Quaid here with an introduction to our newest contributor. She calls herself “Kee,” and you get a shiny gold star if you know where that name comes from. Anyway, Kee is lucky enough to live in Chicago. This past week she got a chance to take a look at the documentary Every Little Step, which is…
Well, maybe I’ll just let her tell you about it. Here’s Kee…
Filmmakers Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern show us not just Broadway, but everything that surrounds it and molds it – the “stuff” of Broadway, if you will.
As the documentary shows us, the original “A Chorus Line” started in 1975 after the creator of the show, Michael Bennett, sat down and did a candid group interview with some of his fellow dancers and performers. Their confessions and insights on getting into the business became the main content for the acclaimed Broadway musical.
Every Little Step sets out to document the auditioning and casting process of the revival performance of the classic musical. Auditionees are faced with the daunting challenge of making it onto Broadway and being in one of their all-time favorite shows (as most of them remarked on camera). And on top of that, they have to figure out how to simultaneously stay true to and give new life to the original “chorus kids,” as Bennett calls them.
The filmmakers had impressive amounts of material to draw from, including the biggest component – the revival show auditions – as well as interviews with the original cast and producers, footage from some of the very first shows in the 70s, and, perhaps most valuably, the original recording of Bennett’s group interview with the chorus kids.
By showing the audience all of these elements, we are both pleasantly entertained and adequately informed. We learn what it takes for the present-day auditionees to make it onto Broadway, as well as what it took for Bennett and his producers to get the original “A Chorus Line” onstage.
What really elevates this documentary is the time the filmmakers take to develop stories about some of the auditionees. You see their performances, but you are also privy to those times when these performers are offstage. So when they make the cut, you rejoice for them like proud parents. The only minor complaint I have is that I wanted to know more about some of the male auditionees, who were not explored as thoroughly as the females.
As a viewer, you strangely end up feeling like one of the audition judges. And not just because it’s a documentary of the audition process, but because the film is so grippingly candid that you laugh as the judges laugh, disapprove as they disapprove, and cry as they cry (which happens most movingly during the “Paul audition” sequence.) These auditions and their magnitude put the performers in what may be their most vulnerable states. And through all of this, we enjoy both emotional and (very) comedic moments.
I would contend that this movie is not just for the Broadway-knowledgeable – the dancers, the performers, and the choreographers. In what’s one of the most engaging documentaries I’ve seen, Every Little Step appeals to any person with a passion. Here, entertainment and passion mesh perfectly. It’s an infectious passion that spills from the characters onscreen until even you, alone in the audience, can feel it.