For a few months during my fourth grade year I was constantly sent home with fevers and sore throats. My mother would lay me on the couch in our living room, give me a sprite and crackers, and cover me in her fur coat. I know it’s an unusual blanket, but in Alabama, she rarely had a chance to use it and we didn’t have indoor pets, so it was wonderfully comforting. She’d turn on Turner Classics for me and one movie would constantly play. No matter how many times I saw it, I couldn’t stop watching.
In my sheltered southern world, at the age of 11, I had never seen such a beautiful line up of characters. They each had a different story to tell and none was like the others. They were all individuals, all the while being pushed to conform perfectly. This is what they wanted, what they strove for. There was romance, heartbreak, passion, angst, and all of this was told through song and dance! The movie was A CHORUS LINE.
I had been in dance lessons since I was a babe, and two years later my small private school decided to incorporate an annual musical. I was hooked. By my 9th grade year I was assisting the choreographer, and was the first underclassman to ever book the leading role. It was quite the upset. Predictably, I went on to get a degree in Music Theater and before my senior year, I played the role of Cassie in “A Chorus Line” at a summer stock playhouse.
Everything came full circle. Sadly, I realized "Surprise" was only in the movie version, but as I tried on my future, quite literally, all of that passion and diversity that had inspired me from such a young age became incredibly disappointing when I thought about playing the same role night after night after night.
It took me a while to understand what I really was drawn to, but after working in Chicago and jumping from one film set to the next, I realized in A CHORUS LINE, the POV of the Director is what is so enthralling to me. It’s putting the show together that fills me with excitement. Choosing what stories should move forward and which don't deserve to be on “the line.” The planning, corralling, and choreographing, all the while hearing the stories of those contributing to the project, makes the experience dynamic and addicting. While the Director is helming the vision, I've since learned it was the Producers who really make it happen. I love that.
No, below is not a cast photo of mine, but I can't seem to find any from LRST. The below is pretty much how I remember it though complete with the red long sleeved leo and ballet skirt.
Luckily, a tonsillectomy got me back on my fourth grade feet, but the impression was made and certainly impacted my life. It’s amazing that a film can have so much effect and I wonder what films today, being watched on repeat by fourth graders, will shape our tomorrows. Media does matter.