Thursday, April 16, 2009

Singular Sensation?

A new documentary about A Chorus Line the classic stage musical opens tomorrow on the coasts. I may have gone a bit easy on the self-congratulatory doc Every Little Step (trailer) in my brief review @ Towleroad. The movie is far from perfect but I have this sickness: intense love of show tunes. Maybe you're also so afflicted? There's no twelve step program for it so the show tune addict is largely an unrecovered one. The new film focuses intensely (maybe too much?) on the casting process alone. On the other hand, isn't casting the greatest unsung creative contribution within the film/stage/television arts?

Speaking of... why isn't there an Oscar for casting? Is it because there isn't much of a process anymore? (They just give all the roles to Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett). It's not so much casting as star wrangling in the type of movies that make it all the way to the Kodak Theater I suppose.

Did you see the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line (2006-2008)? I thought it was too reverential to the original text -- they even made it into a period piece -- so it was interesting to see that thought process front and center in this documentary. They really were going for recreation.

Madonna in 1985 (the year A Chorus Line: The Movie opened) --->

Also in the article a few bits on Dollhouse, Robert Downey Jr and Hugh Jackman. Madonna is briefly mentioned (another sickness!) for time capsule purposes and I am mortified to realize that I typed fishnet stockings as a reference to her mid 80s days when I really was thinking of the black tanks and lace. It's not like Madonna ever said "good riddance" to fishnet stockings. Forgive me Madge fashion curators everywhere.


Rodrigo the Hated One said...

Yeah. I still think that Kathy Bates, Kathleen Turner, Jessica Lange and of course Cherry Jones would have been all better choices for Sister Aloysius.

Julia Child was a tall woman. Sigourney Weaver should have been cast instead.

Alex Constantin said...

[we have a Meryl hater above. booo. Rodrigo whatever]

there is NO need for an Oscar for casting! nor for stunt work. There are already too many categories.

Unknown said...

I'm just disappointed the casting part of the documentary focuses so heavily on the girls. Where's Paul McGill? He was my favorite person in the revival, and he's nowhere to be seen in this documentary! And his story would probably be the most interesting, sicne he was so young when he got the part.

Chris Na Taraja said...

I saw CHORUS LINE on broadway and for the most part thought they could have done a better job. Some people stood out, (like the gal who sang SING) but i've seen some stronger performances of the show in Regional productions.

Though i have to put in a good word for HAIR which I just saw last night. Well cast, well directed, well sung and performed. Go see it now.

Chris Na Taraja said...

Rodrigo, i saw cherry in Doubt, she was great, and I would have loved to see her on film. But that doesn't take away from Meryls amazing performance.

Maybe Kathy Bate, but' Kathleen Turner?! Jessica Lange?!

I would have considered Francis Conroy. Helen Miran. and perhaps Sigourney Weaver, but I still would have cast Maryl Streep!

Peter Chan said...

I think it's time to remake it into a film again. I watched the disastrous 1985 effort not too long ago and couldn't believe how much it missed the mark.

While we're dropping show recommendations, go check out 'Next To Normal'. It's phenomenal! Also Aaron Tveit is in it and that never hurts anybody.

Paul Outlaw said...

The heart and soul of A Chorus Line is Donna McKechnie and "The Music and the Mirror" and that is precisely what was wrong with the 2006 revival. Charlotte D'Amoboise was awful as Cassie, platinum blonde hair and all. My ears still hurt from the screeching. But other than that it was excellent, since it was clearly supposed to be a period piece. And it was nice to hear the whole score again.

About the film verion, the less said the better.

But I can't wait to see Every Little Step ASAP.


Paul... Cassie is where the movie version destroys itself, too, by misunderstanding the ENTIRE THEME of a chorus line and trying to twist it to fit into Cassie's lovelife rather than her performance life.


Chris... and you know I'm crazy about the revival of Hair, too.

A... the other thing that's strange about the doc is that they never mention at all Michael Beresse (though he does have a cameo) as Zach... of all characters not to mention! And you're left to wonder: did he have to audition, was he part of the package, was he first choice, etcetera...

Paul Outlaw said...

Hey Nat, I meant to send you this when I saw that you were going to write about this movie. Fascinating read.