Friday, April 3, 2009

It's the best musical. Ever.

I'm psyched about seeing A Chorus Line on tour this weekend for two reasons.

It was the first Broadway musical I ever saw. (Not to be confused with the first musical I saw on Broadway, which would be Curtains.) It was in Boston, either in the fall of 1977 or the winter of 1978, when I was a freshman in college.

And it's The Best Musical. Ever. Really, it is. That's what it says on the show's promotional material. I've been trying to find out who dubbed A Chorus Line The Best Musical. Ever. It's not easy. Most of the stories that come up on a Google search simply accept the statement as fact.

I'm not begrudging A Chorus Line any of its glory. It's certainly a highly acclaimed musical, winning nine Tony Awards in 1976, as well as the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 1983, it became the longest-running show in Broadway history, closing on April 28, 1990, after 15 years and 6,137 performances. The Broadway revival ran for nearly two years.

I hadn't listened to the original Broadway cast recording for years but I picked it up again a short time ago and I'd forgotten how incredibly poignant it is, listening to these dancers tell the stories of their lives. So after 30-plus years, I'm ready to put on my top hat and see it again.

Still, I'm curious how A Chorus Line got that label. It's such a bold statement that doesn't leave open much room for argument. I thought maybe it came from the 1975 New York Times review, written by Clive Barnes. Nope. Although Mr. Barnes did have some very complimentary things to say about the show - the cast was "100 percent marvelous."

Now I'm thinking maybe it comes from something in the show, a song lyric or line of dialog. Maybe it's a clever marketing idea or maybe some critic really did use that phrase. Maybe it's obvious to everyone but me. Hopefully it will all become clear on Sunday afternoon.

3 comments:

SarahB said...

Ever? Pshaw.

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Currently, Billy Elliot has the audacity to label itself as "The Best Musical You'll Ever See" based on the raves of a certain review. Sound familiar?

Oh, the hyperbole!

Esther said...

Oh wow, I didn't know that about Billy Elliot! I guess the Best Musical Ever tag must have come from a review, too. When I see A Chorus Line I can compare and decide which one really is the best musical ever. ;-) Anyway, I'm looking forward to a sensational time!