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Donna McKechnie or Alyson Reed? Comparing The Cassie's From "A Chrous Line"

One won Tony Award for originating the role of Cassie on Broadway (Donna McKechnie)

The other played Cassie in the movie version of "A Chorus Line" (Alyson Reed)

In the video below they each do their solo scene.

Discuss

by Anonymousreply 2503/14/2019

Alyson Reed sounds so fucking shrill.

by Anonymousreply 104/27/2018

Alyson Reed just didn't have that extra oomph.

Maybe she was a bit mannish, I saw her in Cabaret and she was not an ideal sally bowles

by Anonymousreply 204/27/2018

How is it possible that Alyson Reed beat out Lesley Ann Warren and Ann Reinking for the role of Cassie?

In my opinion, she sank the movie.

by Anonymousreply 304/27/2018

[quote] How is it possible that Alyson Reed beat out Lesley Ann Warren and Ann Reinking for the role of Cassie?

They had a very small budget. Even Michael Douglas accepted a smaller salary.

by Anonymousreply 404/27/2018

[quote]In my opinion, she sank the movie.

I think it's a bit unfair to pin it on her, when the entire movie is unwatchable.

by Anonymousreply 504/27/2018

Alyson Reed said the movie almost destroyed her career

"'I wanted to quit the business,' Reed recalled. 'I knew we'd get bad reviews, because, for some people, we'd rewritten the Bible. But I wasn't prepared for how vicious they'd be. I was devastated.' She knows, word-for-word, with every comma in place, what Vincent Canby wrote in the New York Times about her Cassie, for which Reed's straight, ash-blond hair became frizzy and red. 'He said I couldn't sing, couldn't dance and, above all, that I was charmless. You cannot take away my charm. I live my life on it.'

In hindsight, far from the emotion of the film's exceptionally long, seven-month production schedule, she acknowledged mixed feelings about the finished product. 'It didn't have the darkness it needed; it was too nice. And when you take a thing that's so intrinsically theatrical, there are tricks you can't pull off on film without looking corny. It lacks a certain passion. But I don't think it's the turkey it was made out to be. I'm very proud of a lot of my work in it.' It was no small irony that to win her first -- and, to date, only -- film role, Reed beat out Ann Reinking, the star of the first show in which Reed danced in a Broadway chorus line, Bob Fosse's 'Dancin'.' Cynthia Rhodes and Leslie Ann Warren were also screen-tested for Cassie, Reed said.

Although she was regarded as the dark-horse newcomer, Reed was hardly new to the stage version of "A Chorus Line," having played both Cassie and Val (the brassy chorine who sings about enhancing her physical assets) in touring companies, under creator Michael Bennett's direction. Indeed, Reed did screen tests for both roles. Still, it was the film that most taught Reed about tough knocks in a tough business, perhaps because so many had expected the role of Cassie would be its owner's fast-lane ticket to Hollywood stardom. The year that followed was the hardest year of my life. A 5 1/2-year relationship with a man split up. I was on hold for three films, and, after the reviews came out, all three were pulled. It was incredible. I couldn't get arrested. On Broadway, casting directors and directors didn't want to see me for anything. I was absolutely floored."

by Anonymousreply 604/27/2018

Alyson Reed said the movie almost destroyed her career

"'I wanted to quit the business,' Reed recalled. 'I knew we'd get bad reviews, because, for some people, we'd rewritten the Bible. But I wasn't prepared for how vicious they'd be. I was devastated.' She knows, word-for-word, with every comma in place, what Vincent Canby wrote in the New York Times about her Cassie, for which Reed's straight, ash-blond hair became frizzy and red. 'He said I couldn't sing, couldn't dance and, above all, that I was charmless. You cannot take away my charm. I live my life on it.'

In hindsight, far from the emotion of the film's exceptionally long, seven-month production schedule, she acknowledged mixed feelings about the finished product. 'It didn't have the darkness it needed; it was too nice. And when you take a thing that's so intrinsically theatrical, there are tricks you can't pull off on film without looking corny. It lacks a certain passion. But I don't think it's the turkey it was made out to be. I'm very proud of a lot of my work in it.' It was no small irony that to win her first -- and, to date, only -- film role, Reed beat out Ann Reinking, the star of the first show in which Reed danced in a Broadway chorus line, Bob Fosse's 'Dancin'.' Cynthia Rhodes and Leslie Ann Warren were also screen-tested for Cassie, Reed said.

Although she was regarded as the dark-horse newcomer, Reed was hardly new to the stage version of "A Chorus Line," having played both Cassie and Val (the brassy chorine who sings about enhancing her physical assets) in touring companies, under creator Michael Bennett's direction. Indeed, Reed did screen tests for both roles. Still, it was the film that most taught Reed about tough knocks in a tough business, perhaps because so many had expected the role of Cassie would be its owner's fast-lane ticket to Hollywood stardom. The year that followed was the hardest year of my life. A 5 1/2-year relationship with a man split up. I was on hold for three films, and, after the reviews came out, all three were pulled. It was incredible. I couldn't get arrested. On Broadway, casting directors and directors didn't want to see me for anything. I was absolutely floored."

by Anonymousreply 704/27/2018

In another interview she says

In 1984, Reed surprised a lot of people in Hollywood by beating out Ann Reinking and Lesley Ann Warren for the pivotal role of Cassie in Richard Attenborough's much-trumpeted movie of the Broadway hit about chorus line dancers.

Filming took nearly eight months as anticipation swelled in the media and entertainment industry. When it was finally released, the groans were resounding. Critics hated the movie and panned Reed's performance (Times film critic Sheila Benson said she lacked "the pure line of white-hot intensity, in her singing or dancing, that would separate a star from a chorus girl"), and the movie died at the box office.

Reed's golden opportunity turned into a leaden failure. Even now the enthusiasm drains from Reed's face as she talks about the experience. It was really her first time in a film--she was the double for Bo Derek in a dance scene for "10" but the segment was cut--and Reed's expectations were dangerously high.

"I remember going from that point of high anxiety where you don't know (if you can handle the role) to such an eagerness (to see it come out right)," she said. "And then it came out, and the reviews started coming in. I wasn't really prepared for such a reaction.

"I knew we'd get killed (because) we were doing something that was almost sacred, but we were sliced up like a Veg-A-Matic. We were destroyed; the reviews were really vicious."

The reaction to her portrayal--especially, she says, a searing criticism by the New York Times' Vincent Canby--placed her career in limbo for several painful months.

"Before the movie came out, I had other film offers, appearances on talk shows were scheduled and there was talk of a miniseries on TV," Reed recalled with more amazement than resentment in her voice. "But once the reviews came out, all that went away; nobody would have anything to do with me. It affected my ability to get work for some time."

Her assessment of "A Chorus Line," now that she's had almost two years to think about it? "You know, I haven't seen it for a long time, but I don't think it was nearly as bad as the critics said. It could have showed the viciousness (of chorus auditions) better, but it was not that bad of a movie."

by Anonymousreply 804/27/2018

I never miss a Richard Attenborough or John Huston musical.

by Anonymousreply 904/27/2018

Poor Alyson, but at least she bounced back with the High School Musical franchise

by Anonymousreply 1004/27/2018

Donna's only comment about Alyson Reed and the movie

"Something good that came out of the "A Chorus Line" film. I think the movie was geared to a European audience; it paved the way for us to get (the stage musical) to Paris." That's the extent of her positive comment on the screen version. "I'm prejudiced," Donna McKechnie said. "I couldn't identify with Cassie" played by Alyson Reed .

by Anonymousreply 1104/27/2018

That's actually incredibly sad. I don't think Reed was bad. Just miscast a bit. I don't think anyone should ever be punished for being miscast. There's not really much one can do, especially if it's a prestige project and you need the money and publicity. Reed was more a victim of the script and direction than anything else. I mean, why did they give her What I Did For Love? Such a stupid choice in a film full of stupid choices. I think A Chorus Line is in desperate need of a remake.

by Anonymousreply 1204/27/2018

I thought the movie version was wonderful!

by Anonymousreply 1304/27/2018

I saw her a few years ago on Mad Men. She was in one episode playing Christina Hendrick's character's mother-in-law. Unrecognizable.

by Anonymousreply 1404/27/2018

Yes r14........

by Anonymousreply 1504/27/2018

[quote] Unrecognizable.

If any good came out of this for Alyson, it forced her to work harder to get roles. and now she is a respected character actress, who known for "High School Musical" and not A Chorus Line.

by Anonymousreply 1604/27/2018

I am a DANCER!

by Anonymousreply 1704/27/2018

A dancer dances, r17.

by Anonymousreply 1804/27/2018

I thought the first one sang better but I don't think she danced better. The choreography for the first one was really boring and simplistic. I thought the dancing in the second was better. I have never understood why anyone thought the that original routine was good.

by Anonymousreply 1904/27/2018

R19

Although I appreciate OP’s thread, I feel it’s important to point out the age difference between Donna and Alyson in OP’s 1988 video. Donna was 45 years old, and Alyson was 27.

That’s a hell of an age difference in the life of a dancer.

Here’s a clip of Donna’s full solo dance in the original A Chorus Line when she was 34. Amazing! She floats! Donna is 7 years older here than Alyson was in the movie.

by Anonymousreply 2003/14/2019

Everybody Loves Leona.

by Anonymousreply 2103/14/2019

To be fair, Music and the Mirror and Let Me Dance For You are both terrible numbers, the first tailored to Donna’s tricks and the second to Alyson’s more eighties approach. Neither work well, and Alyson is pretty much as charmless as the reviewers say, but really she couldn’t have saved the movie in any way. I know everyone looooves Donna, but I think her peak was Turkey Lurkey. ACL exposed her weird old lady voice up top, and otherwise common lower belt, and the choreography is Bennet’s weakest in the show by far. Layouts and head bops for fifteen minutes. It’s the dullest and lamest part of the show.

by Anonymousreply 2203/14/2019

Alyson Reed's performance on the Do I Hear a Waltz revival cast recording is excellent, much warmer than Elizabeth Allen on the OBC.

WHET The Alyson Reed Troll?

by Anonymousreply 2303/14/2019

How was Allyson as Sally in Cabaret? I always heard she was sorta meh.

by Anonymousreply 2403/14/2019

Donna was a brilliant dancer and a decent singer (although, as someone else mentioned, she did have a kind of strange old church lady voice at times), but I always thought she was a pretty bad actress. I've never really believed her in anything. I remember her playing 3 lead roles in various productions of Follies and she wasn't terribly good in any of the roles. She was ok as Sally I suppose, which was probably the best fit, but she wasn't great.

by Anonymousreply 2503/14/2019
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