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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 21, 2024


If you cannot watch young theatrical hopefuls get off the bus in Manhattan without getting a lump in your throat, or if the moment the overture stills just before the curtain goes up gives you chills, "Center Stage" is for you.
One reviewer said "think Fame with classical ballet thrown in," or maybe "Chorus Line" in toe shoes, and that sounds about right. Think Lincoln Center where the American Ballet Academy holds forth.
Jody Sawyer ( Amanda Schull) has just arrived in New York to study at the famed academy. She has two roommates, Eva ( Zoe Saldana) streetwise and nonconforming, and Maureen (Susan May Pratt), the school's best dancer.
Jody somehow attracts company star Cooper (real life American Ballet theater superstar Ethan Stiefel), who decides to choreograph a rock ballet around Jody, much to the objection of his colleagues.
The film features the choreography of Susan Stroman, who picked up a couple Tonys this year, doing everything from Michael Jackson to Stevie Wonder to salsa and Tchaikovsky. Cooper's ballet, in which he enters the stage on a roaring Harley, is called "outrageously unfettered – over the top."
The film is said to be populated with some of the most talented Broadway actors around today, including Donna Murphy and Pricilla Lopez. It's called "immensely entertaining," dancing to "a sprightly beat," with stage and film director Nicholas Hynter at the controls.
The life of a ballerina closely resembles that of an Olympic athelete in training, discipline and dedication. And, like atheletes, they don't all make it. They don't call it "blood, sweat and tears" for nothing.
Stiefel is called "demonically talented," and it is said he may become a matinee idol, as did Baryshnikov after "The Turning Point."
It is rated PG-13 for language and some sensuality.
It starts Thursday at Sunny Isle.

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