MUSICAL CHAIRS, the latest film by renowned director Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan) will be screened at The International Film Festival of Manhattan on Thursday, November 15th at Quad Cinemas. A unique blend of dance, drama, and romance, the film stars newcomers Leah Pipes and E.J. Bonilla as a pair of unlikely lovers in contemporary New York who must face a number of challenges, both separately and together, before finding one another–and themselves. Also starring Tony-winner Priscilla Lopez, Jaime Tirelli, Laverne Cox, Morgan Spector, Auti Angel, Jerome Preston Bates, Nelson R. Landrieu, and Angelic Zambrana, MUSICAL CHAIRS was produced by Janet Carrus and Joey Dedio.
Set against the exciting backdrop of competitive ballroom dancing, MUSICAL CHAIRS is about Armando (Bonilla) a Bronx-bred Latino who aspires to be a dancer but whose only way in is as a handyman at a Manhattan dance studio, and Mia (Pipes), an Upper East Side princess who is the studio’s star performer. Though worlds apart, their shared passion for dance promises to bring them together until a tragic accident changes Mia’s life forever, and she finds herself wheelchair-bound at a rehab facility, with her dreams of a dance career shattered. Fortunately, Armando has enough dreams for both of them and, when he hears about a wheelchair ballroom dance competition that will soon be held in NY, he sees a way to return something to Mia that she thinks is lost forever. At first she is reluctant–wheelchair dancing, though highly popular overseas, is something she never even knew existed. But, with the help of several other residents at the rehab center, Armando organizes an intense training program that will bring them all center stage and in the spotlight. The prize is irrelevant; what they really stand to win back is their zest for life.
It was producer Janet Carrus, long active in charities benefitting the disabled, and herself an ardent ballroom dance enthusiast, who first had the idea of building a film around the phenomenon of wheelchair ballroom dancing, an activity long popular in Europe and Asia, but which is only now developing a wider following in the United States.
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