Life imitates art imitating life in James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo’s heartfelt doc, “Every Little Step,” tracking the audition process of director Bob Avian’s 2006 Broadway revival of “A Chorus Line.” While the film closely follows the difficult selection of the final cast — eerily mirroring the musical’s storyline — it also functions as a study of how creator-choreographer Michael Bennett fashioned a new kind of musical out of his research and interviews with Broadway dancers, and how the dancer’s life hasn’t fundamentally changed. Sony Classics should do sure-footed niche Stateside biz, while ancillary returns will ensure a long run.Stern and Del Deo (“The Year of the Yao,” ” … So Goes the Nation”) cut gracefully between Avian’s bigtime auditions, which are the very definition of pressure, and interviews with vets Donna McKechnie (the original Cassie) and Baayork Lee (the original Connie, and the revival’s dance captain). Pic goes deeper, though, replaying reel-to-reel tapes of Bennett’s initial workshop interviews, including those with Lee, which feature passing remarks that made their way into the show’s book. The final callbacks result in high drama.
Endgame Entertainment presentation of a Vienna Waits/Endgame Entertainment production. (International sales: Fortissimo Films, Amsterdam.) Produced by James D. Stern, Adam Del Deo. Executive producers, Doug Hansen, Christopher Chen, John Breglio. Co-producer, Eleanor Nett. Directed by James D. Stern, Adam Del Deo.
Camera (color, DV); editors, Fernando Villena, Brad Fuller; music, Marvin Hamlisch, Jane Cornish. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentations), Sept. 8, 2008. Running time: 93 MIN.
Charlotte D’Amboise, Jessica Lee Goldyn, Yuka Takara, Jason Tam, Chryssie Whitehead, Diedre Goodwin, Rachelle Rak, Bob Avian, Donna McKechnie, Baayork Lee, Marvin Hamlisch, Jacques D’Amboise, Jay Binder.