Ironically, he had never seen a live production until after he was in the cast and lost his voice and had to sit out a performance.
“It’s so phenomenal, and amazing to watch and be part of,” he says. “The show has so much truth and humor.”
As a working actor, Flanagan can totally relate to the situation his character and the others are going though. “It’s the story of determination and perseverance, from all walks of life,” he says. “We’re all fighting for the same things, the actors in the show. I can relate – it’s not a 9 to 5 job.”
The musical features two gay characters. Greg is the flamboyant dancer from the East Side and Paul is the younger dancer who comes out in a powerful monologue. “The show was first done back in 1975, when there weren’t many gay roles,” he says. “It’s very ironic. We are still fighting for the same things as then.”
Flanagan admits that the musical is better accepted in cities near a coast.
“In Middle America, ticket sales are not great,” he says. “Some people get up and leave during Paul’s monologue. Sometimes it’s hard not to respond to that.”
The actor was instrumental in making an “It Gets Better” video from the tour, sending a message of hope to LGBT youth.
“A colleague suggested we do it,” he said. “We talked to several cast members to get it going. I remember I was on the road in my hotel and I saw Ellen [DeGeneres’] video that prompted the movement. It touched close to home. We wanted to get it out faster that we did but the trick was to get it done right.”
“A Chorus Line” came back to Broadway in 2006, with the actress who played Connie in the original version handing the choreography. Flanagan feels that the only real difference in the original and the revival is that “the dancing in the show has been tightened somewhat and made universal, so it can be done anywhere.”
He is having a great time with the tour. This particular version of “A Chorus Line” features only two straight men, he laughs.
A New York native, he will head home when this gig is over. Besides “A Chorus Line,” Flanagan has spent the last two years working with Nickelodeon’s “Backyardigans,” both on the national tour and the TV show.
‘101 Humiliating Stories’
Synchronicity Theatre, about to open the gay themed “Exit: Pursued by a Bear,” is also presenting lesbian writer Lisa Kron’s “101 Humiliating Stories.” It’s a revival of a very funny show that PushPush Theater first staged in 2009.
Shelby Hofer stars as the Kron persona, an East Village lesbian — also a performance artist — who is having anxiety attacks while contemplating going to perform at her high school reunion in Lansing, Mich. Artistic director Rachel May admits she was excited to include the piece in her line-up for March.
Top photo: ‘A Chorus Line’ focuses on 17 eager dancers, two gay, who grapple with their past experiences and future dreams as they struggle to make the ensemble of a musical. (Courtesy Cobb Energy Centre)