Arts

Photo: Courtesy of Fabian Santos.
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Long-running musical comes to Centrepointe Theatre, features U of O students and alum

A Chorus Line, one of the most successful musicals in Broadway history, will run at Ottawa’s Centrepointe Theatre March 4–13.

The production, put on by the Orpheus Musical Theatre Society, features a cast and directing team that is nearly half-comprised of University of Ottawa students and alumni.

Debbie Guibeault, the show’s director, U of O alumna and former principal at Canterbury High School in Ottawa, was no stranger to A Chorus Line when she decided to take her spot in the director’s seat. In fact, Guibeault has performed in the musical twice, which she confidently dubbed “the quintessential piece of musical theatre,” both times portraying the character of Sheila.

“I knew the show very well and thought that I could bring something a little bit new to it,” said Guibeault.

A Chorus Line tells the story of 17 dancers auditioning for spots on—you guessed it—a Broadway chorus line. However, while members of the chorus are usually on stage only as backup for the stars of the show, A Chorus Line allows them to enter into the spotlight and share their personal stories.

“Some of them are funny, some of them are touching, some are downright sad,” said Guibeault. “All of the characters come from different walks of life and for different reasons, but what they all have in common is that they love dance. That’s where they find their passion.”

Julia Redfern, a U of O graduate student, will play Kristine in the production, a scatter-brained but “sweet and super lovable” auditionee. Redfern has a similar passion for dance to thank for her career in musical theatre.

She began taking dance lessons at the age of three, and danced competitively until her last year of high school. Her childhood dance instructor just so happened to be the choreographer at a local theatre company, and the rest is history.

Since making her debut at the age of 10 as young Cosette in Les Misérables, Redfern has performed in an impressive 28 productions.

“It was my dream to sing onstage by myself in the spotlight, and I got to do that when I was 10, so that’s what sort of instilled that love of theatre,” said Redfern.

She is thrilled to be back on stage in A Chorus Line, after taking some time off from musical theatre to complete her graduate studies research in biology at the U of O. She shared that this production might even become her favourite to date, with this being her second time performing in the musical.

When asked what she thinks audiences will enjoy most about A Chorus Line, Redfern mentioned the musical’s unexpected comedy, its abundance of dance numbers and its talented cast of triple-threat performers.

“The calibre of everyone in the show is just crazy,” she said.

Guibeault shared a similar sentiment. “I think it’s going to be a spectacular piece of theatre because the people in it are just amazingly talented. I think it will be a must-see show.”

A Chorus Line runs from March 4-13 at the Centrepointe Theatre in Nepean. Tickets can be purchased at centrepointetheatre.com and range from $15-45. Student rush tickets are available with valid ID for $11.25 at the box office on the day of the show, and in advance for the Tuesday and Wednesday productions.

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