Students and faculty worked for six weeks leading up to the moment the Texas State Theatre Department could debut “A Chorus Line,” made perfect by the cast and the crew.
The musical, “A Chorus Line” was written in 1975 and is about the backstories of several dancers auditioning to be in a chorus line. Usually, these dancers remain nameless, faceless pieces of the ensemble, according to Cassie Abate, the director of the musical. The musical took place from Sept. 26 – Oct. 1 in the Patti Stricken Harrison Theatre.
“It’s been a really rewarding rehearsal process,” Abate said. “I keep telling the students that if they let it, the show will change them. I think over the process, they saw that. It’s such a special show.”
Blane Barton, theater senior and stage manager, and his two assistants are instrumental in the production of the musical like the dancers in the show.
Barton sends out daily schedules to the actors and nightly reports to the production team. He also calls lights, transitions and drops for the show.
“I just get chills when I call that light cue perfectly, when all the actors are on stage, and the crowd just erupts,” Barton said. “Sure, it’s probably because all the actors on stage are singing beautifully and they just nailed that dance pose, but if I wouldn’t have said ‘lights go’ they would all still be in the dark and no one would see them.”
Learning the play inside and out is only the beginning of Barton’s job. He also befriends the actors, mentors beginning stage production students. He said said if he is not the last to leave rehearsal, he’s the second to last.
“I can tell when someone is having a bad day and I need to go talk to them to see if they’re okay,” Barton said. “If one person comes not prepared, it affects the whole team, so if I have a bad day and bring that mood into rehearsal, I’m going to affect the entire room.”
Barton said the personalities and collaboration of everyone is what makes the show what it is.
“You don’t have to be on stage to fulfill your passion,” Barton said. “Passion can come in so many different forms, and it takes every single piece of the puzzle to make the show work.”
Rehearsals started Aug. 14, two weeks before classes, and ran 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days a week. Once school started, the production moved into the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre and rehearsals were 6:30-11 p.m. until the show started.
The last week of rehearsals is tech and dress rehearsal, and is when all the light and sound cues are perfected. Emma Hearn, musical theatre senior, who played Cassie in the show, said these rehearsals can be difficult, but in the end the tech team perfects everything.
“You think you have a good rhythm and everything figured out, but then tech comes in and it kind of throws a wrench in everything,” Hearn said. “Of course, then it finds its way back in a new light, but it’s just wonky at first.”
Due to the setting of the show remaining the same, the actors are on stage for nearly the entire production, and Hearn said stamina was a large challenge.
“It goes from scene, to song, to dance, and then we’re just standing on the line, stagnant, and then moving to a big dance number,” Hearn said. “So, you go from breaking a sweat to standing still for a long time, which is difficult.”
This production was the first Texas State show to have a corporate sponsor, Legacy Mutual Mortgage, so all the ticket sales will go to student scholarships, making it unique in more ways than one.
“To be able to give more scholarship money to students is going to be really beneficial, especially when recruiting incoming freshman, and it will be a way to draw in more people and to help the program grow,” Hearn said.