Civic Theatre’s Young Artists Program Presents “A Chorus Line”

Caption: L-R:  Emily Chrzanowski, Laney McNamar, Alyssa Boldt and Luke Vreeman 

July 2019

Writer // Janelle Morrison            Photography // Staff

Rehearsals have been underway, and the cast and crew are preparing for opening night of “A Chorus Line,” presented by Civic Theatre’s Young Artist Program (YAP), directed by the distinguished Emily Tzucker and choreographed by award-winning choreographer Anne Beck.

“A Chorus Line,” an award-winning musical, was first produced in 1975. Set in NYC in the 1970s, “A Chorus Line” examines one day in the lives of a group of passionate dancers who are vying for a spot in the chorus line of a Broadway musical.

YAP’S production of “A Chorus Line” celebrates the “unsung heroes of American Musical Theatre” and is a celebration of the classic American musical itself.

Rehearsal for “A Chorus Line”

Carmel resident Emily Tzucker is on faculty at Ball State University in the Theater and Dance Department, where she teaches acting. She directed the Civic Theatre’s production of “To Kill A Mockingbird” at the beginning of the year. Tzucker shared what some of the challenges are directing this particular show.

“It’s a really famous show, so a lot of times you can have preconceived ideas about what it should be like,” she said. “So, getting all of these guys to make the roles their own and not make them feel like they have to live up to anyone’s expectations but do their best work I think for me is one of the biggest challenges.”

Tzucker added, “If you want to see a great production of “A Chorus Line,” then come and see this show. These kids are doing excellent, professional-level work, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Luke Vreeman will be a senior at CHS and is playing “Zach.” He recently performed in CHS’s production of “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” and YAP’s production of “Revue!” He plans on pursuing a college degree in acting after graduation.

“‘Zach’ likes to get his way, and he works a lot, but there are definitely some things with this character that I found easier than others to connect with,” Vreeman shared. “Some of the underlying negative parts of his character really anyone could relate to because they’re things that we all do—only they’re amplified in this role. I like the softer moments that are part of his character too.”

The role of “Connie Wong” is played by Alyssa Boldt, an incoming senior at CHS. “‘Connie’ is a short Asian woman, and I feel that being an [Asian] actor, I think it’s really awesome that I am able to bring that ethnicity into the role. She is also an ‘older’ character, so it’s been really interesting to be able to play this character who’s in her 30s. It’s allowed me to really jump outside of my comfort zone.”

CHS graduate Laney McNamar is playing “Cassie Ferguson.” She will be attending Otterbein University, where she will pursue a BFA in musical theater, minoring in dance.

“‘Cassie’ has been probably my most special role to date,” McNamar shared. “The first time I ever saw ‘A Chorus Line,’ I instantly connected with Cassie. Just to see this woman in all bright red pouring her heart out on stage and this big dance number really inspired my passion. It has been a dream to play this role, and I never expected to be doing it now, but it’s been an amazing experience, and it has been so awesome working with Anne [Beck] learning this iconic dance number that I’ve always wanted to do.”

Incoming junior at CHS Emily Chrzanowski shared what it’s been like learning the role of Diana Morales.

“I feel very connected with this character because she just does not give up,” Chrzanowski expressed. “She’s a beautiful character that had a rough childhood, but no matter what, she followed her passion, and musical theater has been such an escape for me in everyday life. It truly is my passion. Most of my performances have been here at Civic. I was just in ‘Newsies’ as ‘Les,’ and I played ‘Arvida’ [changed to a female character for this production] in the YAP’s production of ‘Guys and Dolls.’ I’ve played a wide range of ages, which has really expanded my mind and my abilities.”

Zionsville Community High School graduate Katelyn Soards is playing “Sheila Bryant.” Soards will be attending Butler University this fall, majoring in arts administration.

Civic Theatre’s Young Artists Program Presents “A Chorus Line”
L-R: Hayden Elefante and Katelyn Soards

“I couldn’t be more excited to be playing ‘Sheila,’ which I am thoroughly enjoying because I am nothing like the character,” Soards exclaimed. “So, it’s been fun to step outside of my comfort zone and kind of ‘sass’ it up on stage. The coolest part about the YAP experience is that it brings kids that love theater from all the local high schools together to put on a show, which makes for a really enjoyable process but a really enjoyable show as well. This is my fourth and last YAP production. Hayden and I were fortunate to have had Anne [Beck] help direct our high school musical [“Mamma Mia!”] last fall, and we were both members of Zionsville’s Royalaires.”

Playing the character who loves to make an entrance, “Bobby Mills” is incoming senior at ZCHS Hayden Elefante.

“I am playing ‘Bobby,’ and the thing that makes me laugh about ‘Bobby’ is that he always likes to make an entrance and likes to entertain,” Elefante said. “He’s also the kind of a character who likes to reserve his heart because of all the experiences that he’s had in past. He doesn’t want to expose himself that much because he feels like he would be too vulnerable.”

When asked why he feels people should purchase tickets and come see “A Chorus Line,” Elefante thoughtfully replied, “I think it’s really important to support the YAP program in general because some students may not be as fortunate to have big sets and all that kind of stuff at their high school. It’s kind of cool to have access to these luxuries and work with a preprofessional program where we can interact with other students from other schools, have fun and learn throughout the process.”

Purchase your tickets for “A Chorus Line,” which runs July 25–28, 2019, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m., by visiting thecenterpresents.org.