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Roseville gets a little taste of Broadway

Magic Circle production of ‘A Chorus Line’ showcases local talent
By: Amy Holiday Special to The Press-Tribune
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It takes a lot to get to Broadway. It takes a long, grueling plane flight and an expensive theatre ticket. But for the people who really want to be on Broadway – the Broadway with the fame and glitz and glam – it takes much, much more. And thus is the story of “A Chorus Line,” the 1975 production currently being performed at Roseville’s Magic Circle Theatre. The two-hour show, directed by Brent Null and supported by a cast, pit chorus and orchestra, captures the angst, the emotion, the humor of a Broadway audition. And, in a conveniently inexpensive manner, delivers the lights, camera and essence of show business to those of us who can’t hold a note. The Magic Circle in Roseville, a theatrical staple in the community, has once again produced a laudable performance that holds appeal for a wide audience. The humor, while mature, braids together with the complexity of the choreography and witty dialogue to create a fluid show. But, Null said that isn’t to say that there wasn’t a little turbulence along the way. The most challenging aspect of putting on the show, he said, “would definitely be finding a cast that could not only act and sing, but also be amazing dancers.” “We in the business,” Null said, “lovingly call (these actors) triple threats.” Part of the charm of the show came from the incredible ability in all three arenas – from the dance solo of Music Circle regular Christi Axelson to the emotional acting by Steve Gold to talented singing of Laura Lothian. And as the curtain closed on opening night, it was clear that the theatre had secured just enough of this talent to create a solid show. “A Chorus Line” has been in the Broadway lights since it’s conception nearly 30 years ago. And surely it has seen its fair share of headlines and publicity. But the showings at Magic Circle boast something unique, something you aren’t going to find in New York City. And that is the modesty and wholesomeness of the community theater. There is a comfort in being guided with personal attention to your seat, in being greeted with a smile and handshake from a theatre director, in sitting beside a cheerful Red Hat Society group. There is a sense of warmth in the intimacy of all Magic Circle performances, and “A Chorus Line” is certainly no exception. It’s the same sense of simplicity you feel at a school recital; feelings of community that you simply don’t get at any other larger venue. But at the same time, Magic Circle boats an incredible degree of professionalism. Nationally known talent Pepper Von, who, according to Null, helped attract the energetic cast, did the choreography. It stays true to how an actual Broadway audition might unfold. And there is even an element of surprise – the actors do not know who will be chosen to be in the “chorus line” until the end of the show. And it is the combination of these two factors that seemed to cover up some of the minor flaws throughout the show. There were a few incidences of microphone fuzz, late stage lights and line hesitation. Nothing, thanks to the two years that the theatre has invested in the show, was alarmingly negative. But it’s those small trademarks of imperfection that, for me, made the performance what it was. There is character. And as an audience member, that is what makes a show memorable. I may not be flying to the city anytime soon, but I’ve experienced Broadway. And I only had to drive 12 miles.