Local students take part in Summer Stock version of ‘A Chorus Line’

By Mike Beas

AJ Thoma had always played characters younger than him, so exceeding his age by more than a decade would present its own unique set of challenges.

And yet, Thoma, 18, a recent graduate of Plainfield High School, proved up to the task by playing 32-year-old Greg in the Supper Stock’s recent production of “A Chorus Line.”

Thoma was one of three Hendricks County students who took part in the shows, which held shows nightly from July 27-30 at Ayres Auditorium at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis.

Fiona Curtis, who just started her senior school year at Brownsburg, took on the role of Val. Meanwhile, Avon freshman Keira Himes made her acting debut as Kristine.

Three different actors playing three entirely different roles.

In each case, the persons they portrayed were both relatable as well as different. It was the responsibility of Thoma, Curtis and Himes to make that character his or her own.

“What I like about my character is how open he is. He always says what’s on his mind, and is not shy about anything,” said Thoma. “In my past experience, I’ve never played someone older than me.

“In other musicals, I’ve been a teenager or a little boy. I think it’s easier to play somebody younger because you can act more freely.”

The cast of A Chorus Line. (Submitted photo)

The mission of Summer Stock Stage, a local 501c3 nonprofit, is to provide musical theater performance opportunities to student and emerging artists while offering high-quality, accessible performances for central Indiana audiences. 

Its artistic team is comprised of professional artists who share a commitment to the arts and provide a professional experience for young performers. 

“A Chorus Line” is a musical that prides itself on blending one powerhouse ballad after another with dance and authentic drama. Memorable musical numbers performed included “What I Did for Love, “One,” “I Can Do That,” “At the Ballet,” “The Music and the Mirror,” and “I Hope I Get It.” 

Curtis embraced playing the role of Val, who in the 1975 original was described as somewhat brash and opinionated, though an excellent dancer who initially couldn’t land jobs as a performer.

It’s the latest step in a theatrical process that began long ago.

“I had always danced and sang since I was about 3. After a while, I just wanted to be part of it because my mom (Penny), and I had seen so many musicals as I was growing up,” said Curtis.

“I feel like Val is very similar to me in that she has this unapologetic confidence. That’s one of the main things I feel connected with Val about.”

Himes, too, enjoyed the role of Kristine, a character who by definition is somewhat scatterbrained and a less-than-adequate singer.

“I like Kristine because she’s very positive and is so bubbly,” said Himes. “She has so much energy, and is kind of clumsy and needs her husband (Al) to help her out sometimes.

“I think she’s a really good dancer, and I’m a good dancer, too. But I feel I’m more independent.”