The show A Chorus Line gives the audience a glimpse into the lives of 17 hopeful dancers. They are putting it all on the line for their chance at making their dreams come true, and the audience gets to see what happens before the current call.
Rehearsals for A Chorus Line began in March of 2008. A little more than two years later, it arrives in East Lansing at the Wharton Center, April 6 to 11, 2010.
Rebecca Riker plays the role of Cassie, a talented dancer who, after gaining a stand-out reputation on Broadway, decided to try her hand in California. She comes back to the ensemble hoping to make the chorus. CAWLM talked with Riker about her character and what it’s really like when it comes to auditioning for a show.
CAWLM: This isn’t the first role you’ve played in A Chorus Line, correct?
Riker: No. When the tour first started I had a swing role, so I covered several different roles including Cassie. I was also a swing for Diana, and about a year into the tour, the previous gal left and the director asked me to step into the role.
CAWLM: How did you go from playing Diana to Cassie?
Riker: Well, the director asked Derek Hanson, who was playing the role of Don, and myself to stay on for the next tour, and offered him the role of Zach and me the role of Cassie. So I have been playing her for the last six months.
CAWLM: A Chorus Line is about auditioning for a Broadway show. Talk a little bit about that and about your role as Cassie — what drives her; what she’s like.
Riker: The show is about a group of people who are auditioning to be in the chorus. Zach is the director of the show, and he’s also Cassie’s ex-boyfriend.
What drives Cassie is that she needs this role in the chorus. She left the business and went to L.A. to give acting a shot, and it didn’t work out. So now she’s back, and she’s desperate.
CAWLM: Now, this show is being described as “The Best Musical. Ever.” What do you say to that?
Riker: This is just such a great show. You have this group of 17 people who are giving you a piece of their lives; things from childhood that aren’t necessarily related to singing and dancing. The audience can relate to one character or another up there [on stage].
The show has been running for 35 years. It’s funny and heartfelt. It’s really a great show.
CAWLM: Is anyone in your family involved in theatre?
Riker: No. I’ve always felt like the oddball in my family with the singing and dancing. My mom is very outgoing, but she has not had any training. I used to say that I was going to move to New York and be a star, and they’d all say, “Sure you are.”
When I was 22, I told them I was really going to do it, and here I am today.
The show is wrapping up in Sacramento, where my family lives. So my career comes full circle, and my parents are really proud!