On July 25th, 1975, A Chorus Line opened on Broadway. You can read a bit more about the play in this article about the playbill, or on Wikipedia. This musical is particularly interesting for capturing the real experiences of broadway dancers. It was developed out of workshops with dancers, and at least at first, the “winners” of the evening changed based on performance. It became the longest running musical on broadway until it was surpassed in 1997 by Cats.
It’s pretty rare for musicals to have this type of documentary feel to them, and because the setting is a theater, A Chorus Line really pulls it off. You might compare A Chorus Line to, for example, Working which is based on a Studs Terkel book but is…um…maybe not the best musical. Although, man, check out this selection with Rita Moreno who is just beyond perfect:
Or you might compare it to Hands on a Hardbody, which is based on a documentary film, but seems to have a bit more of a story.
There is a 1985 film version of A Chorus Line (HU DVD 9659) starring Michael Douglas, but it’s pretty widely panned. But, in 2008, a documentary called Every Little Step (HU DVD 6224) returned to this musical. From our summary:
For over three decades, there’s been one singular sensation: A Chorus Line. This groundbreaking hit musical inspired by the emotional lives of dancers during the audition process. Now the story comes full circle and offers a revealing, unprecedented look at the auditions for the Broadway revival of the perennial classic. The music, the moves and the real-life drama, bringing you closer to the footlights than you ever thought possible.
However you choose to experience A Chorus Line, today’s a great day to do it!