Iconic Broadway musical will kick off Sierra Rep’s 40th anniversary season

If you’re celebrating your 40th season, you might as well kick it off with one of the most iconic Broadway musicals ever.

So that’s what Sierra Repertory Theatre will do with “A Chorus Line,” which debuts Feb. 10 at the company’s East Sonora Theatre. The production will feature talent from across the country in the Tony Award-winning musical that delves into the lives, hopes and dreams of 17 dancers vying for a role a new Broadway show.

“I think audiences will be surprised at how moved they’ll be,” Russell Garrett said in a press release from Sierra Rep. He’ll star in the production. “When we see a musical with a large ensemble, we don’t stop to think about who those people are in real life, how they got there, how hard their lives might be or how challenging their childhoods might have been. ‘A Chorus Line’ presents a stage full of individuals who we get to know and care about over the course of a short time. And the reason it resonates is because it is the truth. Everything on the stage is based on an actual story and experience from a dancer at the time the show was created. Truth is very powerful.”

The story begins as casting for a new Broadway musical is almost complete, with the field narrowed to 17 dancers. “For these men and women, this audition is the chance of a lifetime,” according to the press release from SRT. “It’s what they’ve worked for — with every drop of sweat, every hour of training, every day of their lives.”

Before the final cut is made, the director, Zach, asks each of them to talk about themselves — and he wants more than just resumes. “He wants to know about their families, friends, lovers, ambitions and careers,” the release said. “One by one, they come forward. Some are shy or reluctant, while others are more than happy to reveal their innermost thoughts. From funny to heartbreaking, these 17 dancers share with us the stories of their lives.”

“A Chorus Line” won nine Tony Awards including best musical, best director and best choreographer, as well as a Pulitzer Prize for drama. The score by Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban includes “What I Did for Love,” “One,” “Nothing” and “Dance Ten, Looks Three”. The production held the record as the longest-running show on Broadway for 15 years.

The Sierra Rep production will feature original direction and choreography by Michael Bennett, restaged by Garrett, with Associate Director/Choreographer Jill Slyter. Music direction is provided by Brian Allen Hobbs with a creative team that also includes Brian Dudkiewicz (scenic design), Christopher Van Tuyl (lighting design) and Jay David (production stage manager). Costumes are based upon the original production’s by Tony and Academy Award winner, Theoni V. Aldredge.

Garrett plays Zach in musical with Adrienne Hampton as Cassie. Garrett has appeared in past SRT productions such as “Mamma Mia!” and “My Fair Lady.”

An Opening Night 40th Anniversary Gala will be held Saturday, Feb. 9. The evening celebration begins with a wine and appetizers reception, silent auction and catered dinner at Black Oak Casino Resort before guests move to the East Sonora Theatre for a live auction and the opening night performance. Following the performance, the party continues at the theater’s rehearsal annex with a dessert reception with the cast and creative team. Tickets for the gala package are $120-$150.

A post-show talkback will be held Friday, March 8, with members of the cast. The talkback is free with the purchase of a ticket for that evening’s performance.

“A Chorus Line”

WHEN: Feb. 10-March 24, 2 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays-Sundays; 7 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays

WHERE: East Sonora Theatre, 13891 Mono Way

TICKETS: $32-$47

ONLINE: sierrarep.org