A Chorus Line, as everyone knows, is the sublime Broadway musical (first staged in 1975) in which a bunch of eager, nervous, ?I’ll-die-if-I-don’t-get-it dancers audition for a Broadway musical. So what does that make Every Little Step? It’s a documentary, pegged to the 2006 revival of A Chorus Line, that asks you to share the joy, vulnerability, heartbreak, and love of a bunch of dancers trying out for a musical about a bunch of dancers trying out for a musical. It is, in other words, a movie as layered and enthralling as its subject.
The filmmakers, James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, keep cutting to an audiotape of the interview that director-choreographer Michael Bennett held at midnight on Jan. 26, 1974, when he gathered a handful of dancers to tell their stories and confess their dreams. Every Little Step salutes Bennett’s creation of the first reality musical by turning the run-up to the 2006 revival into a fierce backstage reality pageant of its own. It’s fascinating to compare the performers who almost have that ineffable ”it” to those who land the roles because they inhabit them. And the film offers a tantalizing glimpse into Bennett, who celebrated dancers but also used them to de-exoticize what it means to be gay. It’s partly because of A Chorus Line that we now live in a different world. A