Featuring: Bob Avian (Revival Director), Baayork Lee (Original Cast Member, Revival Choreographer), John Breglio (Revival Producer), Donna McKechnie (Original Cast Member) and auditioners: Jason Tam, Jeffrey Schechter, Tyce Diorio, Charlotte d'Amboise, Nikki Snelson, Yuka Takara, Chryssie Whitehead, Rachelle Rak, Jessica Lee Goldyn, Diedre Goodwin.
Still, knowing who makes it and who doesn't makes the final show downs all the more interesting, and I had to fight to not do Monday morning quarterbacking. And as someone who frequents Broadway shows and is familiar with several of these performers' work, it was exciting to see them through this lack of filter. Regional actress Natascia Diaz and Broadway dancers Rachelle Rak (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Fosse) and Nikki Snelson (Legally Blonde, ultimately the tour of A Chorus Line) give of themselves amazingly throughout, and watching as each deals with their ultimate rejection is sad, difficult, and makes me respect them even more as performers. Even more interesting is watching the ladies who get the roles transform from their first audition to their final callback, though, to me Chryssie Whitehead had the part from the second she opened her mouth. Watching Jessica Lee Goldyn get on the bus from home to New York was poetic justice considering she ultimately lands the role of Val, even though she is initially only being considered for covering roles. Seeing the venerable Charlotte d'Amboise being as nervous as a first-timer and watching the love from her famous father, Jaques d'Amboise, is a heart-warming center of the film.
Interestingly, most of the male roles are not even mentioned, let alone filmed, save for the roles of Mike, ultimately played (and as you see in the film, for VERY good reason) by Jeffrey Schechter, and Paul played ultimately by Jason Tam. In the case of Mike, you get to see more of the process, including one finalist, Tyce Diorio, the ultimate in chorus boy cuteness and stupid arrogance - you want to hate him and love laughing at his pomposity. But in the case of Paul, you get to see Tam's audition from start to finish, as isolated on film as the actual monlogue is in the show. The casting table was reduced to tears and so was I. I had to pause the DVD. Simply marvelous.
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