Klinger plays wide-eyed, tone-deaf chorus hopeful Kristine in the national tour of “A Chorus Line,” coming to Anniston Thursday to cap off the Knox Concert Series’ 67th season.
Kristine’s big number, “Sing!” is one of the musical’s — and Broadway’s — most off-beat, unexpected moments. When Klinger takes the stage, mercifully accompanied by Paul Flanagan as her more musically gifted husband Al, she said the company tries to guess on which note she’ll end the erratically off-pitch tune.
“I always mix it up and I always leave it a surprise,” the Ohio native said. But her favorite interpretation? “The whole time I’m very nervous and high-pitched. Then at the end I love letting out this really low note. It’s always a surprise because it’s so out of character.”
Klinger has been playing Kristine since she auditioned for the tour’s 2010 run as a college junior. The musical theater major was happy to spend her senior year on the road, not just to have a national tour under her belt when she graduated, but also to play a role she says is perfectly suited for her.
“Kristine is just this fun, goofy character,” she said. “And I was always kind of the goofy one.”
“A Chorus Line” has been a critical and commercial hit since its debut in 1975, winning a Pulitzer Prize and nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The sixth-longest-running show on Broadway, the perennial theater classic “has an amazing history,” said Klinger. “Some people consider it the first reality show.”
“A Chorus Line” is based on the true stories of the original cast members — Broadway dancers who shared their audition experiences with show director and choreographer Michael Bennett during a theater workshop series.
The resulting storyline — 17 dancers sing their hearts out and sweat the competition during an audition for eight coveted spots on a Broadway chorus line — is one with which the cast is all too familiar.
“You go to these auditions and there might be 6-700 other girls there, for eight roles — maybe,” Klinger said. “But we strip ourselves bare and give our all, every time.”
Like the cast sings in one of the show’s final scenes, “This is what we do for love,” she explained. To up-and-coming Broadway hopefuls, Klinger said the best advice she can give is to just stick with it.
“The biggest thing is showing up. It’s definitely not easy, but for me this was a no-brainer.”
Knox Concert Series presents ‘A Chorus Line'
When: Thursday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Anniston Performing Arts Center at Anniston High School.