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Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Chorus Line (1985)

A hard nosed choreographer (Michael Douglas) is holding auditions for his newest Broadway show. After eliminating his dancers down to 16, he attempts to probe their lives. I first saw the the musical A CHORUS LINE when it opened in San Francisco with the national touring company. To say I was appalled is an understatement. This was the show that everyone wet their pants over and received 12 Tony nominations and the Pulitzer prize for drama (sic)? The dancing was thrilling, yes but the sappy cliched dialog and those crappy Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban songs! The mawkish breakout "hit" What I Did For Love set my teeth to grinding. Clearly I was in the minority as those around me gushed and cooed over it. Considering the rancid source material, there was no way a decent film could ever be made out of it. A musical that definitely should have been left rotting on the stage. And who thought the director of GANDHI, Richard Attenborough, was the man to direct a movie musical with an emphasis on dance? So what was the result? Like the stage show, the dancing is impeccable but every time someone opens their mouth either to sing or talk!!! Since the emphasis is on dancing (which it should be), the dancers are impeccable except for Audrey Landers (who was hired for obvious other reasons) who disappears during some of the more difficult dances. Did they think we wouldn't notice? A few of the actors manage to save themselves. Michael Douglas conveys an SOB quite believably, Vicki Frederick's "chip on her shoulder" aging dancer has the ring of truth and Janet Jones is cute as a button that your eyes seek her out. Choreography by Jeffrey Hornaday. With Alyson Reed, Terrence Mann, Cameron English, Nicole Fosse, Tony Fields, Yamil Borges, Matt West, Jan Gan Boyd, Justin Ross, Charles McGowan and Michelle Johnston.

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