In 1975, two shows opened on Broadway within weeks of each other. One featured big stars, a scandalous story and a legendary director. The other featured a no-name cast, no set to speak of, and little by way of plot.
The first did respectable business but struggled at the box office. The second won a Pulitzer and a Tony, and became the longest running show up to that time in Broadway history.
The first was “Chicago.” The second was “A Chorus Line.”
Both shows have had interesting afterlives. “A Chorus Line” devolved into a train-wreck of a movie. “Chicago,” meanwhile, sparked an Oscar-winning Best Picture. On the other foot, the 1996 revival of “Chicago” is still running on Broadway (making it the reigning longest redo ever) while the 2006 “Chorus Line” remount earned back its investment but didn’t generate much excitement.
While it had many regional productions in between, “A Chorus Line” will be a new experience for many audience members. Here’s hoping at least some of the original magic remains in this singular sensation. Details here.