Students to perform Broadway-based play

Sean Dunn

Starting Feb. 16, The Northern Kentucky University Department of Theatre and Dance will present “A Chorus Line.”

The musical, set in 1975, is the story of a group of dancers striving to fill one of eight open spots in a new Broadway show. The stage show is the audition for these spots.

Senior Gabe Johnson, who plays Zach, the choreographer of the Broadway show, will play the lead.

“In the grandest sense, this is a role I have been preparing for all my life.” Johnson said. “On a more direct level, once I made the decision to audition for this role, I had to seriously start thinking about getting back into good enough physical shape to both play and dance this role.”

One by one, the dancers auditioning for a role on the chorus line must perform before Zach.

The performers stand on a white line while Zach interrogates them. They expose their lives and dreams through dances, songs and monologues.

Johnson added, “Although this story is about Broadway dancers looking for their next break, the show can appeal to all people, because everyone at some point in their lives has found themselves ‘on the line,’ whether it be for a new job or in a more personal sense.”

Mitzi Hamilton, who has directed and choreographed over 20 productions of “A Chorus Line,” will use Michael Bennett’s original choreography for the musical.

“We have an amazing gift in Mitzi Hamilton. She was in the Broadway and London companies of the show. She’s making a huge contribution to our production, giving us invaluable insight into the show,” Director Mark Hardy said.

“A Chorus Line,” played over 6,000 times on Broadway, can be challenging to direct said Hardy. A director must fuse dance and dialogue, making the changes flow smoothly between musical numbers and scenes.

Something more than his normal passion is driving Hardy and challenging him to achieve perfection.

“For me, ‘A Chorus Line’ is personally challenging because it was the first Broadway show I saw as a kid in high school, and it had a profound impact on my life. I feel a responsibility to do the show justice,” Hardy said.

Hardy added that “A Chorus Line” exposes the rigors and work of a Broadway show, giving the audience a glimpse into what is usually concealed in the theater.

“Don’t smile in this number; you are not performing, you are competing for your life. Do they smile in the Olympics? No. They’re working too hard,” Hamilton said to the performers during rehearsal.

“A Chorus Line” runs Feb. 16 through 26 in the NKU Corbett Theatre.

The performances begin at 8 p.m., with a 3 p.m. Sunday performance.

For tickets, contact the Fine Arts Box Office at (859) 572-5464, or by e-mail at

Tickets are $6 for NKU students.