Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 7, 2013

Art as Life

Presenter Series hosts ‘A Chorus Line’

VALDOSTA — For Brooke Morrison, performing in “A Chorus Line” proves dreams come true. Of course, she says, for any dancer, being cast in the famed musical about dancers auditioning for a musical is the job of a lifetime.

Since October, Morrison has played the tough-yet-vulnerable character Sheila as “A Chorus Line” has made its latest national tour. For this interview, she’s speaking on a phone as the tour bus drives to the next destination in the hills of Pennsylvania.

On Monday, March 11, this bus will arrive in Valdosta as Morrison and her fellow cast members perform “A Chorus Line” as the concluding show of the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts Presenter Series 2012-13 season.

Unfamiliar with “A Chorus Line”? Here’s a quick primer, for some. A reminder, for others.

The Presenter Series synopsis: “In an empty theatre on a bare stage, casting for a new Broadway musical is almost complete. For 15 dancers, this audition is the chance of a lifetime. It’s the one opportunity to do what they’ve always dreamed … to have the chance to dance!”

“A Chorus Line” opened in 1975 on Broadway with a book by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante, lyrics by Edward Kleban, and music by Marvin Hamlisch. Nominated for a dozen Tony Awards, the show won nine, including best musical, and it also scored a Pulitzer Prize for drama. It was the longest running Broadway show until “Cats” passed it.

For Brooke Morrison and her fellow “Chorus Line” cast mates, the show proves that life can imitate art as much as art imitates life. In the past several months, sharing a cramped bus and numerous stages, they have become closer friends, something akin to a family, she says.

Morrison says it has been interesting through the months to see how her and other performers’ characters and performances have subtly changed as each one gains deeper understanding of their roles.

Of her character, Sheila, Morrison says, “I feel much closer to her. … She’s this very guarded person at first but she’s also so vulnerable.”

But Morrison has reached the point of counting Sheila’s days. Following the March 11 Valdosta show, “A Chorus Line” has only a couple of weeks before they sing “One singular sensation …” one last time.

The tour ends March 25 when Morrison must ironically leave a show about auditioning for a show to actually audition for shows again. Some of the cast has already lined up their next jobs following “A Chorus Line,” but Brooke Morrison will return to New York to begin auditions in hopes of finding her next job or that big break.

“I will go audition as much as I can,” she says. “It’s about rolling with the punches and letting the chips fall where they may. Back to square one and that’s the scary thing about this business.”

Capturing those fears, those hopes and those dreams has been the magic of “A Chorus Line” for nearly 40 years.

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