Every Little Step (2009)
— Baayork Lee
Every Little Step is on the shortlist of possible Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Film. This movie was in limited release in April of last year. Where the hell was it playing my area? This movie came out on DVD in October. It chronicles the journey from the potential cast and crew prepping for the Broadway revival of “A Chorus Line” in 2006. Being a former dancer/actor myself, I completely understood the journey of dancers in this movie.
The movie shows the audition process, where the auditioned tells their tales about auditioning. Talk about their experiences of being struggling dancers trying to get their big break.
There is a massive cattle call open auditions for available talent in New York City. People come from around the world to audition for the musical. Three thousand people show up. The producers see equity professional actors, then the amateur raw talent performers. Who is the right person for the two dozen speaking roles? The original Connie, Baayork Lee is the choreographer of the revival. She wanted to remain true to original director/choreographer, Michael Bennett’s original vision of the show. She takes the dancers through the backbreaking choreography that you have to learn in thirty minutes.
There are talking head interviews with Donna McKenchnie who played the original Cassie, Bob Avian, the new director of the show, was the co-choreographer at the original production, and John Breglio, the producer, who talk about the genius of Bennett.
The genesis of the original Broadway production in the early 1970s where taped a twenty-four hour session with the twenty-two dancers for this show that wasn’t written yet. It intercuts to the revival as it parallels the lives of the dancers auditioning to be dancers auditioning in the show. Michael Bennett took the dancer’s stories where turned into the actual dialogue and numbers in the show with the help of three-time Oscar winner Marvin Hamlisch.
As the original performers reflect on Bennett, the movie intercuts to the audition process where thousands are culled down to hundreds for the callbacks. It was a sixteen-month process from the first casting call to being on the main stage.
Little background info on me—I was in my high school production of A Chorus Line a decade ago, I was psyched that I was a part of it when I was devastated that I had to leave the show because I was failing English. Damn! I still remember the choreography. Hell, I still have my dancer’s outfit, which I can still fit by the way. I even had the god-awful movie adaptation on videocassette.
I understood how they performers are going through. It’s the duality of wanting to get the job, but not be invest so much you will be hurt when you are not cast. You will hear a hundred no’s before you hear that one yes. I am so glad that I am not in that world anymore. It was nice to revisit that time again.
Judgment: This movie is for the performing arts geeks only.
Posted on January 27, 2010, in 2009, Documentary and tagged A Chorus Line, Adam Del Deo, Baayork Lee, Bob Avian, Charlotte d'Amboise, Chryssie Whitehead, Donna McKechnie, Every Little Step, J. Elaine Marcos, James D. Stern, Jessica Lee Goldyn, Mara Davi, Marvin Hamlisch, Michael Bennett, Natascia Diaz, Nikki Snelson, Rachelle Rak, Yuka Takara. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.