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At the Stratford Festival this summer, the legendary musical “A Chorus Line” will be the same show ...

Why Stratford Festival’s ‘A Chorus Line’ Looks Like No Other

By 18:08:00

At the Stratford Festival this summer, the legendary musical “A Chorus Line” will be the same show it’s been since 1975.

Only different.

After 40 years of fiercely guarding the original vision of the show’s late creator, the Michael Bennett estate has, for the first time, granted permission for an all-new staging of “A Chorus Line.”

“We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of professional productions and God knows how many non-professional ones,” said John Breglio, the producer and former attorney who is Bennett’s executor. “We’ve done Michael’s version over and over again, and have been very protective of it. That’s why Michael left it to me.”

The request that swayed him came from Canadian director-choreographer Donna Feore. “Donna’s request came at just the right time,” Breglio explained. “I’ve come to realize that ‘A Chorus Line’ is a living, breathing work, and it should grow and change with time. It’s not The Gospel According to Michael.”

Feore, whose production is now premiering at Stratford, Ontario’s Stratford Festival, succeeded where many others had failed over the years for a very simple reason. Call it a matter of geometry.

The 1800-seat mainstage auditorium at Stratford is built around the thrust stage designed by Tanya Moiseiwitsch back in 1953. It’s an iconic space, but its semi-circular playing area is antithetical to the straight line on which Bennett’s classic staging of “Chorus Line” is based.

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