|A Chorus Line|
A Chorus Line is a musical about Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line. The book was authored by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante, lyrics were written by Edward Kleban, and music was composed by Marvin Hamlisch.
With nineteen main characters, it is set on the bare stage of a Broadway theatre during an audition for a musical. The show provides a glimpse into the personalities of the performers and the choreographer as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers.
The original Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Buffalo, N.Y. native Michael Bennett, was an unprecedented box office and critical hit, receiving 12 Tony Award nominations and winning nine of them, in addition to the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It ran for 6,137 performances, becoming the longest-running production in Broadway history up to that time. It remains the longest running Broadway musical originally produced in the United States, and the fourth longest-running Broadway show ever. The show has enjoyed many successful productions worldwide and was revived on Broadway in 2006.
At an audition for an upcoming Broadway production, the formidable director Zach and his assistant choreographer Larry put the gypsies through their paces. Every dancer is desperate for work ("I Hope I Get It"). After the first cut, 17 dancers remain. Zach tells them he is looking for a strong dancing chorus of four boys and four girls. He wants to learn more about them, and asks the dancers to introduce themselves. With reluctance, the dancers reveal their pasts. The stories generally progress chronologically from early life experiences through adulthood to the end of a career.
The first candidate, Mike, explains that he is the youngest of 12 children. He recalls his first experience with dance, watching his sister's dance class when he was a pre-schooler ("I Can Do That"). Mike took her place one day when she refused to go to class – and he stayed. Bobby tries to hide the unhappiness of his childhood by making jokes. As he speaks, the other dancers have misgivings about this strange audition process and debate what they should reveal to Zach ("And..."), but since they all need the job, the session continues.
Zach is angered when he feels that the streetwise Sheila is not taking the audition seriously. Opening up, she reveals that her mother married at a young age and her father neither loved nor cared for them. When she was six, she realized that ballet provided relief from her family life. Bebe adds that, as she was not a beautiful child, she was also drawn to ballet, where she could feel beautiful. At the ballet, notes Maggie, someone is always there, unlike the father she has never had ("At the Ballet").
The scatter-brained Kristine is tone-deaf, and her lament that she could never "Sing!" is interrupted by her husband Al finishing her phrases in tune. Mark, the youngest of the dancers, relates his first experiences with pictures of the female anatomy and his first wet dream, while the other dancers share memories of adolescence ("Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love"). Greg speaks about his discovery of his homosexuality, and Diana recollects her horrible high school acting class ("Nothing"). Don remembers his first job at a nightclub, Richie recounts how he nearly became a kindergarten teacher, Judy reflects on her problematic childhood, and the 4'10" Connie laments the problems of being short. Finally, the newly-buxom Val explains that talent alone doesn't count for everything with casting directors, and silicone can really help ("Dance: Ten; Looks: Three").
The dancers go downstairs to learn a song for the next section of the audition, but Cassie stays onstage to talk to Zach. She is a veteran gypsy who has had some notable successes as a soloist. They have a history together: Zach had cast her in a featured part previously, and they had lived together for several years. Zach tells Cassie that she is too good for the chorus and shouldn't be at this audition. But she hasn't been able to find solo work and is willing to "come home" to the chorus where she can at least express her passion for dance ("The Music and the Mirror"). Zach sends her downstairs to learn the dance combination.
Zach calls Paul on stage, and he emotionally relives his early career in a drag act, coming to terms with his manhood, homosexuality and sense of self. Cassie and Zach's complex relationship resurfaces during a run-through of the number created to showcase an un-named star ("One"). Zach confronts Cassie, feeling that she is "dancing down," and they rehash what went wrong in their relationship and her career. Zach points to the good-but-not-great dancing of the rest of the cast, the gypsies who will probably never get out of the line. Cassie replies, "I'll take chorus, if you'll take me!" During a tap sequence, Paul falls injured and is carried off to the hospital: his audition is over. Zach asks the remaining dancers what they will do when they can no longer dance. Whatever happens, they reply, they will be free of regret ("What I Did For Love"). The final eight dancers are selected: Cassie, Bobby, Diana, Judy, Val, Mike, Mark and Richie.
"One" (reprise/finale) begins with an individual bow for each of the 19 characters, their hodgepodge rehearsal clothes replaced by identical spangled gold costumes. As each dancer joins the group, it is suddenly difficult to distinguish one from the other: Ironically, each character who was an individual to the audience seems now to be an anonymous member of a neverending ensemble.
A Chorus Line is a 1985 American musical film directed by Richard Attenborough, starring Michael Douglas. The screenplay by Arnold Schulman is based on the Tony Award-winning book of the 1975 stage production of the same name by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante. The songs were composed by Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban.
A group of dancers congregate on the stage of a Broadway theatre to audition for a new musical production directed by Zach (Michael Douglas). After the initial eliminations, seventeen hopefuls remain, among them Cassie (Alyson Reed), who once had a tempestuous romantic relationship with Zach. She is desperate enough for work to humble herself and audition for him; whether he's willing to let professionalism overcome his personal feelings about their past remains to be seen.
As the film unfolds, the backstory of each of the dancers is revealed. Some are funny, some ironic, some heartbreaking. No matter what their background, however, they all have one thing in common - a passion for dance.