Marvin Hamlisch, (June 2, 1944--August 7, 2012) is gone; I will always remember him with admiration and fondness. "At the age of 7, Hamlisch was the youngest student ever accepted at the acclaimed Juilliard School of Music...he is one of only 11 people to have been awarded Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and a Tony. He is also one of only 2 people to have won those 4 prizes and also a Pulitzer Prize (the other is Richard Rodgers). Hamlisch also won 2 Golden Globes."
Indeed, the awards were many. "He composed the score for the 1975 Broadway musical `A Chorus Line,' for which he won both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize." Every song here has beautiful, memorably written music; and that's grand.
A Chorus Line had no big name celebrities to brighten up the stage, no elaborate sets, and a comparatively thin plot to connect the outstanding musical numbers. However, A Chorus Line shined brightly because it highlighted the lives of the people who are in the chorus line of a Broadway musical. By focusing on people who normally don't make the leap into stardom, the show paradoxically gained remarkable strength and popularity. "A Chorus Line" ran for 15 years; and there is no doubt that Marvin Hamlisch's score is a big reason why.
The CD begins with the track entitled "Opening: I Hope I Get It." Too many actors and actresses have arrived to compete for jobs in a Broadway chorus line. Zach, the man who must choose the people who make the final cut, stuns the actors by requesting them to talk about themselves. This provides the premise for the rest of the music of the show. One by one the actors open up and share their life stories in song; and the music by Marvin Hamlisch enhances their songs greatly.
Several memorable stories told in song by the actors include "I Can Do That" in which Mike, performed by Wayne Cilento, tells about how he swiped his sister's dance shoes to race to a dance rehearsal; the beautiful ballad about escaping the heartache of real life at the theater entitled "At The Ballet" performed by Carole Bishop, Nancy Lane and Kay Cole; "Montage, Part 3: Gimme The Ball" performed by Michel Stuart and Ronald Dennis as Greg and Richie respectively; and "Dance: Ten; Looks Three" performed by Pamela Blair in the role of Val.
Other numbers deserve very special mention. "What I Did for Love" is delivered flawlessly by Priscilla Lopez and company; Priscilla's character Diana Morales sings of how she would have no regrets if she could never dance again. Priscilla Lopez also performs the memorable balled "Nothing" about how she simply did not profit from a course she took with an acting professor.
The finale, a reprise of the smash number "One," features the cast singing together as polished professionals instead of the somewhat clumsy chorus line hopefuls they were before.
A Chorus Line paints a sophisticated portrayal of the real lives of struggling actors and actresses. The catchy melodies by Marvin Hamlisch will delight you; the lyrics by Edward Kleban display forethought and sensitivity, too.
I highly recommend this CD for fans of the theater and for people who love the outstanding music of Marvin Hamlisch. People who enjoy convincing exposés of the real lives of struggling actors will also enjoy this CD.