Twenty-four years ago, on April 28, 1990, "A Chorus Line" closed after 6,137 performances in New York City. It was the longest-running production in Broadway history until it was surpassed by “Cats” in 1997.
The musical opened Off Broadway at the Public Theater on April 15, 1975. Advance word created such a demand for tickets it was sold out right away. So, producer Joseph Papp moved it to Broadway and, on July 25, 1975, it opened at the Shubert Theatre.
With music composed by Marvin Hamlisch and set on the bare stage of a Broadway theater, with dancers auditioning for spots in a chorus line, the show focuses on the choreographer and personalities of the performers, and their decision to become dancers.
The original production was an unprecedented critical and box hit that received the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 12 Tony Award nominations, winning for Best Musical, Book, Score, Director, Choreography, Actress, Featured Actor, Featured Actress, and Lighting Design.
It was the longest-running Broadway musical originally produced in the United States until it was surpassed by “Chicago” in 2011. “A Chorus Line” has had many productions worldwide and was revived on Broadway in 2006. It is still ranks as the fifth longest-running show in Broadway history.
In 1985, the film version, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Michael Douglas, was released and received mixed reviews from critics. In The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote: “They said that ‘A Chorus Line’ couldn’t be done -- and this time they were right.”
But Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times disagreed, writing: “The result may not please purists who want a film record of what they saw on stage, but this is one of the most intelligent and compelling movie musicals in a long time.”