Films: Leading Ladies

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Leading Ladies

Leading Ladies

USA, 2010, 102 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Colorado, GLBT, Local, Music, Romance
Programs: New Directors Showcase, Spotlight on Colorado
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Daniel Beahm, Erika Randall Beahm
Producer: Daniel Beahm
Editor: Daniel Beahm
Screenwriter: Erika Randall Beahm, Jennifer Bechtel
Cinematographer: Peter Biagi
Principal Cast: Benji Schwimmer, Laurel Vail, Melanie LaPatin, Nicole Dionne, Shannon Lea Smith

Once a star, Sheri Campari is now a struggling yet controlling stage mom who lives vicariously through her daughter Tasi, the perfectionist darling of the amateur ballroom circuit. Wallflower older sister Toni, the backbone of the family, helps Tasi maintain a sense of humor in the face of Sheri’s overblown expectations. And then there’s Cedric—Tasi’s flamboyant dance partner, Toni’s best friend and the only person with the confidence to stand up to Sheri.

This nutty family’s world gets turned upside down when Tasi confronts an unwanted pregnancy in the midst of rehearsals for the big ballroom competition—and Toni meets Mona, who becomes her leading lady both on and off the dance floor, encouraging her to take the lead and fall in love. As Tasi prepares to becomes the mother she wished she’d had, Toni and Mona’s relationship blooms, and the members of this unconventional family learn to let love lead them as they accept the starring roles in their own lives.

A little bit Strictly Ballroom, a little bit Hairspray—yet wholly itself—this impressive first feature from Colorado-based duo Erika Randall Beahm and Daniel Beahm is as wonderfully heartfelt as it is campy and gently subversive. Drawing on their own experiences of growing up in the Midwest, cowriters Erika Randall Beahm and Jennifer Bechtel have filled quite a void with their uplifting, song-and-dance-filled, gay-themed and family-oriented romantic comedy. Among the stars are such real-life dance divas as Melanie LaPatin (Sheri), herself a ballroom champ and a choreographer for popular reality TV series So You Think You Can Dance—on which Benji Schwimmer (Cedric) was a winning contestant in 2006. The cast is rounded out by Nicole Dionne (Mona), Shannon Lea Smith (Tasi) and Laurel Vail (Toni)—who learned to dance for her role—along with other alumni from So You Think You Can Dance, who shimmy through a delightfully surreal musical number set in a supermarket.
—Rebecca Caro

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