As a middle child in a large military family, Christine just wants to dance. Her parents support her dreams, even if they seem beyond their comprehension. At 20, determined and talented, Christine heads across the country from Santa Fe to New York City and, in a made for-Hollywood story, is chosen for the London cast of A Chorus Line.
While unwilling to fully cut ties with the traditional life her parents envision for her, she finds a new family with the dancers and more fluid, open characters that fill the theater world in London, and later New York, in the ’70s & ’80s. Christine learns that one member of her family is equally at home in her new world: Laughlin, her older brother–divorced, a father, ex-military and a corporate lawyer–also makes his way to New York City, where he meets, and begins to build a life, with rising fashion star Perry Ellis. The two men enjoy a partnership and a financial success that Christine both admires. and envies.
She spends much of her free time in their Upper West Side brownstone and Water Island retreat. Soon everyone is talking about a mysterious new disease. As deaths of dancers, theater folk, and eventually friends start to mount, Christine realizes she’s in the middle of an epidemic that neither her traditional family nor the public at large is ready to reckon with. As the AIDS crisis cuts closer and closer, eventually impacting those she loves most, Christine does what she has always done: she strikes her own path.
This memoir is an emotional, honest examination of what it takes to succeed in the competitive world of New York theater, how hard-won dreams can be quickly lost, what it means to redefine family, and the devastating toll AIDS exacted on a generation of artists.