Review: HBO’s Musical Chairs

Laverne Cox stars in director Susan Seidelman’s new film

Trailer for Susan Seidelman’s new dance film, Musical Chairs. Susan Seidelman

Musical Chairs tells the romantic story of an aspiring ballroom dancer, Armando (EJ Bonilla), who is taken with dance teacher and Fifth Avenue princess Mia (Leah Pipes). When tragedy suddenly strikes and Mia is left paralyzed by a car accident, the cogs begin to turn and the film takes flight. The relentlessly spirited Armando starts a ballroom dancing class at the rehabilitation centre where Mia is recovering with hopes of making it to the first American wheelchair-ballroom-dancing competition. It’s this goal that drives Musical Chairs to its heartwarming conclusion.

The GLAAD-nominated film has a roster of wonderful actors, including Laverne Cox (of Orange Is the New Black) as Priscilla in a standout supporting role. Cox has an infectious charisma and embodies the movie’s message — courage and perseverance in the face of adversity. When Mia says her accident was just an “ordinary” one, Priscilla facetiously fires back, “Life as a black, transsexual cripple? Well, that’s way too interesting to me. I’ll take ordinary any old day.”

The film was shot on location and delivers a beautiful and faithful representation of New York City. This is hardly surprising considering Seidelman is the director responsible for Desperately Seeking Susan and several episodes of Sex and the City, including the pilot.

Musical Chairs airs on HBO Latino throughout December and January. For more info, visit

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