Developed through a series of workshops involving actual Broadway dancers, A Chorus Line tells the story of a large group—19 characters in all—as they vie for spots in an unnamed Broadway show. In the course of the grueling casting call, each dancer shows some skills and reflects on his or her life and passion for performing. Anticipating the current fashion for reality-based entertainment by several decades, A Chorus Line has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years that’s driven not only by the popularity of the Tony-winning 2006 Broadway revival but also perhaps even more so by an ever-growing legion of younger fans for whom it has become the most cherished of all Broadway musicals.
One young performer who cites A Chorus Line as his favorite show is Gaspare DiBlasi, a 20-year-old actor and dancer who graduated from New York’s La Guardia School for the Performing Arts. DiBlasi plays Paul in the national touring company of A Chorus Line, which comes to the Granada this week for two nights: Tuesday, January 25, and Wednesday, January 26. Without spoiling the plot for those of you who are lucky enough to be seeing it for the first time, I can safely say that Paul is one of the show’s most memorable and heart-wrenching roles. I spoke with DiBlasi by phone last week and he gave me three of his reasons why A Chorus Line shouldn’t be missed. Shows take place at the Granada (1214 State St.) at 8 p.m. For tickets and info, call 899-2222 or visit granadasb.org.
1. It’s universal with regard to age: “I’m playing a character who is 27,” said DiBlasi, “and I’m still only 20, but I know what he is going through. Even 15- and 16-year-olds can understand what it means when the cast comes out together at the end and does the big number ‘What I Did for Love’ because the love they are singing about is the love of dance and performing, and you don’t have to be all grown-up and older to get that.”
2. It’s an incredible display of energy: “We actually warm up for an hour before each performance—that’s the only safe way to get through it. The show is very physically demanding” said DiBlasi.
3. It’s the “feel everything” show: “This was the first show to give a voice to the dancers in the chorus line, and so much came out of them that it takes you through every possible emotion. That’s what makes A Chorus Line so great—the life experiences of the people who made it.”