The entire student cast of 26 actors, 10 technical crew members, and 18 orchestra pit musicians share the spotlight in Gettysburg College’s upcoming production of A Chorus Line, presented by the Department of Theatre Arts and the Sunderman Conservatory of Music.
Unlike most musicals, A Chorus Line does not have an obvious lead role. This instills the performance’s theme within the audience that every cast member is crucial to a successful production.
Among the students sharing the spotlight are seniors Jeff Binner, Wes Jackson, and Tori Sharbaugh. All three Gettysburgians are excited to close out their Gettysburg College musical careers by bringing something special to their characters.
Binner is playing Zach, the director of the show. Binner hopes to add his own voice to the character.
“The majority of Zach’s time is spent in the audience, and the audience really only hears his voice,” Binner said. “I hope to bring my interpretation and inflection to the character.”
Jackson will be taking on the role of Paul, one of the dancers featured throughout the musical. Jackson is looking forward to the challenges of telling the story of his character while capturing the emotions of the audience.
“My role as Paul is challenging in that there is a lot of emotional turmoil that he has gone through,” Jackson said. “I really need that to come through on stage. My goal is to show the audience this turmoil and confusion.”
Sharbaugh will play Cassie. She’ll be mirroring her own personality with the hopes of bringing her life and experiences to the stage.
“I can relate to her as I am a singer, dancer, and performer and this will always be a part of my life,” Sharbaugh said. “I have focused on vocal training throughout my years at Gettysburg and this role challenges me to reach a fuller potential and step out of my comfort zone.”
Zach, Paul, and Cassie are just a few of the characters that make up A Chorus Line. The seniors bringing life to them will be working with a variety of other Gettysburg students to make the musical a performance to remember.
“We’ve really bonded as a cast,” Binner said. “We have been together a lot. Our bonding is leading to a stronger production and I am very thankful for everyone that is in the cast.”
A Chorus Line requires that each actor in the show have specifically strong singing, acting, and dancing skills. The faculty of Theatre Arts and the Conservatory have collaborated to help the cast meet the theatrical expectations of this multidimensional production. The performance has also provided Conservatory students with a tremendous opportunity to gain experience in an orchestra pit.
Production director Chris Kauffman, chair of the Dept. of Theatre Arts, emphasizes the importance of collaboration between the campus partners.
“Sunderman director Kay Hoke and I really enjoy working together to integrate our students in a project of musical theatre,” Kauffman said. “It stretches our students in new ways--it makes the singers better actors and the actors better singers.”
A Chorus Line premiered on Broadway in 1975 after an Off-Broadway run at the Public Theatre in Greenwich Village. Michael Bennett, the show’s first director and choreographer, originally created the show. Bennett had been a dancer and choreographer on and off several Broadway productions for years and he wanted to make a musical about the struggles of being a dancer for musical theatre.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Nick Skitko, communications and marketing intern.
Contact: Mike Baker, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6521.