Arts & Entertainment

A Chorus Line – Always having to prove yourself

Angelique Cassimatis performing her solo number, “The Music and the Mirror". Photo: Robert Catto

BY RENEE DALLOW

Angelique Cassimatis, the star of many musical shows from that of Annie, to replacing Kerri-Anne Kennerly in Pippin, to the hauntingly tragic role of Mimi in Rent and a main role in Carmen with the Sydney Opera Company for performances on Sydney Harbour. Angelique now stars in A Chorus Line as a dancer much in demand.

Being of Greek heritage Cassimatis has a very different story to tell of how and why she became a dancer. Something that all the characters auditioning for a role in, A Chorus Line, are required to explain on stage. According to Cassimatis this is such a hard thing for a performer to do as the need to be liked is just as important as the need to be appreciated for your talent.

“The most important thing for a performer is resilience and if you lose the love of performing and allow it to become just another job you might as well walk away. Otherwise it’s too heartbreaking. Some members of my extended family wanted me to just get a university degree and a normal nine to five job, but when my mother took me along to dance classes at the age of three, thinking dance would just be a hobby, I was hooked. There was no other choice for me. My hobby became my love.”

The role played by Cassimatis in the show is a role she has said she can identify with. The character she plays, Cassie, is 30 or so – which is considered old for a dancer, and can’t get a job even though already well established in the dance world with many shows under her belt. Cassie is, as the director Zach says, too good for the chorus. But Cassie truly needs the job and, as anyone in the theatre knows, for a performer getting that next role is a life or death scenario. It’s imperative, desperate, terrifying and intensely personal.

A Chorus Line was the longest running show on Broadway back in it’s heyday in the 70s. A show that has stood the test of time and is just as relevant today as it was then. In fact, in the current climate, with so many shows having to be cancelled it is even more so. Like the 17 auditionees on stage vying to be included in the final cast of eight chorus dancers, the show must go on. Expect all new choreography too from a fresh and inspiring cast, directed by the wonderfully versatile Amy Campbell, in this all singing, all dancing musical production where art really does reflect life.

Until March 6. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point. $110-$170+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneyoperahouse.com

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