Eleven years ago, when A Chorus Line last came through town on a national tour, the slogan was The Best Musical. Ever. After seeing that production, I personally amended it to The Best Musical. Of 1976. Because despite its nine Tony Awards and Pulitzer, this glimpse into the lives of a bunch of fresh-faced actors auditioning for a musical just doesnt carry the innovative punch it did three decades ago. In fact, TV audiences weaned on American Idol might find the format of this show, in which 17 performers reveal their insecurities to an egotistical director who will ultimately choose only eight of them, downright quaint. (Hes not as mean as Simon Cowell, and despite their eccentricities, none of the hopefuls are as, errr, distinctive as Sanjaya.) Still, the shows best songs, which include Nothing (a hilarious dissection of bad acting classes) and Dance: Ten; Looks: Three (a dancer reveals the secret of her success: breast implants!) remain clever enough to bring a smile. And watching a bunch of insecure dancers transform themselves into a top-hatted ensemble for the big finale One remains a great payoff for any musical theater fan. JOHN LONGENBAUGH Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 292-2787, www.theparamount.com. $25-$72. Opens Aug. 5. 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat., 1 & 6:30 p.m. Sun. Ends Aug. 10.
Aug. 5-7, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 8, 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 9, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 10, 1 & 6:30 p.m., 2008