Seventeen dancers have to prove why they should make the cut under the bright lights in a version of a Broadway classic opening next month at Crawfordsville High School.

“A Chorus Line: High School Edition” takes the stage at 7 p.m. April 4 and 5 and at 2:30 p.m. April 7 in the Connie L. Meek Auditorium. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $6 for students. Children age 4 and youner are admitted free.

The show pulls back the curtain on auditioning for a play.

“It’s tiring, it’s long and you get one shot and that’s about it,” said junior Reagan Minnette, who plays Cassie, a down-on-her luck dancer who once dated the director, Zach, played by senior Peyton Suiter. 

Minnette plans to pursue an acting career and wants to open a daycare center that would teach theater to the children of Broadway actors. Much of the rest of the cast has appeared in multiple school and community productions.

“They’ve all auditioned before so it’s like, you know, use those nerves to portray what’s going on,” director and choreographer Lisa Warren said.

With more than 6,130 performances, “A Chorus Line” was the longest-running production on Broadway until “Cats” surpassed it in 1997. The high school version of the show cleans up the adult subject matter in the original script.

And after years of teaching young performers the basics of acting on stage, Warren threw out the playbook for this show.

“A lot of that goes away and there were several parts where I’m like, you can actually deliver that line with your back to the audience,” she said. “And for these kids that have been seasoned in doing shows, they’re like, that’s wrong.

“And it is, but… basically, we’re like an aquarium that people just get to watch us [in],” she said.

To narrow down the list of performers, each dancer makes an introduction. The details of their personal lives unfold, with Zach revisiting his relationship with Cassie.

“He almost takes business too seriously,” Suiter said. “It gets to the point where he’s almost working himself to death and losing touch with the people he loves.”

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