‘Every Little Step’ documentary has two left feet

Chorus Line dreams come true in 'Every Little Step'
Chorus Line dreams come true in ‘Every Little Step’

I really wanted Every Little Step, a documentary about the creation of the musical, A Chorus Line, and its recent Broadway revival, to be a “singular sensation.”

Unfortunately, while it was a frothy concoction of a movie that spoke to my inner high school drama geek, it just never quite earned a standing ovation.

The movie follows the genesis of the original musical, and follows the actors/actresses auditioning for the recent Broadway revival. Interesting factoids are kicked about (the show was based on the real-life recorded conversations of Broadway dancers, and actress Marsha Mason changed the musical’s plotline by suggesting that Cassie, an aging dancer, get a part in the show that the characters are auditioning for), but I think the documentary could have easily been split into two different films or at least two different parts. I would have enjoyed seeing more about the musical’s conception and the real people whose stories inspired the show. I also would have liked to learn more about the man behind the musical, Michael Bennett, whose bio is only hinted at in the movie. There was a special feature on his life on the DVD, but I think it would have been better-suited as part of the documentary itself.

Dancers chase their dreams in 'Every Little Step'
Dancers chase their dreams in ‘Every Little Step’

I also never really felt an emotional connection with any of the actors and actresses auditioning for the 2006 Broadway revival. They flitted on and off the screen as little more than talking heads. The quirky people who try out for American Idol are more entertaining.

One does get a sense of their hopefulness (one woman’s unemployment had run out), and you can see how A Chorus Line is still relevant to young actors and actresses today. A whole movie about the actors auditioning for the show and their personal dramas would have been enjoyable. I was amazed at how far and wide they traveled just to audition for the musical.

However, the parts that featured the actors and actresses felt a little like teasers, because I didn’t get to see enough of the auditions to have an opinion on who should be cast in what role. Once again the special features were used to include longer audition segments, pieces that would have been better served in the documentary itself. I also wanted to know what happened after the Chorus Line revival debuted, and what the actors and actresses were doing in the present-day. The whole chronology of the auditions was a little jarring, skipping four months here and eight months there. The show went from being cast to the opening night in a second.

I did like how the nights of storytelling that provided the backbone of the play were contrasted with modern-day casting of the show and how cleverly A Chorus Line’s songs were used in the documentary’s soundtrack.

A sequel to Every Little Step? No, but there are two sides to the story, and I would have liked to have seen the creation of the musical and the revival each take center stage in their own films.

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