I will admit to being one of the few people on the Planet
Earth who had never seen the Broadway musical The Chorus Line. Somehow, it
slipped by me, so when a friend highly recommended a new documentary called
“Every Little Step,” which is about the auditions for the 2008 Broadway revival
of “The Chorus Line,” I realized that I needed to watch the movie version to
catch up. “Chorus Line: The Movie” was heavily criticized when it came out, and
while I can see why, it was still fun settling down for hour or so with a bowl
of popcorn to watch the glitzy musical numbers, overflowing with energy and
impossibly slender people dancing. Even though the fashions and frizzy
hairstyles of the 80′s have not worn well, and even though the stories of the show
business “gypsies” now seem a bit clichéd, the music, color, and energy trumped
all. So the time flew.
Having watched the Chorus Line, I popped Every Little
Step, into the DVD player. This documentary uses footage from actual audition
tapes for the 2008 Chorus Line revival. Here are the real Vals, Cassies and
Pauls, 25 years after the opening of the Chorus Line, still giving it their all
to win a coveted role. The talent is stunning, and we get to see differing
interpretations of the roles. As with the original Chorus Line, some are
youngsters trying to break into the profession, but others are older and
fighting for their professional lives. This should be required viewing for any
young person who has stars in their eyes and wants to break into show business.
Behind the glamour and glitz of the stage is hard work and, often, heartbreak.
Many young girls get
bitten by the dance bug when they see The Red Shoes, a 1940 film about the
rise of a young ballet dancer and her life on stage. In “The Chorus Line,” one
character, named Val, differentiates herself by saying she hasn’t watched the Red Shoes. So if you watch the above two movies,
consider checking out “The Red Shoes,” to see what all the fuss is about. It
stars Moira Shearer as Vicky Page, a young ballerina who is singled out for
stardom by Lermontov, a ballet impresario. It’s filled with the churning
melodrama of her life and flamboyant dance numbers. It also peers into backstage
life: We see the dancers stretching, loitering, and gossiping, and waiting for
their moment on stage, however brief.
Lermontov: Why do you want to dance?
Vicky: Why do you want to live?
Lermontov: Well, I don’t know exactly why, but… I must.
Vicky: That’s my answer too.