Vanguard Theater’s Dream VTC to stage ‘A Chorus Line’

MONTCLAIR, NJ — Nearly 50 years ago, “A Chorus Line” was a Broadway hit, receiving nine Tony Awards, the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. It also has the honor of being one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history. The show comes to Vanguard Theater for nine performances — vs. the 6,137 performances of the original production — from Jan. 7 through Jan. 15. Tickets may be purchased at Due to the content, parental discretion is advised.

The production is part of Vanguard’s Dream VTC initiative, a rigorous, by audition, preprofessional performance program for high school and college students.

Vanguard founding artistic director Janeece Freeman Clark, the show’s director, chose “A Chorus Line” for a reason.

“‘A Chorus Line’ gave voice to performers of color during a time when most roles were designed for white actors, with the exception of race-specific shows,” she said. “The original Broadway cast of ‘A Chorus Line’ featured four actors of color. Two of (the characters) in particular, Paul San Marco and Diana Morales, were written with a multidimensionality that elevated the standard of racial minority depictions in musical theater, which was a major step.”

Vanguard’s production of ‘A Chorus Line’ offers a fresh look while keeping the iconic Broadway choreography. The production features more than a mere four actors of color, creating an atmosphere in which these actors are no longer “novelties,” according to Freeman Clark.

Vanguard Theater dedicates this production of “A Chorus Line” to Ronald Dennis, the Broadway performer who indelibly played dancer Richie Walters in the original 1975 cast of the show, introducing one of the show’s musical highlights, “Gimme the Ball.” Many don’t know this, but Dennis not only brilliantly performed this song in the show, but also had a big hand in writing it. 

Dennis died Dec. 17, 2022, at the age of 78. Prior to his signature role as Richie in “A Chorus Line,” he appeared on Broadway in “Hello, Dolly!” starring Pearl Bailey, and Micki Grant’s “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope.” He was also among the casts of the touring productions of “Pippin,” and Bob Fosse’s “Dancin’” and “La Cage aux Folles.” A longtime advocate for AIDS awareness and charities, Dennis served on the Broadway Cares advisory council, and was the senior adviser for the Black Men’s HIV Medication Adherence Board at APLA/Project Rise.