Write what you know, as the saying goes, or, in the case of Ovation Theatre, direct it.
To close its second season, the 19th Street theater presents "A Chorus Line," directing by dancer and actress Terri Cline.
"'A Chorus Line' has always been one of my all-time favorite shows," she wrote in an email. "I am a dancer at heart so this show really speaks to me."
The 1975 Broadway musical, which became a film starring Michael Douglas a decade later, focuses on a Broadway audition in which 17 dancers are vying for spots in the chorus line.
Cline said, "As a young dancer, I used to watch the movie version of the show. I had all of the dialogue and choreography memorized."
She has performed in three productions of it, playing tall and quirky Judy, foul-mouthed Val and the sexy but aging Sheila.
When it came to directing, Cline jumped in for her first solo directing experience.
"I’ve always partnered with my husband, Adam Cline, which is amazing, but I really wanted to do something all on my own," she wrote. "This show is a perfect fit for me."
She said she hoped to honor the work of Michael Bennett, who directed and choreographed the original production.
Taking on directing as well as choreographing duties was quite an endeavor for Cline, with the latter posing more of a challenge.
"For every minute of music, it takes about an hour to choreograph. So when you have a number like the 'Montage' that is 17 minutes long, you are talking about many many hours just create it and that’s not counting the hours to teach the choreography and clean it to performance level."
She credits her behind-the-scenes team as well as the cast with helping her with whatever she needed throughout the process.
Now the seventh longest-running Broadway show ever — being edged out by other musical mainstays like "Cats" and "Chicago" — "A Chorus Line" has endured because it hits on controversial issues in a very personal way, Cline said.
"The reason it resonates today is because they are topics that everyone can relate to on some level," she wrote. "Audiences get a glimpse into the internal dialogue of the characters which connects on a very personal level."
In the show, the cast — which includes actors Kelci Cerri, Nick Ono, Abigail Resolme, Liz Borud and Jordan Payne — each share a story about the events and people who have shaped their lives.
Along with classic songs like "What I Did For Love" and "One," the musical connects with viewers when it allows them to connect with the characters on a personal level.
"I would like audience to take away the message that everyone has a story and everyone is special in their own way," Cline wrote.