Conservatory of Performing Arts

Original cast member directs production of 'Chorus Line'

Friday, October 21, 2011

Students in the Conservatory Theatre Company's production of the musical 'A Chorus Line.' | Photo by Drew Yenchak

Drama. Angst. Optimism. Set backstage at a Broadway audition, A Chorus Line tells the story of theatre hopefuls baring their souls, songs and dance moves.

The Point Park University Conservatory Theatre Company kicks off its season with a production of this beloved musical Oct. 21–30 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. More than 30 conservatory students are performing in the show.

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“Performing A Chorus Line is a dream. This can't be real,” said Brandon Taylor, a sophomore musical theatre major who plays the role of Mike.

The Conservatory Theatre Company’s production is extra special because it features the return of Pittsburgh native Danny Herman — who played Mike in the original Broadway production — as director and choreographer. Herman has also appeared in numerous other Broadway shows, including Contact and Leader of the Pack, and has directed and/or choreographed world-premiere musicals across the United States.

Taylor said he never felt pressured to fill the shoes of his predecessor because Herman is the “most inspiring person” he has ever worked for in the theatre.

“Danny, amazing as he is, let me play my Mike, or in other words, make it my own. And from then on out, I knew this was going to be such an incredible process,” said Taylor. “I will never forget this experience because of his love for us and his true commitment to not only putting on a great show but honestly caring that we come out as better dancers.”

Another connection to the original production is Point Park’s Distinguished Master Artist in Residence Marvin Hamlisch, who is the original show's award-winning composer. Hamlisch is hosting various workshops this semester and recently attended a rehearsal for the show at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

Lindsey B. Mayer, a senior scenic design major, took on the challenge of designing the set of such a well-known musical.

A Chorus Line has been a very unique situation for me,” said Mayer. “I have never worked on a show that had very specific set guidelines. So my job and challenge was accommodating the needs of the show while finding my own stamp to put on it.”

A Chorus Line runs Oct. 21–30 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets range in price from $18 to $20 and can be purchased by calling the Pittsburgh Playhouse box office at 412-392-8000 or online at 

Article by Kayleigh Smith, sophomore public relations major.


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