Heat wave, The pirrouettes, The backups (handshake), Layout (final pose). This dance is important as it expresses and communicates many things about Cassie, her troubles, her love of dance, her pain, and her passion.

After Cassie has exited, Paul re-enters and speaks to Zach about why he feels unable to talk about himself in front of others. Pauls monolgue deals with painful childhood memories and his heart wrenching entrance into show business. After this has finished, the rest of the dancers re-enter and the first run through of One begins. At first there are obviously a lot of mistakes, but slowly it comes together, and is sung and danced in groups of four. Next the boys and girls sing it seperately, followed by the 'Smile and Sing' chorus, sung by the boys and girls together. As the dancers dance, Zach and Cassie confront each other and the cast become 'ghosts a la follies'. During this section the cast's voices are heard echoing, counting and chanting steps in the background. The final chorus of One finishes this section.

Zach still can't decide who to pick, so the Tap Combination is danced, firstly in a big group, then in groups of four. During the fourth group of tappers, Paul tumbles to the ground, and 'The Accident' scene commences. The group crowds round Paul, and Cassie takes control determining the problem and giving orders to the others. After Paul has been carried of the stage Zach asks the question 'What are you going to do when you can't dance anymore?' prompting the Alternitives scene when the auditioners talk about other life and career choices they could have and will have to make. At this point, the hit song 'What I did for love' is sung, largely as a solo by Diana but then backed up by the rest of the cast.

The inevitable 'Final Elimination' occurs, preceeded by the 'Elimination Walk'. Zach announces the eight that he wants in the show: Judy, Diana, Cassie, Val, Mike, Mark, Richie and Bobby.

The show ends with the finale One firstly just the eight successful audtioners, then joined by the other 'liners, and slowly joined by all of the rest of the cast and original auditioners. The Finale can be divided as follows: The bows, Shuffle along section, The parade (in cake walk), the wedge, Grapevine circle expanding into Jete Circle, Final lineup, the backup, Final Chorus, and the kicks. As the gold-clad dancers peform their endless high kicks, their images repeated by the mirrors behind them, the stage fades to black and the show ends.

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