A Chorus Line is my mom’s favorite musical. Though it’s not my favorite musical, I have a soft spot for it because of her and because of its story.
If you’ve never seen A Chorus Line, go see it live or get your hands on a recorded performance. Don’t waste your time on the 1985 movie. “Let Me Dance for You” has nothing on “The Music and the Mirror” and never will.
If either of those options is hard to come by, the next best thing is 2008’s Every Little Step, a documentary chronicling the audition process for the musical’s 2006 revival. Viewers meet dancers across the country, experience the hope, despair, optimism, and determination of professional dancers, and get background information on the musical, its development, and its creator, Michael Bennett.
Though A Chorus Line is a musical with plenty to cry about, Paul’s monologue tends to be the emotional zenith of the show. In Every Little Step, the director and others claimed Paul was the most difficult character to cast. Just before this clip, there was a montage of prospective Pauls who were all wrong for the part.
And then Jason Tam.
I watched this documentary with my parents in 2011. My mom went upstairs to do something and missed this scene. She came back to find my dad and I sobbing. In the tiniest voices you’ve ever heard, my dad and I told her, “You have to watch it.” We replayed the scene and my dad and I started crying again.
I hate you, Jason Tam. I love you, Jason Tam.
Need cheering up?
This clip is from a traveling production of A Chorus Line that I saw at the 5th Avenue Theater last September. “Dance Ten, Looks Three” is the musical’s funniest song, and Taryn Darr easily shows up Jessica Lee Goldyn. Yeah, I said it.
Fun fact: In Every Little Step, actress Chryssie Whitehead auditions for the role of Kristine. I saw her in last year’s production as Cassie. Watching her was the closest I’ve ever been to meeting a celebrity.