is the musical about a musical, and about the poor schlubs who dance their hearts out just for a chance to be seen in a Broadway show. This is the great-grandfather of Survivor. Through gratingly intrusive interview questions, we get glimpses into the lives of the thespians and then watch the elimination matches as slightly compassionate, slightly sadistic choreographer Zach (Michael Gruber) sends home the disqualified. A Chorus Line’s real choreographer, Michael Bennett, directed the original; co-created by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, lyricist Edward Kleban and composer Marvin Hamlisch, the 1976 production put the New York Public Theater on the map and was the longest-running Broadway musical (more than 6,000 performances) for about seven centuries. Here, Baayork Lee has restaged Bennett’s choreography, and the show is directed by the original co-choreographer, Bob Avian. The revolving-mirror backdrop (parodied in The Producers) is combined with catchy, superficial performances, for a celebration of narcissism wrapped around an homage to dance. The snappy, shape-shifting patterns of the jazzy choreography are gorgeous, and there are moments of pathos from Nikki Snelson’s Cassie. She’s Zach’s ex, now unemployed and trying to fall back into a chorus line after a failed pursuit of Hollywood celebrity. Because the chorus line is where home is. Uh-huh. Gabrielle Ruiz’s spunky Puerto Rican dancer, Diana, handles “What I Did for Love” with gentle esprit. And Natalie Hall’s Val (“Dance: Ten; Looks: Three”) has the squeak and spunk of a young Bernadette Peters. But with so much posing and strutting in this hall of mirrors, the production has all the poignancy of American Idol.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m.; Sundays, 6:30 p.m.; Sundays, 1 p.m. Starts: May 21. Continues through July 6, 2008

LA Weekly