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Paupers' "A Chorus Line!" forms a connection beyond the stage

Growing up and becoming the person you dream to be is never easy.

This year will be the 40th anniversary of the Broadway premiere of the show "A Chorus Line."

UNC theater group Pauper Players will be putting on their own production of "A Chorus Line" from Nov. 13 to 16.

This show will illustrate the challenges of putting everything into one's dreams and how far one is willing to go for those dreams.

Director and senior at University of North Carolina at Greensboro Jackson Cooper found it difficult to pinpoint only one thing the show touches on.

“[The characters] are asked by the director to tell their stories," Cooper said. "And it’s all just about these people, who are seemingly very different from one another, finding out through the course of the day and the audition that they are more similar than they thought.”

Senior Mariah Barksdale, the executive director for publicity and an actress in the production, said she felt that these individual characters and their stories are central to the story of the show.

“They backup the star, and they dance in the background, and they 'just dance,'" Barksdale said. "But they want to be forgettable."

But they are not.

"We kind of see everyone’s individual stories and hear their individual monologues," she said. "And so it goes along, and you learn that these characters are very unforgettable. They are all very, very unique.”

Sophomore Stefanie Clinton, who plays Diane, said the story of "A Chorus Line" is not just about dancing but the individual characters. 

“'They have a story to tell, and I think that is very important to remember — that if you aren’t the star, if you aren’t center stage, you still are a human being with a story to tell," Clinton said.

Junior Keenan Brown, who plays Paul San Marco, said the show's emphasis on individuality connects with the audience.

“Something that I really like about this show that is different from a lot of other musical theaters you see is the individuality of the characters and really getting to know what is special about someone," he said.

Barksdale said the audience's connection with the characters is something that has been a part of "A Chorus Line" for its 40 years.

Barksdale said the many themes touched on in the show include love, growing up, coming out, acceptance and rejection. 

“We, as the audience, really connect to the characters because they see all these things that the characters are representing and living, and they realize, 'Oh wait — I am living this as well,'" she said.

Jackson said the show has changed to fit today better than ever before.

“'Chorus Line,' when it first came out, was a big statement that dancers have a voice, that dancers have stories," he said. "And I’m very excited for people to hear the stories and see how universal it is.

“I think people will see it not as piece about theater, but as a piece about the human condition and how far we are pushed when we are told we have to put everything — like what we love — on the line."


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