‘A Chorus Line’

Broadway classic brings dance, music to Tiverton stage

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TIVERTON — The high-powered world of Broadway dance hits the Tiverton High School stage for four shows this week as ‘A Chorus Line’ runs Thursday, May 4 through Sunday, May 7.

A 60-student cast of actors and crew have spent months rehearsing the show just as it unfolded at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway on July 25, 1975.

THS Drama advisor and play Director Gloria Crist said she is “beyond thrilled to introduce her students to the magic of this particular show” — ‘A Chorus Line’ was the first show of her professional career.

The biggest challenge of ‘A Chorus Line’ is the sheer amount of difficult dance numbers, Ms. Crist said.

To help prepare the cast, 80 percent of whom have no experience with this sort of dance, “we were so fortunate to work with (choreographer) Melissa Costa Doyle who happens to live in Fall River” and was able to teach the students the original steps for some of the numbers.

“I am truly amazed at the amount of time and dedication these students have put into learning — audience members will be equally impressed,” Ms. Crist said.

Seventeen dancers, from freshmen to seniors, rookies to more experience actors, make up the Tiverton cast.

Senior Sadie O'Neill plays Morales, freshman Madison McKenna is Val, senior Ryan Maki is the elusive Zach, and Sarah Mello gets to display her dance talent in the role of Cassie— who performs the classic "Music And the Mirror.”

They all get a workout.

“This show challenges actors to dance, sing and act for over an hour and a half — none of the actors leave stage from start to finish,” Ms. Crist said.

And the final number brings a special challenge for some of the cast who must duck backstage for a three-minute costume change before one last dance.

Just as on Broadway, the stage is sparse — just three giant mirrors (not real glass for safety reasons) — since the focus is all on the music and dance.

The music is all live, courtesy of an eight-member orchestra. The show features all of the favorite vocal selections including "What I Did for Love,” and "Dance Ten Looks Three."

Students handle the graphic design, costumes, lighting, sound and more.

The show runs Thursday through Saturday, May 4, 5 and 6, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.