Oak Bay actress returns to the local stage

A Chorus Line brings the singular sensation to the Mac

Oak Bay’s Alison Roberts as Cassie in A Chorus Line.

Oak Bay’s Alison Roberts as Cassie in A Chorus Line.

Alison Roberts feels a bit of a kindred spirit with her character in the Victoria Operatic Society’s production of A Chorus Line.

The Oak Bay High grad is back in town after a few years working on stages across Canada.

She channels those myriad experiences into her role as Cassie in A Chorus Line, a celebration of the unsung heroes of musical theatre, the chorus dancers. More than that, as the director, “Zack,” takes the audiences and cast members through the final grueling audition for a new Broadway musical, A Chorus Line is about competition, and that resonates with audiences.

“Cassie is a dancer who has come back. She was basically a star in New York and she decided to go away to do bigger things in L.A.,” Roberts said during a recent break in rehearsals.

Unfortunately for Cassie, she’s not a strong actor and lack of work on the West Coast sends her back east.

The transition is not necessarily easy, though.

“She’s having a tough time blending back into the chorus,” Roberts said.

Adding to the challenge is the personal history she shares with the director, Zack.

“A Chorus Line is probably my favourite show of all time. It’s the story of what we do as performers,” Roberts said.

“I like playing the character because I feel like I can relate to her on a lot of levels.”

First, there’s the love of performing. “She says, ‘I don’t want to wait tables and what I really don’t want to do is teach other people to do what I should be doing myself,’” Roberts said.

And in what can be a tough career, “I can also relate to the heartbreak of not working.”

With a minimal set, the actors and their stories take centerstage. “You get to see real people telling their stories.

“I think what resonates is it’s so raw and honest, but it’s also catchy,” she said.

Memorable musical numbers for these triple-threat performers include What I Did for Love, I Can Do That, The Music and the Mirror and I Hope I Get It, in addition to showstopper One.

For Roberts, the production provides the opportunity to return to the stage where it all began.

In addition to shows with Oak Bay High, Roberts also performed in numerous productions with the VOS. Starting dancing at just two years old, theatre came soon after. “I kind of did every possible thing I could do in Victoria,” she said. “This show for me is special because I haven’t done a show with VOS for six years. It’s pretty exciting to be back with the company I started with.”

A Chorus Line is a challenging show for the actors who must be singers, dancers and actors.

“I think people who don’t know much about the industry and the public will get a better look at the people in the shows and a greater appreciation for the ensembles that are in musical shows,” she said.

“Everyone should come see the show and see what goes on behind the scenes of an audition.”

Directed by Tara Britt, A Chorus Line is choreographed by Sylvia Hosie, with Yanik Giroux as musical director.

A Chorus Line opens tonight, Nov. 25, at the McPherson Playhouse and continues on select nights through Dec. 4.

Tickets are available through the Royal McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121 or online at www.rmts.bc.ca.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre will reopen Feb. 1 after a nearly 10-month closure to curb the spread of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre gears up for safe reopening in Victoria

Recreation facility opens Feb. 1 with reservation system to prevent crowding

Coun. Jack McClintock said he would have voted for a proposed statutory holiday recognizing residential school survivors if he had had all of the information. (Black Press Media File)
North Saanich split over statutory holiday recognizing residential school survivors

Legislation would recognize Sept. 30 as National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

(Black Press Media file photo)
Break and enter suspect caught in the act by Saanich police, charged for seven other similar crimes

40-year-old accused of breaking into bank, restaurant, six liquor stores since October 2020

A collage of damaged areas in need of repair in Oak Bay municipal hall, including carpet hazards, missing wall pieces and interior water damage. (District of Oak Bay images)
Oak Bay awards contract for municipal hall renovation

$470,000 will go towards cracked walls, ripped flooring

The Sooke School District raised more than $18,000 for the Goldstream and Sooke food banks from the funds of 10,000 Tonight in December 2020. The funds go two- to 2.5-times further due to the buying power of the food banks. (Black Press Media file photo)
SD62 high school students raise more than $18,000 for food banks

Edward Milne in Sooke rakes in $11,000 alone

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy rushed to emergency 3 times after ingesting drugs in Chemainus public spaces

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Most Read