Friend of the podcast Drew Redington (Holiday Inn) discusses his beautiful experience performing A Chorus Line at The Muny in the final installment of his blog series.
Being a part of multiple shows at the Muny is both a challenge and reward. The hardest part about going from All Shook Up to A Chorus Line was that I didn’t have one day off for a little over a month. Because the shows run right after the other, I had a few days of double duty rehearsing A Chorus Line during the day and doing All Shook Up at night (what I did for love…). However, there is nothing more satisfying than getting to tackle all of that madness. I’ve always been someone who loves to be thrown into a crazy process, I think it’s when I do my best.
Now, A Chorus Line at the Muny… wow. I truly don’t think I have ever been a part of a more special experience. From the first day of rehearsal to the bow on opening night, I couldn’t help but return to my younger self at 4 years old when I saw my first show and told myself “I want to do that." As publicized, The Muny’s production of A Chorus Line is not the original of Michael Bennett, but the re-creation of director/choreographer Denis Jones. While some purists may think this is a bit odd, I actually found it to be inspirational. A Chorus Line was created through the memoirs of real dancers on Broadway, and through the years, sometimes when it’s done, I see that some productions almost treat it as a historical piece as opposed to the original play that was written. That being said, I am a huge admirer of the original and believe it’s one of the best things to have hit the Broadway community. However, approaching this show with new eyes has allowed me to remember the true meaning behind the show and bring my own truth to it through my personal career in the Broadway community.
Getting to play the role of Mark was a dream. Every night when we started the show, I couldn’t help but remember my first New York audition, not knowing anyone, being nervous, and just being bright eyed and bushy tailed, hungry. So much of my life is reflected through Mark right down to the point where he gets the job at the end of the show. Every night when I stand on that line and hear Zach’s line “Rehearsals begin…", I can’t help but look back to when I was 19, sitting in one of my college classes and getting an email offering me my Broadway debut and then running out of class to collapse on the hallway floor to turn into a blubbery, sobbing mess because my childhood dream was going to become a reality. Needless to say, it brings me to happy tears every night.
I think the biggest highlight of this process was re-creating/re-discovering this show with some of the most exceptional actors I have ever gotten the honor to work with. During one of the rehearsals, we were reading the Alternative scene (for those who don’t know, it’s the scene when the people on the line are asked what they will do when they can’t dance anymore), and the attitude of the room completely shifts from rehearsal to reality. All of us in the cast probably talked for over an hour about how A Chorus Line truly carries the timeless reality that is show business. Worrying about the next job, wondering if the previous show you did was the last you'd ever do, or even just wanting to make your debut and be the third hoofer on stage right. It hit me why this show is so special. One of the most common questions/comments I receive as a performer is about my alternative job, of which I have none. A Chorus Line tells the world loud and proud that show business is my job. It’s my life. With all of the fantasy/make-believe on Broadway, A Chorus Line I believe is the first time/only time a show strips down its actors to reveal who we truly are as people.
The last thing I will say about A Chorus Line at the Muny is that it truly demonstrates/reminds everyone what it’s like to have a dream. One of the changes made in this production was that each person on the line had a mini version of themselves played by a child. During the song “What I Did For Love," each mini would come out and stand behind their adult self on the line. This brought one of Diana’s lines to life for me: “I remember standing outside the stage door…” Every night, I get chills, because behind me is a little Drew Redington who did his first show on the Muny stage and wanted nothing more than to be on Broadway. It’s weird to say, but my life is literally played out every night on stage. It’s something that I will always carry with me for the rest of my life.
Getting the chance to do A Chorus Line at the Muny was unreal because it reminded me why I wanted to go into this business, and it solidified my confidence that I am meant to have this as my career. I have no regrets, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. The good or the bad, because at the end of the day, all of it happened because there is nothing else that would make me happier. Every choice I make, I do it for love.
Listen to additional stories about working at The Muny on our Summer Stock episode.