The original Broadway production opened at the Shubert Theater in New York City on July 25, 1975, won the 1976 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book and Score, and ran for 6,137 performances, setting a record. That record was broken by “Cats”, which ran for 7,485 performances
A Chorus Line (1985) – I Hope I Get It Scene (1/8) | Movieclips
Larry: Don’t you know the combination, Sheila?
Sheila: I knew it when I was in front!
A Chorus Line (1985) – I Can Do That Scene (2/8) | Movieclips
Michael Bennett, the choreographer and director of the original Broadway production, was involved with the production at an early stage of development, but left because the producers were unwilling to give him the level of creative control he desired. He advised producer Cy Feuer not to put the movie’s main focus on the relationship between Zack and Cassie.
A Chorus Line (1985) – Nothing Scene (3/8) | Movieclips
A Chorus Line (1985) – Dance: Ten, Looks: Three Scene (4/8) | Movieclips
The song “Dance 10, Looks 3” was originally called “Tits and Ass”, but it was changed so that the audience would not see that title listed in their programs. The logic was that if it were a surprise during the show, it would get a better audience reaction.
The director Richard Attenborough wanted to cast only unknowns as the aspiring chorus members, and Audrey Landers was concerned that she was too well known from the TV series Dallas (1978) to make the cut. Fortunately, Attenborough had never seen Dallas (1978).
Because of her dancing inexperience, Audrey Landers is generally not seen in wide shots of the entire cast dancing, but is inserted in close-ups. A dance double is clearly seen in long shots of “One”.
A Chorus Line (1985) – Let Me Dance for You Scene (5/8) | Movieclips
A Chorus Line (1985) – Paul’s First Job Scene (6/8) | Movieclips
In the 1970s, the stage version of “A Chorus Line” became one of several musicals that won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The others were “Of Thee I Sing” from the 1930s, “South Pacific” from the 1940s, “Fiorello” from the 1950s, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” from the 1960s, “Sunday in the Park with George” from the 1980s, “Rent” from the 1990s, ”Next to Normal” in the 2000s and ”Hamilton” in the 2010s.
A Chorus Line (1985) – What I Did for Love Scene (7/8) | Movieclips
Universal had the original film rights to the production and Mike Nichols worked on it for 6 months in 1978. The powers that be didn’t like the screenplay and wouldn’t agree to the $16 million budget so Mike quit. Sidney Lumet was then hired but only lasted a few months. Richard Attenborough was eventually hired and filming started in October 1984.
A Chorus Line (1985) – One Scene (8/8) | Movieclips
Spoiler In this movie, Bebe is one of the dancers chosen for the chorus line. In the stage show, Judy makes it instead of her.
The show opens in the middle of an audition for an upcoming Broadway production. The formidable director Zach and his assistant choreographer Larry put the 24 dancers through their paces. Every dancer is desperate for work (“I Hope I Get It”). After a round of cuts, 17 dancers remain. Zach tells them he is looking for a strong 8-member dancing chorus of four boys and four girls. Wanting to learn more about them, he asks the dancers to introduce themselves. Reluctantly, the dancers reveal their pasts. The stories generally progress chronologically from early life experiences through adulthood to the end of a career.
The first candidate, Mike Costa, explains that he is the youngest of 12 children. He recalls his first experience with dance, watching his sister Rosalie’s dance class when he was a preschooler (“I Can Do That”). Mike took her place one day when she refused to go to class—and he stayed. Bobby Mills tries to hide his unhappy childhood by making jokes. As he speaks, the other dancers have misgivings about this strange audition process and debate what they should reveal to Zach (“And…”), but since they all need the job, the session continues.
Zach is angered when he feels that the streetwise Sheila Bryant is not taking the audition seriously. Opening up, she reveals that her mother married at a young age and her father neither cared about nor loved them. When she was six she realized, as had fellow auditionees Bebe Benzenheimer and Maggie Winslow, that ballet provided relief from her unhappy family life (“At the Ballet”). Scatterbrained and tone-deaf Kristine Urich-DeLuca laments her inability to sing, while her husband Al interrupts her by finishing her phrases in tune (“Sing”).
Mark Anthony, the youngest of the dancers, relates his first experiences with pictures of the female anatomy and his first wet dream, while the other dancers share their own memories of adolescence (“Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love”). The 4’10” Connie Wong laments the problems of being short, and Diana Morales recollects her horrible high-school acting class (“Nothing”). Don Kerr remembers his first job at a nightclub and Judy Turner reflects on her problematic childhood while some of the auditioners talk about their opinion of their parents (“Mother”). Greg Gardner speaks about his discovery of his homosexuality and Richie Walters recounts how he nearly became a kindergarten teacher (“Gimme the Ball”). Finally, the newly-buxom Val Clark explains that talent alone doesn’t count for everything with casting directors, and silicone and plastic surgery can really help improve one’s image and career prospects(“Dance: Ten; Looks: Three”).
The dancers go downstairs to learn a song for the audition’s next section, but Cassie Ferguson, a veteran dancer with notable successes as a soloist, stays onstage to talk to Zach. They have a history together: Zach had previously cast her in a featured part, and they had lived together for several years. Zach tells Cassie that she is too good for the chorus and shouldn’t be at this audition. However, she explains her current inability to find solo work and is willing to “come home” to the chorus where she can at least express her passion for dance (“The Music and the Mirror”). Zach sends her downstairs to learn the dance combination.
Zach calls Paul San Marco, who has been reluctant to share his past, on stage for a private talk, and he emotionally relives his childhood and high-school experience, his early career in a drag act, coming to terms with his manhood and his homosexuality, and his parents’ ultimate reaction to finding out about his lifestyle. Paul breaks down and is comforted by Zach. Cassie and Zach’s complex relationship resurfaces during a run-through of the number created to showcase an unnamed star (“One”). Zach confronts Cassie, feeling that she is “dancing down,” and they rehash what went wrong in their relationship and her career. Zach points to the machine-like dancing of the rest of the cast—the other dancers who have all blended together, and who will probably never be recognized individually—and mockingly asks if this is what she wants. Cassie defiantly defends the dancers: “I’d be proud to be one of them. They’re wonderful….They’re all special. I’d be happy to be dancing in that line. Yes, I would….”
During a tap sequence, Paul falls and injures his knee that recently underwent surgery. After Paul is carried off to the hospital, all at the audition stand in disbelief, realizing that their careers can also end in an instant. Zach asks the remaining dancers what they will do when they can no longer dance. Led by Diana, they reply that whatever happens, they will be free of regret (“What I Did for Love“). The final eight dancers are selected: Mike, Cassie, Bobby, Judy, Richie, Val, Mark, and Diana.
“One” (reprise/finale) begins with an individual bow for each of the 19 characters, their hodgepodge rehearsal clothes replaced by identical spangled gold costumes. As each dancer joins the group, it is suddenly difficult to distinguish one from the other: ironically, each character who was an individual to the audience seems now to be an anonymous member of a neverending ensemble.
WE&P by: EZorrilla.