What gay of a certain age doesn’t fondly recall an attraction to “A Chorus Line,” that 1975 Broadway musical that shockingly included mentions of gonorrhea, homosexuality and kissing between girls?
Maybe we’re aging ourselves. But the hit musical is making a comeback through a national tour that open in Atlanta tonight (and runs through Sunday). Sadly, there’s no Mario Lopez in this rendition. But there’s still plenty to enjoy.
“It was the peak of the sexual revolution, so we just ran with that,” says Bob Avian, the original choreographer and director of the 2006 Broadway revival and national tour. “We said things onstage that had never been said before. We opened doors that were pretty shocking.”
For gays in particular, the stories of the characters Paul and Gregory were raw, recognizable and poignant. Here were characters putting things out in the open that one would never discuss with one’s parents or employers. The show became a catalyst for empowerment and coming out of the closet.
Says Avian: “So many people we ran into afterward would say, ‘You don’t know how you changed my life. The things you said are things I have been dying to say or have been feeling, and to see it and hear it being said in the theater was so revelatory.’ “
Decades later, issues of sexual identity may be less important than simply making ends meet. Homophobia is down; hunger is up. So the lyrics to the opening number, “I Hope I Get It,” may have a different meaning than they once did: I really need this job. Please God, I need this job. I’ve got to get this job.
The tour stop in Atlanta includes at least two openly gay performers — Brandon Tyler (top, right) plays Larry, director Zach’s right-hand man, and Kevin Santos (bottom, right) plays Paul, one of the dancers. The men are partners off-stage, according to a piece by Jim Farmer, the long-time theater critic for Southern Voice.
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