Brodie Kyle Klassen, Janavi Chawla, L Danger, Terrence Zhou, Hikari Terasawa;
Photo by Emily Cooper
Live at the Waterfront Theatre
February 2–19, 2023
"God, I hope I get it!” This beloved, Tony award-winning musical offers you a glimpse into the lives of a group of Broadway performers as they audition for the role of a lifetime! In an unexpected twist, they are asked to share their personal stories and the performers open up about their childhoods, experiences in the business and the courage it takes to follow your dreams. Before long you’ll be rooting for your favourite and reveling in musical theatre’s most unforgettable finale!
Conceived and Originally Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett
Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Co Choreographed by Bob Avian
Original Broadway production produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, Joseph Papp, Producer, in association with Plum Productions, Inc.
Directed by: Courtenay Dobbie**
Musical Director: Diane Speirs
Choreographer: Shelley Stewart Hunt**
Assistant Choreographer: Caleb Di Pomponio
Cultural Consultant: Carmen Aguirre
Set, Props and Costume Designer: Jessica Oostergo
Assistant Costume Designer: Oriana Camporese
Costume Cutter/Stitcher: Eloïse Pons
Lighting Designer: Jonathan Ryder
Assistant Lighting Designer: Sarah Fett
Stage Manager: Emerenne Saefkow
Piano and Band Leader: Arielle Ballance
Bass: John Bews
Percussion: Jade Hails
Clarinet, Saxophone and Flute: Graham Howell
Trumpet: Lamby Wu
Featuring Ivy Charles* as Richie
Content advisories: references to suicide, body dysmorphia and molestation; use of homophobic and racial slurs; use of flashing lights
Run time: 2 hours, plus a 15-minute intermission
*The participation of this Artist is arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance • Opera • Theatre Policy.
**Courtenay Dobbie and Shelley Stewart Hunt appear with the permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
I wanted to do this show because it’s about dancers. And I love watching dancers dancing.
I grew up dancing, taking ballet, tap and jazz classes my whole childhood. It’s where I began as an artist. My true roots.
The joy of physical self-expression is like no other – it is poetry in motion, a visual, soundless representation of deep feeling, the relationship to oneself explained by the movement of another. The ability to depict meaning through large leaps in the air or small rolls of the hands is otherworldly, beyond the stars, unexplainable and only felt. It is an art form practiced all over the world since human existence. It is essential to make sense of or escape our experiences. It is done with wild abandon or small precision – it is a cathartic release, fulfilling and deeply meaningful for the human soul. We come home from a night out on the town dancing – sweaty, laughing, tired and high on life. Nothing says more about a person as to how they groove on the dance floor at a wedding or embrace one another in the slow rock of a song. It is the true physical depiction of love. As I said…I love dancers dancing.
A Chorus Line is a show that celebrates dancers and honors the struggle to work as a professional one. It is a show about reaching for your dreams and maybe finding them, getting there, and maybe not. It is a show about the mystery of what makes one artist chosen to be a part of a show over another and the struggle of reconciling with that. It is a show about strength in numbers – that all artists are essentially equal, all looking for a voice, an avenue, a way to express themselves – some on a grand level, in positions of power, some small hoping for just one break. The finale of A Chorus Line is one of the most impressive and meaningful finales in theatrical history. All the dancers in A Chorus Line are the "one” – they are all immensely talented, flawed, and unique, special people.
Thank you to all the students, faculty, staff, crew, creative team and community of Studio 58 for helping to make this show come to life. Thank you to Langara College for all the support they have given Studio 58 over the (almost) 58 years of its existence and especially for supporting Studio 58 out on the town for our 2022/23 season while our theatre is being renovated. This has been a year to remember because of it.
Enjoy the show…
Step kick, kick, leap, kick, touch,
Artistic Director - Studio 58
Does not mean neutral.
And yet our theatre has long operated on this concept of a neutral actor, a culture-less and colour-less one. In other words, white. Because whiteness has been interchangeable with neutrality, premised on this belief that it is not a colour and has no culture. A blank canvas.
This concept that limited the presence of racialized bodies on our stages has of course been challenged by the likes of me and those who came before and after me. We racialized actors were often told we were too specific for countless roles - as opposed to universal, which is what whiteness claimed to be.
I’ve engaged in public discourse for equitable representation on our stages for over three decades. And so it was with great pleasure that I agreed to be cultural consultant for this play at my beloved alma mater. A Chorus Line features two Latinx characters, one of whom is being played by a racialized non-Latinx actor. The two understudies are also non-Latinx. In a school setting, this is beyond fine: it’s exciting. Because it forces the students to do the kind of research they might not do otherwise.
In the professional theatre world, some of us are working towards a time when everybody can play everything. But we are far from that goal, because until recently it was common for white actors to play racialized characters. Not long ago, racialized actors were often considered “not good enough” to play characters from their own communities and were rarely hired to play white characters. The playing field is still far from level; until then we are not yet in a place where we can all truly play everything.
So, what is a cultural consultant? In this case, it’s someone like myself, a Latinx theatre artist, that the non-Latinx actors can use as a resource. I also offered the following questions: what is the experience of inhabiting a Latinx character when you are not Latinx? What is it like to witness this Latinx character as you inhabit them and bring your entire self to this portrayal? This allowed them to dive deep. To be fearless in their exploration.
Means universal. As in pluralistic.
Means an embrace.
Courtenay has been teaching at Studio 58 since 2017 and has been Artistic Director since 2021. Before that, she was the Artistic Director of Caravan Farm Theatre from 2010-2017. For Caravan she commissioned, created, developed, and directed 15 original, world-premiere Canadian and classic productions. Courtenay has performed, directed, choreographed or created for many theatre companies in Canada such as Green Thumb Theatre, Theatre Melee (of which she is co-founder), Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver Playhouse, Belfry Theatre, Axis Theatre, Neworld Theatre, Touchstone Theatre, Carousel Theatre, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Electric Company Theatre, Globe Theatre, Vertigo Theatre, Persephone Theatre, Studio 58, and UBC. She is a graduate of the acting programs of Mount Royal College and Studio 58. She holds an M.F.A in Directing from the University of British Columbia.
Courtenay Dobbie appears with the permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
Diane has been singing, teaching and conducting for a long, long time...long enough to have been onstage in more than 100 opera and musical theatre productions, and to have conducted everything from the RCMP recruit choir to college choirs, including the Studio 58 choir! Back before all of that, she managed to complete a couple of degrees: a Bachelor of Education from the University of Regina and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Toronto.
These days, she has learned to dance with her gremlin and to seek out projects that she feels passionate about. She premiered the role of First Lady in Pauline, a new opera by Margaret Atwood and Tobin Stokes commissioned by Vancouver City Opera; she created a solo cabaret called Transgressions; and she conducted a gender queer production of The Marriage of Figaro for Manitoba Underground Opera this past summer. Diane is thrilled to be back at Studio 58, where she learned a ton from working with students for more than twenty years. The rest of her life is centered around coaching singers online and hanging out with her partner Lorraine, their daughter and a couple of naughty dogs.
For Studio 58: The Rocky Horror Show, Cabaret, Oklahoma!, Spring Awakening, Where’s Charley?, Bye Bye Birdie, The Boyfriend, Guys & Dolls, Pal Joey
Shelley Stewart Hunt has been continuously active in the performing arts since childhood, with numerous television, film and theatre credits as a singer, dancer, actor, choreographer and educator. Shelley played the role of Rumpelteazer in the national touring production of CATS and had a featured role in ABC TV’s Bye Bye Birdie. She is very proud to have tap-danced up a firestorm, literally, as a featured “Hero Tapper” in the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. In fall of 2020 Shelley was thrilled to be a core ensemble dancer in the 1st season of the Apple TV musical series Schmigadoon!
Other choreographic highlights include: The Sound of Music (Arts Club Theatre Company, 2019 & 2022); Elf the Musical (Persephone); Into the Woods, She Loves Me (Thousand Islands Playhouse); The Duchess, (Ruby Slippers); 25th Annual…Spelling Bee (WCTC); Mamma Mia!, (TUTS). From 2004 to 2021, Shelley was an active faculty member in Capilano University’s Musical Theatre Diploma Program, where she served as a choreographer and a tap, jazz and musical theatre instructor. In 2016 Shelley joined the faculty of Studio 58 at Langara College where she teaches tap and movement.
Shelley Stewart Hunt appears with the permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
Caleb is a proud graduate of Capilano University’s Musical Theatre Program. Since graduating, Caleb has been working professionally all across Canada in theatre, film and television. Select theatre credits include: In the Heights, Beauty and the Beast (Arts Club Theatre Company), Grease Toronto (Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre), Grease (Drayton Entertainment), Jersey Boys (Thousand Islands Playhouse), A Little Night Music (Patrick Street Productions), A Little Night Music, Crazy for You, Fiddler on the Roof (Gateway Theatre), Mamma Mia (Stage West Calgary).
Caleb is very excited to be back at Studio 58, for the second time as assistant choreographer. It has been such a pleasure working with and learning from his fabulous former teacher, Shelley Stewart Hunt!
Many thanks to Courtenay, Shelley, Diane and everyone involved in A Chorus Line. And a special thank you to my incredible partner, Nolan!
Carmen Aguirre is an award-winning theatre artist and author, and an Electric Company Theatre Core Artist and Artistic Associate of New Play Development at The Stratford Festival. She has written and co-written over twenty-five plays, the #1 international bestseller Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (2012 CBC Canada Reads winner) and its bestselling sequel, Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution. She is adapting Euripides’ Medea, commissioned by Rumble Theatre, Molière’s The Learned Ladies, commissioned by Factory Theatre, Linebaugh and Rediker’s The Many-Headed Hydra for The Stratford Festival and writing Fire Never Dies: The Tina Modotti Project for Electric Company and the short audio play Rolling Hills Green Pastures for Sunny Drake Productions. She has over eighty film, television and stage acting credits, and over a dozen theatre directing credits. Carmen is a 2020 Siminovitch Prize finalist and a graduate of Studio 58. carmenaguirre.ca
Jessica Oostergo is a Set and Costume Designer from Vancouver, BC. She is a freelance artist with skills ranging from design to scenic painting, puppetry, hat and mask building, and creative collaboration. She has had the opportunity to design for some of the top theatre companies in Western Canada including Bard on the Beach, the Arts Club, Citadel Theatre, Belfry Theatre, Theatre NorthWest, Neworld Theatre, Touchstone Theatre, Ruby Slippers, The Search Party and more.
Jessica worked on the hit tv show, The Magicians (SYFY/NBC), for various episodes of seasons 2-4 and recently built costumes for the following music videos: Black Licorice for Peach Pit, I Knew You When for Marianas Trench and Vessel for Royal.
Jessica is a three-time Jessie Richardson Award Winner and seven-time nominee. She is a graduate of Studio 58 and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, a member of ADC 659 and a sister status member of IATSE 891 Costume and Art Departments. Jessica also teaches Set Design and Design Foundations at Studio 58.
Oriana is a freelance costume professional working in and around Vancouver. She has been the Head Dresser for the Arts Club, 2014-2021; favourite shows include Mary Poppins, Baskerville, Angels in America Parts 1 & 2, Noises Off, Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley and Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol. Oriana has also worked for Vancouver Opera, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Gateway Theatre, The Cultch, PNE, Ballet BC, Broadway Across Canada, The Killers, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. She talks to her cat maybe too much and is always stoked to see an eagle or an owl.
Eloïse is a French Costume Designer and Maker who studied design and costume crafts in Paris. In 2016, she won the "Traveling to learn crafts" prize from the Culture and Diversity Foundation and UNESCO, which led her to Bolivia to discover the traditional Carnival costumes in the Andes. She then moved to the Peruvian Amazon in 2017, where she accompanied Indigenous textile artisans of the Yine First Nation in designing and sewing products. In 2018, she joined a costume workshop in England specializing in extravagant creations for music halls, pantomime and drag queens shows. She went back to university in 2019, and obtained her Costume Design degree from La Sorbonne, Paris, a year later. She then worked for several companies in the French public theater scene, as assistant costume designer and costumes and accessories maker. She signed her first creation in 2021 with the collective ïnuée on La Zone, in Grenoble, France.
In Vancouver since 2022, she has worked as a stitcher for a wide variety of projects, including at the Arts Club Theatre and for the Bard on the Beach Festival. This year, she will design her first show in British Columbia at Théâtre la Seizième called This is A Love Story.
Jonathan (he/him) completed a BA Honours in Drama in 1992 at the University of Saskatchewan and has since worked as a technician, technical director, stage manager, production manager, performer, producer and lighting designer. Design credits include Kidd Pivot, Edam, Touchstone, Judith Marcuse, Neworld, Theatre Replacement, Solo Collective, Ruby Slippers, The Electric Company, Caravan Farm Theatre, The Motherload Collective and Studio 58. Prior Studio 58 credits include Troy, City of Love (2004), Dogeaters (2007), The Winter’s Tale (2009) and Romeo and Juliet (2015). Jonathan spent a few years as the Technical Director at The Cultch, was the Production Manager at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby for 9 years and has been at Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival since 2017, where he is the Production Director. For some additional fun, he plays bass for the band China Repair. Jonathan is really pleased to break away from the busy life at Bard and come back to the wonderful world of Studio 58 to light this classic Broadway musical, directed by his friend and colleague, Courtenay Dobbie.
Sarah Fett (they/she) is a multidisciplinary artist hailing from a tiny town in Ontario. She currently lives and works on the unceded land of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. A graduate of Studio 58, they are looking forward to working with Jonathan Ryder as the Assistant Lighting Designer for A Chorus Line. They are passionate about exploring the intersection of theatre, visual arts and literature with their keen eye for design and their love for live performance art in all its forms. Lighting is always a part of her creative vision; she takes inspiration from colour-field painting, dim intimate spaces and sunlight hitting snowbanks in the countryside. Catch her dancing and singing along to this fun, exuberant show!
Originally from the small northern town of Smithers, BC, Emerenne Saefkow is a non-binary, multidisciplinary artist who adores almost anything creative and hands on. Emerenne currently works as a scenic helper at Great Northern Way scene shop and enjoys expanding their creative creating arsenal. Some of their previous theatre credits include Studio 58’s Blue Stockings (Set and Props) and Everybody (Set and Props), Carousel theatre’s The Tempest (Costume Design and creation) and One of a Kind, a Zoom theatre piece for the Vancouver International Children’s Festival (Writing and Illustrating). They’re deeply grateful to live and create on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Emerenne has always enjoyed the world of theatre and is honoured to support and share that joy with fellow emerging artists.
Arielle Ballance is a music director, music educator, accompanist and performer. She has called Vancouver home since 2016, making music for companies such as Carousel Theatre for Young People, Theatre Under the Stars, Gateway Theatre and Presentation House. Some of her favourite credits include Company (Raincity Theatre — Ovation Award Winner for Outstanding Music Direction); Stiles & Drewe’s The 3 Little Pigs, Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are in a Play!” and A Charlie Brown Holiday Double Bill (Carousel Theatre for Young People); and Monoceros (Studio 58 — Music Associate). She was also rehearsal pianist and played keyboards for three seasons at Theatre Under the Stars (We Will Rock You, Disney’s Newsies and 42nd Street).
Arielle keeps herself busy by being an audition, recital and music festival pianist; teaching piano and voice at Resound School of Music; and arranging harmonies for Vancouver gal group The Dimes. She is also the assistant artistic director of the Burstin’ With Broadway choir in North Vancouver.
John Bews likes to play bass. "Do-do-do," he thinks to himself as he plays. John has been bassist in the Arts Club productions of Avenue Q and Rock of Ages; Patrick Street Productions runs of Bat Boy, Herringbone and others. Do-do-dooo.
American percussionist Jade Hails is a dynamic presence on and offstage. Combining theatrics and technical performance in a musical amalgamation, Hails has committed his career to bridging the gap between the arts. Offering his skill set to other artists in ways that utilize their work, curating collaborations based on poetry and literature as well as visual art and dance. Currently based in Vancouver, Jade is a faculty member of St. John's School as their Artist in Residence. Hails also holds a studio of students with arts schools throughout Vancouver where he provides instruction for percussion technique, performance and entrepreneurship for his schools. His passion for interdisciplinary arts also bleeds into musical theatre, where music, dance and theatrics all combine to create a wonderful experience for the audience and performers.
Graham Howell is a Vancouver teacher, performer and woodwind specialist. Touring extensively across Canada and the western United States, Graham has performed with such acts as Skaboom, the Powder Blues, jazz beat poet Ralph and Canadian pop legend Lee Aaron. Graham has enjoyed playing for several musical theatre productions, including It’s a Wonderful Life (Gateway Theatre); Cabaret, Urinetown, and The Rocky Horror Show (Studio 58); 9 to 5 (Capilano University); and Amélie (Vancouver Fringe Festival).
Graham has also played for the United Voices Choir in their presentations of Mozart’s Requiem and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria.
Currently, Graham occupies the tenor sax/clarinet chair with Alexander Browne and his Boulevardiers, a 1920s swing band, in addition to playing with “A Night of Bowie,” a David Bowie tribute act. He also collaborates regularly with country sensation Karen Lee Batten and solo artist Dino DiNicolo.
Lamby Wu is currently in his second year studying trumpet performance with the principal trumpet of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Larry Knopp at UBC. As a performer, he's played with the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra, Coquitlam Youth Symphony Orchestra, UBC Concert Winds, UBC Symphonic Winds and UBC Symphony Orchestra.
Ivy Charles (she/her) hails from Winnipeg, MB - Treaty 1 Territory, homeland of the Métis Nation. She is now based in Vancouver, BC, on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples - Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations. Select theatre credits include: In My Day (Zee Zee Theatre Company), Beautiful Man (Pi Theatre) which landed her a Jessie nomination for Outstanding Lead, Orlando (RMTC), East Van Panto: Pinocchio (Theatre Replacement) and Urinetown, Antony and Cleopatra and Cabaret (Studio 58). She graduated from Studio 58’s theatre program as the COVID crisis began in April 2020. Ivy was the Head Coordinator of the Diversity Committee and then the Head Facilitator the following year. Ivy was awarded the Hnatyshyn Developing Artists Grant (English Theatre) 2019 while attending Studio 58. Ivy is thankful for the opportunity to work with Courtenay, Shelley and Diane again!
The participation of this Artist is arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance • Opera • Theatre Policy.
Cast and Crew
Al – Ben Brown (he/him)
Bebe – Cassidy Hergott (she/her)
Bobby – Samuel Walmsley-Byrne (he/him)
Cassie – L Danger (she/her)
Connie – Abi Padilla (she/her)
Diana – Janavi Chawla (she/they)
Don – Brodie Kyle Klassen (he/him)
Gregory – Daniel Tompkins (he/him)
Judy – Trinity Richardson (she/her)
Kristine – Kat Stevens (she/her)
Larry – Damion LeClair (they/them)
Maggie – Hailey Conner (she/her)
Mark – Ethan DeHoog (he/him)
Mike – Terrence Zhou (he/him)
Paul – Brian Martinez (he/him)
Richie – Ivy Charles (she/her)*
Sheila – Emma Soothill (she/her)
Val – Yana Vitkovic (she/her)
Zach – Sebastian Ley (he/him)
Hikari Terasawa (she/her)
Samantha Kerr (she/her)
Brynna Drummond (she/her)
Kate Berg (she/they)
Zoë Autumn (she/her)
Kahlila Ball (she/her)
Jillian Burke (they/she)
Serena Hatch (she/her)Brandon Pringle (he/him)
Caylen Braun (he/him)
Al – Brandon Pringle (he/him)
Bebe – Serena Hatch (she/her)
Bobby – Brandon Pringle (he/him)
Cassie – Cassidy Hergott (she/her)
Connie – Brynna Drummond (she/her)
Diana – Hikari Terasawa (she/her)
Don – Caylen Braun (he/him)
Gregory – Jillian Burke (they/she)
Judy – Kahlila Ball (she/her)
Kristine – Kate Berg (she/they)
Larry – Hikari Terasawa (she/her)
Maggie – Samantha Kerr (she/her)
Mark – Caylen Braun (he/him)
Mike – Brodie Kyle Klassen (he/him)
Paul – Ethan DeHoog (he/him)
Richie – Terrence Zhou (he/him)
Sheila – Kahlila Ball (she/her)
Val – Brynna Drummond (she/her)
Zach – Ben Brown (he/him)
*The participation of this Artist is arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance • Opera • Theatre Policy.
Studio 58 offers professional theatre training for actors and production personnel. The six terms of practical training consist of intensive classroom work as well as performance and backstage experience in productions. Production students and third term acting students operate sound, lighting and video and act as running crew and stage management.
Assistant Stage Managers – Filip Fufezan (he/him), Starlynn Chen (she/her)
Assistant to the Costume Designer – Lou Marshall (they/she)
Crew Head – Michelle Avila Navarro (she/her)
Crew – Kate Kerby (she/her), Heeva Yazdi (she/her), Stella Jack-Rennie (they/she), Brutus Catholic (he/him), Seiji Macas (he/him), Kaia Dill (she/her), Gabby Friedman (she/they)
Sound & Lighting
Lighting Crew Head – Stef Lott (she/her)
Sound Crew Head – Lucy Jeffery (she/her)
Crew – Hernán Alonso Adrianzén Abanto (he/him), Carys Watts (she/her), Clayton Melanson (he/him), Chhavi Disawar (she/her), Aditya Saxena (he/him)
Crew Head – Lynny Bonin (she/her)
Crew – Miriam Peréz García (she/her), Philippa Ryder (they/she)
Crew Head – Kady Yeung (she/her)
Crew – Ella Wood (she/her), Ellie McCullough (she/her)
Crew Head – Ana Julia Naves Ururahy (she/her)
Crew – Jenna Younghusband (she/her), Big Ben (he/him), Alek Cisak (he/him), Tresha Thamilchelvan (she/her), Kevin Riady (they/he)
Staff & Faculty
Artistic Director: Courtenay Dobbie
Associate Director: David Hudgins
Technical Director: Kevin MacDonald
Production Manager: Ruth Bruhn
Communications and Marketing Manager: Halla Bertrand
Singing Coach: Jenny Andersen
Voice and Dialect Coach: Brad Gibson
A big thank you to the following people, organizations and companies for supporting A Chorus Line.
- Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
- Capilano University's Costuming for Stage and Screen Program for making the gold costumes
- Jonathan Ryder
- Mark "Sparky" Lawrence at Capilano University
- Langara College
- Darren Bernaerdt, Acting Dean of Arts, Langara College
- Elyse Wall