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Locals try out for 'Chorus Line'

Auditions continue today and Monday from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Apollo Civic Theatre

Auditions continue today and Monday from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Apollo Civic Theatre

July 14, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

"A Chorus Line" director J.P. Nichols wasn't just looking for a "singular sensation" - as the song from the show goes - at auditions Saturday for the musical at the Apollo Civic Theatre in Martinsburg.

He needs 19 talented performers - people with rhythm who can follow directions, sing and act - to fill all the roles in the show, Nichols said.

Megan Hairston practiced her dance moves, honed her vocal talents and cultivated a sassy attitude for her audition. She hoped to land the part of Val in the popular musical that uses dance, song and monologues to tell the story of 18 dancers auditioning for eight roles in a Broadway show.

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"That's the part I really think I could play well," said Megan, 17, of Martinsburg. "Val's got the attitude. I'm more like the sweetheart but I can have attitude."

Bubbly Megan joined a more nervous Erin Ballard and a focused Sarah Hansel on stage to audition for the dancers' roles. Native New Yorker Dan Mace waited for his turn in the spotlight to audition for the role of Zach, the director.

Sarah, 16, of Martinsburg, focused on staying calm and "reassuring myself that I know what I'm doing" as she waited to begin the three-prong audition: dancing, singing and acting.

Erin, 20, of Falling Waters, W.Va., also tried to calm her nerves. She was apprehensive about the audition because she didn't have formal dance training, she said.

Erin held her own against her more experienced fellow auditioners when the trio took the stage behind choreographer Denna Smith, director of the Inwood Performing Arts Company. The aspiring performers followed Smith's quick instructions and traced the instructor's moves several times before performing several dance sequences on their own.

"Step-kick-kick-leap-kick-touch. Turn-turn-out-in-touch. Arabesque. Jet."

"It was hard," a breathless Erin said after the dance audition. "I need to relax more."

"I've got to concentrate harder," Megan said. "I think I could've done a lot better."

"I got it down, I think," Sarah said.

The dancing is what attracted her to the audition, Sarah said. She has studied ballet, jazz and tap and is attending summer performance art classes at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., in hopes of building skills that will improve her chances of a career in musical theater, she said.

Sarah tested her vocal and acting skills during the singing audition, when she performed a song from "A Chorus Line." Her energetic performance prompted positive mutterings in the audience, but Sarah was harder on herself.

"Not good," she said. "I was too flat or under pitch or something at the start."

Megan unleashed Val's attitude when she sang "Mein Herr" from the musical "Cabaret," dancing on and around a chair while belting out the sultry lyrics. Erin sang a more subdued tune, "You'll Never Walk Alone" from "Carousel."

"After hearing what the other girls sang, I probably would have chosen something different," she said.

Erin, Megan and Sarah felt good about their monologue readings, they said. Dan Mace, despite nailing the New York accent without acting at all, didn't.

"I doubt I'll get it," the Martinsburg resident said.

Nichols said he was pleased with the auditions but hopes more people will try out for the show.

"Everyone did exactly what I asked them to do," he said. "If we get more people like that we'll have a primo cast."

Auditions continue today and Monday from 7 to 10 p.m. at the theater.

"A Chorus Line" will be performed in late September.

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