A professional company of actors with disabilities defies expectations by taking center stage in Chicago the musical.
I was a musical theatre major at a conservatory program in Manhattan twenty years ago. As a performer and director, I understand what it takes to make a musical come to fruition. The amount of work ethic required to succeed is unfathomable for anyone outside the industry. I cannot imagine the added uphill battle of mounting a show where every cast member has a disability. IMPERFECT showed me that it’s not only possible but positively triumphant.
The film takes us from pre-production to auditions, all different kinds of rehearsals, and leads us into opening night. You fall in love with each cast and crew member instantly. Their vulnerability hits you in the heart.
The film breaks away from rehearsals to focus on each individual’s personal life. These moments successfully solidify our emotional investment in the cast. We get to know who these actors are and why they choose the theatre. Everyone is unique. Sometimes we forget that disability comes in all forms. Their spotlights shine with eloquence and honesty. They raise awareness, shatter stereotypes, and remind us to choose kindness.
Chicago possesses a poignant song for this particular community. It’s called “Mr. Cellophane.” It’s a song performed by Amos. He is Roxie’s adoring pushover of a husband, where he sings about feeling invisible. As the number ends, he proceeds to apologize. I have a feeling this hit home for much of the cast.
I could have watched an entire film on the audition process alone. Frankly, I would watch a series of “imperfect” shows. It is a brilliant treatment for years of unique entertainment. Phamaly Theatre Company might have cornered an untapped market for the masses. Televising the process could have these performers reach a massive audience beyond “Chicago.” Pushing that grandiose idea aside, as a stand-alone doc, you’ll fall head over heels in love with this company. Directors Brian Malone and Regan Linton (who plays double duty as “Chicago’s” director) have given audiences everywhere a heartfelt gift in IMPERFECT. We learn much in an hour and fifteen minutes.
IMPERFECT bleeds authenticity. The fearless nature of baring one’s soul on stage takes on new meaning in IMPERFECT. Was I weeping with overwhelming pride and pure unadulterated joy as opening night finally came to life? Yup. The cast and crew made magic for that audience, the one at home, and themselves. You’ll give them a standing ovation because “they had it coming, all along.”
IMPERFECT will be screening in competition, in the Documentary Features section at the 2022 Virtual Slamdance Film Festival. To purchase a festival pass, please visit https://slamdance.com/2022-
RT: 77 Minutes | Not Yet Rated