A Chorus Line : Differences in Broadway version

Differences in Broadway version

I saw the movie a while back and I got the OBC recording CD about 2 months ago and just watched the movie again recently and I noticed a lot of differences between the movie and the Broadway version, does anyone know any specific differences or reasons why they've been changed. BAsically I'm asking if anyone's seen the live production and knows more about the differences than I who's only heard the soundtrack?

Someone to sit in my chair, make me aware of BEING ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Differences in Broadway version

One of the big differences is that Richard Attenborough did not know what he was doing and really had no idea what the show was really about. He stated that he did not cast any of the original cast because they were too old and this was a show about young kids trying to get their first big break. This is absolutely wrong. A Chorus Line is not about young kids, it's about the hardened veterans who are fighting to keep working. There's a reason the opening is "I really NEED this job" and not "I really want this job." So obviously, once you cast it completely wrong, everything else will just roll downhill from there.
Another difference is that the Cassie/Zack romance is completely overplayed in the movie. Yes, it is there in the stage show, but there is a reason the word sub-plot is attached to it. This also escalates a lot of the mistakes of the movie, such as "What I Did for Love" turning into a song about relationships and not about dance. And giving Cassie a "star" entrance by having her arrive after everyone else is also completely wrong. There is a reason that Cassie's star entrance got cut early on in the workshops for the original production; it didn't work!
The choreography is also a big mistake. When you look at the movie you can very precisely pinpoint it's dancing to the 1980's. The original choreography is rooted in standard musical theatre, fairly timeless in terms of its world.
Really, the difference is that the whole tone of the movie is off track, from casting to script choices to choreography. One of the few things that I think they did get right was the casting of Vicki Frederick as Sheila (who by the way was one of the few people who had actually performed the role on Broadway before doing the movie).

Re: Differences in Broadway version

Um, thanks. So, what does happen in the musical then with Zack and Cassie? exactly?

Someone to sit in my chair, make me aware of BEING ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

Re: Differences in Broadway version

The previous relationship is mentioned and referenced several times, but it is not the focus of the script in the stage version unlike the movie where it is given a lot of prominence and screen time. Essentially, Cassie is just like the others on the line. She is fighting to prove that she can do what it takes to get the job, because she knows that is where she belongs, in the chorus. Zack uses her past both for and against her, just like he does to everyone else on that line.

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Is she really special and considered the "One" in the stage version or is that another exagertion of the movie? Zack says to her she can't be a chorus girl because she's too special and she'll stand out or something like that, is that part of the stage version? Eventually I'll try to see the revival but until then I'm just trying to learn as much as possible.
Someone to sit in my chair, make me aware of BEING ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

Re: Differences in Broadway version

No, the "One" is the as yet uncast star of the show they are all auditioning for. The finale shows the irony of the fact that in the actual "performance" their hard work and skill would be eclipsed by the "star" who would be standing in front of them, taking the glory that those on the line deserve.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

As i said on another post it is "stars" because the first verse is "he" and not "she".

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I was made to believe (mostly through the movie) that the "she" refers to Cassie and the "he" later one refers to Paul because in the movie it appears as though Paul's ankle is healed and he is the star of the show they're all singing about. But, this is a flaw in the movie?

Someone to sit in my chair, make me aware of BEING ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

Re: Differences in Broadway version

No the he and she refer to the stars of the show (who are never seen). It would not be cassie she is only a member of the chorus, and paul was not even cast.

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Yeah, but at the end of the movie Paul comes out and is the center, lead dancer so it appears as though he IS the star of the show.

Someone to sit in my chair, make me aware of BEING ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

Re: Differences in Broadway version

In the play,"One" has nothing to do with Cassie, except for the fact that when she does do the combination with the rest of the dancers, she does "add" too much and Zach does make her "pull it in."

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Superb post...a very accurate dissection of the differences between the play and the movie and how the movie pretty much bastardizes the original stage production. I think the overplaying of the Cassie/Zach romance was the main thing that killed this movie. Jeez, in the play you never even SEE Zach...he's just a voice at the back of the auditorium.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

You actually DO see Zach in the broadway show. He is still on stage for part of "I Hope I Get It", he is on stage to comfort Paul after his monologue and to fight with Cassie. He's also on stage right when Paul gets hurt.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

Correct. But it's interesting to note that in original drafts, we never DID see Zach. In fact, in those early drafts, he didn't even have a name--he was just "The Voice."

(Here's another early conception that might have worked. They originally planned to bring a randomly selected woman from the audience up to be the "star" during "One". She wouldn't have to do a thing...the chorus line's movements would guide her, point to her, and basically make this Jane Average look like the amazing star that the lyrics gush about. Making the point that maybe the so-called "star" isn't really all that important...that these anonymous chorus dancers really make the star seem better than she is, and therefore, are much more important than we think.)

Re: Differences in Broadway version

yucky idea

death to stunt casting

Re: Differences in Broadway version

This is a dead on assesssment regarding the differences between the play and the movie, especially regarding the over emphasis the film brought to the relationship of Zach and Cassie and Cassie's "star" entrance after everyone else is already there. The du ll and unimaginative choreography also brought to the forefront how many bad dancers Attenbrough cast in the film (can you say Audrey Landers?).

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Re: Differences in Broadway version

Funny because I noticed in the moive Gimme the Ball was absent and replaced by something called Richie's Surprise! lol, I really didn't like the Shelia in the movie, she confused me about what she was doing there and why she wanted to be in the show and she looked like 40 and I hated her vocals. Kelly Bishop! Now I liked her in the soundtrack, but it's fine by me that you don't think so.

Someone to sit in my chair, make me aware of BEING ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Differences in Broadway version

Wow, you actually agree, some people on other boards I've seen talk about how they hate the movie cast except for Shelia, and I'm just like I like the movie cast just fine . . . except for Shelia! lol, but yeah I totally get it, the first cast you see of any show and get used to is always the one to stick and you'll always compare and be less likely to like any other one you hear. AT least that's been my experience like when I first heard the Into the Woods London cast I just thought they sounded so weird, same with the revival because I'd listened to the OBR so much.
Someone to sit in my chair, make me aware of BEING ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Differences in Broadway version

"What did you think of the movie's Cassie? I also would have liked this role re-cast. Like Sheila, she also looked to old for the role. She delivered her lines a bit melodramatically, so I assumed she was a stage actor. Not to be totally negative, I did like Diana, Richie and Paul's performances."





Cassie is suposed to be one of the oldest people at the audition. It is some years since her relationship with zach.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

eh, I thought the Cassie was fine. MOst of the movie people I thought were fine, okay, whatever, I can't think of anyone who really struck me as amazing, but it's not that kind of show really where anyone's supposed to stick out. It was pretty much only Shelia who I had a problem with.

Someone to sit in my chair, make me aware of BEING ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Differences in Broadway version

Technically, Larry sings and dances in "Hello, Twelve..." and they both sing and dance in the finale.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

Having seen both a number of times here's all the differences:

Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen dropped in favour of Surprise (although it is just quietly referred to)
Four Foot Ten performed by Connie dropped altogether
Sing! sung by Al & Kristine dropped altogether
"And" sung by Bobby, Richie, Val & Judy dropped altogether
Cassie was an original auditioner and Zach noticed she was there, and was surprised for the fact she had gone to Hollywood to be a star and was now back looking for chorus work after their love affair. This was given way too much prominence in the movie as you would think there is no way the other auditioners would stand for some chick coming in half way through and taking a spot in the chorus that was potentially theirs
Cassie sings Music and the Mirror in the musical but Let Me Dance for You in the movie
Diana and the cast sing What I Did for Love, not Cassie
Judy Monroe is actually Judy Turner in the stage show (my name is Judy Turner - but my real name is Lana Turner!)
Mike was originally Mike Costafalone, not Timothy Michael Cassidy O'Donoghue
Bebe's surname was Benzenheimer (she says "yeah, I know I've gotta change it" in her introduction)
Sheila's real first name was Sara

Anything else?

Re: Differences in Broadway version

The biggest change for me was the focus of "what I did for love" - in the movie it's about Cassie leaving Zach while in the stage show it's about dancing (and happens after Paul gets hurt - Zach then asks what will they do and "what I did for love" is Diana's answer (and everyone joins in) - it's very moving in the show and a real dud in the movie.

This was the change that convinced me the movie director did not "get" the show - it's not about a love affair between Cassie and Zach it's about the love of dancing - both young dancers looking for their first break and experienced dancers hanging on.

I hated every change - hopefully they'll release a tape of the Broadway show instead....

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Re: Differences in Broadway version

I absolutely hated Cassie in the movie and I should mention that I preferred Diana in the movie (Yasmin Borjes) to the Diana in the original Broadway cast (Priscilla Lopez),probably the only cast member from the movie I preferred.

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And actually, Sheila is not even supposed to be 30 yet. Remember when she introduces herself, she says: "And I'm going to be 30 real soon...and I'm real glad." Vicki Frederick looked about 42.

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Isaac, did you not understand Sheila was lying?

Of course she was over 30. If you listen to her dialogue, she makes reference to being old (for a dancer, anyway) quite frequently.

I thought Vicki Frederick was perfect in the role, and was a similar age of every actress I've seen play the role on stage.



You might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

Vicki Frederick definitely looked older than 30...actually, in the movie she says she's going to be 30 real soon, so actually the character is supposed to be 29...I'm sorry, but Vicki Frederick doesn't even look close to 29.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

Chimaera73, if you ever get the opportunity, you must see A CHORUS LINE onstage...I think you will be amazed. "Surprise, Surprise" is a reworked version of a song in the original score called "Goodbye 12, Hello 13, Hello Love". The song "Let Me Dance for You" that Cassie does replaced a song in the play called "The Music and the Mirror". Also, in the play, "What I Did for Love" is sung by all the dancers, led by Morales, as opposed to the way it is done in the film, as Cassie's solo.

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Re: Differences in Broadway version

I really feel that the versions sung in the movie sound more soulful and give more heart to the characters. (I will probably get slammed on this.)

Actually, now that you mention it, the movie version of "At the Ballet" is more interesting than the OBC recording...Vicki Frederick, Michelle Forbes, and Pam Klinger provide more individual personality to the characters of Sheila, Bebe,and Maggie than the originals. While we're on the subject, I should mention also preferred the movie Diana Morales (Yasmin Borjes) to the original Morales (Pricilla Lopez). These are probably the only things in the movie that were an improvement over the OBC.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

You REALLY need to see this show onstage...you REALLY do...you're giving the movie WAY more credit than it deserves.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

I'm surprised that nobody something that was a *huge* difference to me ...... I mean it changed the whole tone and feel of the entire show.

In the stage version the audience never actually sees Zach. (Somebody said that he was among the whole crowd for the finale. I wouldn't know. Having not seen him up until then, I wouldn't have recognized him coming on stage.)

Zach spends the whole show delivering his lines from the darkness of the back of the theater. He never approaches any light so that you can see him.

There's a reason for this. The whole point of the show (on stage) is to put the audience emotionally in with the dancers; their hopes and dreams, and fears. You need to *fully* identify with the dancers. Therefore Zach is never allowed to become an actual fully fleshed out person. He's just a disembodied voice who is judgeing them and has full power over their hopes (getting the job) and fears (being cut) .... for the short term, anyway.

If you turn Zach into a full person in the mind of the audience ..... with a face ..... and his own problems, and hopes, etc. ...... then he (Zach) takes up some part of the audience identification and emotional investment. Once that happens, the audience is no longer quite so fully invested in empathising fully with the dancers ..... because you are also seeing and somewhat identifying with the other side of it through Zach.

To me this was the biggest single downfall of the movie (and considering how much I hated changing the context of "What I Did for Love" and Cassie's late entrance, that's really saying something). It fails to get that full emotional investment and response because it splits the audience's identification. (I consider the expansion of the Zach-Cassie relationship material to be part of this whole issue of turning Zach into a fleshed out peerson.)

That full emotional connection was what really made the show so great ..... the full blown phenomenon that it was. I mean, don't get me wrong, the music etc. was very good. However, as with *any* great piece of theater (musical or not), it's the emotion that sticks with the audience the longest and makes the biggest impression.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

Sharonq and Pillowrock I could not agree more - I saw the stage show in Melbourne a few years ago and you're quite right - Zack was just a voice and nothing more. Probably the thing I hate most about the movie is the concentration on the Zack/Cassie thing. As I've said before there is no way on earth the other auditionees would cop some chick turning up half way through and getting a part - particularly as Zack picked the living sh*t out of her while she was doing "One" and she buggers off during the tap routine to sing "What I Did For Love" which was never her number in the first place - in horse racing terms if I was one of the other girls I would've been lodging a protest!!!!

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As I've said before there is no way on earth the other auditionees would cop some chick turning up half way through and getting a part - particularly as Zack picked the living sh*t out of her while she was doing "One"

You're right..it would never happen.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

"In the stage version the audience never actually sees Zach. (Somebody said that he was among the whole crowd for the finale. I wouldn't know. Having not seen him up until then, I wouldn't have recognized him coming on stage.)"



I'm afraid to say this but if you have seen a production where zach is never seen it is wrong. I the original stage production zach comes down during the paul sequence just as he does in the film. Then stays down during the "one" audition sequence teeching them the steps and counting.I don't see how in paticular the paul sequence would work if didn't come down.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

Another difference. In the movie the first solo IE "I really need this job" is sung by "maggie". However in the show it is sung by a character called "Tricia" who is not even one of the final sixteen.

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It's been a number of years since I've seen the stage show, but it seems like in the play Judy is chosen at the end instead of Bebe. Is that right or am I mistaken?

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Re: Differences in Broadway version

You're right. I just saw it onstage for the first time, and that surprised me.

It seemed appropriate, however. Bebe was my favorite dancer in the movie, but her character just didn't stand out in the play. Judy, who I had completely forgotten from the movie (despite having been raised on it), was hilarious and highly memorable in what I saw tonight.

I really want to see the movie again now! Michelle's so incredible, when Bebe's asked to do the routine alone to show everyone how to do it right. "You in the green..." :)

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I have recently found out that "tricia" is a much bigger part than I thought, aparantly the person that plays the part sings the entire show offstage.

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I saw the show this past Friday night too! (In L.A.) I decided to watch the movie on DVD and I also thought, "Judy made it in the show, but it seems that Bebe made it in the movie". Anyway, it was a wonderful stage show. Zach was on stage a lot actually, he was showing them the dance moves and at the end was dressed up in the gold outfits.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

> I'm afraid to say this but if you have seen a production
> where zach is never seen it is wrong.

I saw the national touring company at the Fischer Theater in Detroit back in the late 1970's.

At the point you're talking about, Zach did come down the aisle far enough that I knew where he was. However, he never got on the stage and never got into the light enough that I could see his face. (I suppose that people in the first couple rows, who were still in front of him as he faced the stage, may well have been able to see his face; the vast majority of the audience could not.)

So if you interpret my comment about never seeing Zach to mean that I never saw even a shadowed silhouette of his back ..... then, yes, that is incorrect and I stand corrected. However, in terms of seeing his face and attaching any peronal *character* to that voice in the back of the theater ....... No, I didn't.

I could have shaken hands with the actor who played Zach in the lobby on my way out of the theater and I would not have recognized who he was.

Re: Differences in Broadway version


> I'm afraid to say this but if you have seen a production
> where zach is never seen it is wrong.

I saw the national touring company at the Fischer Theater in Detroit back in the late 1970's.

At the point you're talking about, Zach did come down the aisle far enough that I knew where he was. However, he never got on the stage and never got into the light enough that I could see his face. (I suppose that people in the first couple rows, who were still in front of him as he faced the stage, may well have been able to see his face; the vast majority of the audience could not.)

So if you interpret my comment about never seeing Zach to mean that I never saw even a shadowed silhouette of his back ..... then, yes, that is incorrect and I stand corrected. However, in terms of seeing his face and attaching any peronal *character* to that voice in the back of the theater ....... No, I didn't.

I could have shaken hands with the actor who played Zach in the lobby on my way out of the theater and I would not have recognized who he was.



If this is the case then they were not following the book. This possibly could be because of the design of the theatre. However not knowing the theatre I could not be sure.

Re: Differences in Broadway version

I don't care what you say...I have seen A CHORUS LINE onstage five different times and every time I've seen it, Zach is a voice in the back of the theater...nothing more.
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