Before 1975, Broadway shows about Broadway focused on small-town girls who dreamed of making it on Great White Way and just needed that one big break, which came their way just when they were about to give up hope.
Then "A Chorus Line" broke the proverbial mold. It showed Broadway as a business, with shows as its product and human beings as the raw materials it used. Its characters were disillusioned but driven professionals who were familiar with the daily grind of their craft, and they performed for jaded producers, not for awe-struck fans.
It's coming to Van Wezel Performing rts Hall for two shows on Monday.
It won every award imaginable, including a Pulitzer Prize and was for a time it was the longest-running Broadway show ever. ("Cats" surpassed it in 1997.)
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You're not likely to see touring productions of "Cats" these days, but "A Chorus Line" still feels current -- probably because it about human beings and their tribulation, not about cats and their special effects. It also boasts some terrific songs by Marvin Hamlisch ("I Can Do That," "One" and "What I Did for Love" among them) and some wonderful dancing.
Details: 3 and 8 p.m. Feb. 25, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Evening performance is sold out. Tickets: $10-75. Information: 941-953-3368 or vanwezel.org.
-- Marty Clear