A Chorus Line - 40th Anniversary Celebration
Music by: Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by: Edward Kleban
Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In 1975, a new musical took Broadway by storm. A Chorus Line centers on seventeen dancers auditioning for a spot in an upcoming Broadway production. As the dancers perform and the cuts are made, we come to learn more about each individual dancer and the events in their lives that made them the dancers they are today. I remember watching the promotional spots for A Chorus Line on television when I was a kid and marveling at the choreography and singing along with the catchy tunes. On October 15, 2015, Masterworks Broadway announced the release of a newly remastered addition of the original Broadway cast recording.
A Chorus Line - 40th Anniversary Celebration features all of the original songs, including I Hope I Get It, What I Did For Love and the iconic One performed by original cast members like Carole Bishop, Ron Kuhlman, Pamela Blair, Priscilla Lopez and more. In addition to the original thirteen tracks, there are eight demo tracks featuring songs from the musical as performed by Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban.
I have to say, I couldn't wait to listen to this album - it was a piece of my childhood and one of the longest running shows on Broadway, closing in 1990 after fifteen years and 6,137 appearances. Believe it or not, I had only heard some of the songs and was eager to hear what kept people coming to the theater to see this long running musical. Now, after listening to the original Broadway cast recording, I can understand the draw. I loved listening to the revelations of the various dancers as they revealed their pasts to the choreographer in songs like I Can Do That, At the Ballet, Sing! and more. My favorites are Nothing, in which Diana talks about her horrible stint in an acting class, and Dance: Ten; Looks: Three, in which Val discusses the boost plastic surgery and silicone have given her career.
A Chorus Line - 40th Anniversary Celebration would have been a great album if they had just remastered the original songs. In fact, I wish that was all they had done, because the tracks performed by Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban actually took away from the enjoyment of the album. Hamlisch and Kleban don't have the range for the various songs they are singing - they're composers and lyricists not singers and this is readily apparent.
Despite the additional tracks that really aren't worth much except for those completists who must have the original demos of the songs they love so much, I would still definitely recommend this album to any fan of musical theater, especially fans of A Chorus Line.