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Gerald Carpenter: ‘A Chorus Line’ to Strut Onto the Granada Stage

National touring company will perform in Santa Barbara on Tuesday and Wednesday

Rylyn Juliano plays Cassie in A Chorus Line.
Rylyn Juliano plays “Cassie” in A Chorus Line. (Phil Martin photo)

The Theater League will present the national touring company of A Chorus Line in two performances of the epoch-making musical, at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 25-26, in The Granada.

The show, written by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante with song lyrics by Edward Kleban and music by Marvin Hamlisch, is directed and choreographed by Baayork Lee, with sets by Robin Wagner and costumes by Theoni Aldredge.

This production stars Ryan Steer as the imperious director “Zach,” Netanel Bellaishe as his assistant “Larry,” Rylyn Juliano as Zach’s ex-lover “Cassie,” and a host of other talented actor-dancers playing dancers auditioning for positions in the chorus who become, in the process, unique and unforgettable individuals to the audience.

From 1976, when A Chorus Line opened on Broadway, to 1985, when Richard Attenborough brought out his film version of the show, starring Michael Douglas, American popular culture became absolutely gaga over dance. Hollywood, especially, which had missed its cue at the success of West Side Story in 1961, wasn’t going to miss it this time, and in rapid succession we got Saturday Night Fever (1977), The Turning Point (1977), Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz (1979), Fame (1980), Flashdance (1983) and many others.

Dance replaced boxing as the way out of a working class or minority background. Talk shows abounded with ambitious dancers and older dancers reminiscing about the golden age. Things have settled down again, for now, but A Chorus Line — which won nine Tonys in 1976, and two more when it was revived in 2007 — is still going strong.

Tickets for A Chorus Line start at $58 and are available at the Granada box office at 1214 State St. or 805.899.2222. Click here to order online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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