CINE Master Class Series: So let me ask you this: Do you have a favorite song from A Chorus Line?
Marvin: Yes, yes I do, and I’ll tell you why I love it. It’s called “At The Ballet.” And the reason I love it is that this show was being written, so to speak, kind of like two steps forward, one step back. This was not like, there was no script and all of a sudden we’re rehearsing fourteen songs, the way you normally do. No. We went into rehearsal with five pages and a possible song. And we would come in with these songs, — every couple of weeks — we’d come in with a song. And you’d have the opening and then you’d have “I Can Do That.” I like to write in chronological order. But anyway, all of a sudden we did “At The Ballet,” and someone said that this song was like bringing in the heart and soul of A Chorus Line. All of a sudden, the heart, the “it”, the whatever you call that, that thing was brought to the table. And that changed everything for me on that show. Because I went, “Whoa!” I could see the possibilities once that song was written. And the greatest unsung hero of that show – I Mean Michael Bennett, no doubt, brilliant – but the unsung hero was Ed Kleban [ lyricist of A Chorus Line ], because Ed Kleban wrote a line in that song that did it for me. When he wrote this line, I went, “We’re going somewhere”:
“Every prince has got to have his swan.”
And with that line I went, “Now I know where I’m going with this show.”
Because one thing about working on a show is that you really don’t quite know where you’re going with it when you start. You’re like, “Where am I?” It’s almost like there are many, many ways to get to someplace, you know, [with] your GPS. Well, the GPS picks one way, the GPS is the only one who knows where you’re going. I have no idea where I’m going; I’m just following the GPS. Well, the GPS is the director. So I’m following the director; He may know where I’m going, but I don’t know where I’m going, and slowly but surely you start to find out. We’re all on the same road and you’re moving.
WATCH: Scenes from “A Chorus Line” The movie:
Source: CINE Master Class Series: Marvin Hamlisch – Transcript -