Sunday, April 19, 2009

Every Little Step

Just watched Every Little Step at the Arclight, a documentary about dancers auditioning for a show about dancers auditioning for a show. I saw a community theater version of A Chorus Line with Catherine Ho in high school. I left the theater and ran to the Borders across the street hunting for the CD.

The most interesting thing about the film, I thought, was how it revealed the lineage of each character in the show as auditionees attempted to capture the essence of the roles. One thing I didn't know about A Chorus Line was that it began as a taped interview, Michael Bennett assembling a group of dancers one night to talk about their lives.

All great theatre is an experiment. A Chorus Line was based on the lives of real dancers, and in the original, those dancers played themselves. So what's interesting about the revival is how the auditionees are vying for roles that were originally created from and inhabited by other real dancers. Asian-American dancers auditioned for Baayork Lee--not just the original "Connie Wong," but the woman on whom "Connie Wong" is based. "Cassie" hopefuls danced to "The Music and the Mirror," a song tailored to Donna McKechnie's unusually large range.

What I liked about the film was its communion with the past, with the original actors and the actors who reprized their roles.

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