Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs (2011) is rated PG-13 and has a run time of 102 minutes. This film screened at the Festival Friday, October 17, co-hosted by VSA Texas.

Musical Chairs donated a beautiful movie poster to Cinema Touching Disability, signed by Director Susan Seidleman and stars Auti Angel and Laverne Cox! We held a live auction for the poster following the film on Friday.

Musical Chairs banner: on a red back ground, a leg in tuxedo pants, a leg in ballroom dancing shoes and feathery skirt, and wheel run from top right to bottom left.Musical Chairs is a romantic tale of two New Yorkers, Armando Ortiz (E.J. Bonilla) from the Bronx and Mia Franklin (Leah Pipes) from the Upper East Side, who come together through their love of ballroom dancing.

Mia and Armando meet at a midtown Manhattan dance studio where Mia is an instructor and Armando is a part-time handyman who exchanges his janitorial duties for dance lessons. Despite their differences, there is clearly a spark between them that is ignited one night when they find themselves alone practicing in the studio. Before their relationship has a chance to grow, Mia’s life is dramatically changed when her spinal chord is severed in a tragic accident. She believes she will never be able to dance again. True to his nature, Armando dedicates himself to helping Mia overcome the everyday challenges that follow.

At the rehab center where Mia is undergoing therapy, she is joined by a group of colorful misfits who are also trying to adjust to having to use a wheelchair – an angry Iraq war veteran (Morgan Spector), a pre-op transsexual (Laverne Cox), an antisocial punk with a chip on her shoulder (Auti Angel).

A man in a tuxedo bends forward in his wheelchair while a woman in a formal gown lays on his back with a leg in the air. Despite Mia’s many rebuffs, Armando refuses to give up, struggling to find a way to show her that being in a wheelchair does not prevent her from dancing. Then, one day, Armando hears about a “Wheelchair Ballroom Dance Competition” — a dance phenomenon big in Europe and Asia, but relatively unknown in the USA — soon to be held for the first time in New York City.

Armando convinces Mia and the off-beat gang of rehab residents to give it a shot, and after initial skepticism and some hilarious attempts, they begin to seriously rehearse for the upcoming event (right).

Featuring actors and dancers with and without disabilities and directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Seidelman, Musical Chairs is about the strength of the human spirit, love and compassion in the face of life’s adversities.

Shot exclusively in NYC, the film was produced by Janet Carrus and Joey Dedio and executive produced by Jamin O’Brien and Susan Seidelman.

Further Reading:

View the preview below.

Musical Chairs Trailer from Musical Chairs on Vimeo.


The 2014 film lineup:

Musical Chairs The Little Tin Man My Gimpy Life

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