And a five, six, seven, eight!

How much you enjoy the documentary Every Little Step will depend on how much you enjoy musicals

  • A scene from the movie Every Little Step.

  • A scene from the movie Every Little Step.

Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern’s documentary Every Little Step tells the duel story of the original production and the current revival of one of Broadways most beloved musicals, A Chorus Line.

How much you enjoy this movie will depend entirely on your feelings about musicals. If you are someone who would rather bang your own head against a wall than listen to Julie Andrews singing about the hills being alive with the sound of music, it might be best to steer clear.
But if you understand that grease is the word and why that rain in Spain always seems to end up on the plain, this would be a good one to check out.

Every Little Step gives a candid look at the current Broadway audition process as well as the fascinating history behind this musical, which is itself about the Broadway audition process.

We begin with glimpses of the thousands of hopefuls as they vie for the few coveted roles. Unfortunately, little time is spent on the real people and, as a result, we do not get to know them beyond their passion for the role they are going for. Most of the actors appear as nameless faces passing by just slow enough to be judged. This makes it entertaining enough but also the weakest part of the film.

Deo and Stern were able to film all aspects of the audition process. We see how quickly those in charge must make a decision based on such little time with each. These scenes give the audience the American Idol-like experience of critiquing along with the professionals – a fun game, but one that could tire quickly if this was all the film had to offer.

Thankfully, it isn’t.

The most interesting aspects of Every Little Step are when it looks at the original production. A Chorus Line had its origins in a single night’s meeting when a group of Broadway performers got together and talked about their lives. This was recorded and many of these stories are played throughout the film.

These sections are honest and moving, giving one a new respect for dancing as a profession. There is such passion and desire within these people and the original production was able to tap into that.

This film makes it clear how much of an impact A Chorus Line had on the Broadway world. It was able to tap into a truth and show those on the outside what goes on within this world. It also stripped away all the makeup and costumes and sought to tell the stories of the real people who are always performing.

Published in Volume 64, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 24, 2009)

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