"Chorus Line" doc takes "Little Step" to big screen

Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:43pm EDT
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By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO (Reuters) - "Every Little Step" is best described in a way unlike few movies before it. The film is a documentary, within a documentary.

The description doesn't stop there, either, because "Every Little Step," which debuted earlier this week at the Toronto International Film Festival, is no "talking head" documentary with only sobering interviews from experts on a given subject.

There is singing, dancing and tales of hopes and dreams of young performers shooting for stardom -- just like the musical on which the film is based, "A Chorus Line," which was created by Michael Bennett and ran on Broadway for 15 years.

"Michael always said that if there was ever going to be a movie (of the musical) ... it should be a documentary," "Every Little Step" co-director James Stern told Reuters.

One reason for that is because "A Chorus Line" was -- still is -- its own real-life tale of making it on Broadway. Hence the description: a documentary within the documentary.

"Every Little Step" trains its cameras on the backstage casting for the 2006 Broadway revival of "A Chorus Line," which was created by Bennett from tapes he made of a 12-hour talking session with New York City dancers on a winter day in 1974.

Convinced there would be a story about their experiences, Bennett set about creating "A Chorus Line," which became a smash hit and a Tony award-winning production in its day.

In the original show, on a spare stage, unknown singers and dancers talk about themselves, and what emerges is a human tale on what it means to struggle to achieve a goal -- any goal.   Continued...

<p>Dancers take the stage in "A Chorus Line" in this publicity photo from the documentary film "Every Little Step" released to Reuters September 12, 2008. REUTERS/Paul Kolnik/Handout</p>