29 April 2011

The Tap Dance Forecast in CT: RIDICULOUSLY SUNNY (both in the short- and long-term)!

Okay, Tap Fans, before Sunday evening, you gotta get to Playhouse on Park in West Hartford where the stop/time dance theatre is performing their latest show "Swing Set," a fast-paced joyous celebration of swing dancing and the music that inspired it.  Conceived, directed, and choreographed by Darlene Zoller (also one of the artistic directors of Playhouse on Park), the show uses every inch of space in the Playhouse...and

there's something especially invigorating in feeling the tapping in your seats as the dancers go up the aisles (Think "Sensurround" but without the silly disaster movie!) The performers, as always with Zoller-choreographed shows, dance hard and often, with the necessary breaks filled with singing. 

My favorite numbers were "Tuxedo Junction", "Sing Sing Sing,"  and "Sing You Sinners," although there wasn't a dance number that I didn't like.  The entire company earns their just applause with their committed and enthusiastic energy and remarkable skill.  A particular shout out to Ms. Zoller, who indeed practices what she teaches, i.e., tapping is all about the sound, and, when she was out on the floor, I could hear her tapping as clear as a bell -- no matter how many others were on the floor!  Never showing off, just showing how it's done.  

If I had two nits to pick, they'd be 1) bag the microphones for the singers since the space seems intimate enough for voices unplugged and a quieter pause may even be more refreshing, and 2) don't change the chorus of "I Got Rhythm" by replacing "my girl/guy" with "rhythm."  Maybe it was just "old fogey" me (which wouldn't be surprising), but I got distracted for a couple verses in trying to figure out why the song wasn't sounding right.

The show only runs through the matinee on Sunday, 1 May, so "It Won't Mean a Thing" if you don't "Pick up the Phone."   When you do, then, and only then, are you "Beginning to See the Light!"

As far as the longer-range Tap forecast here in Connecticut, it's just as bright because you have until June 25th to catch My One and Only at the Goodspeed Opera House.  Billed a "Tap Dance Extravaganza," the show doesn't disappoint.  The clever script and the kind of inventive staging for which the Goodspeed is known, not to mention a s'wonderful Gershwin score, make this a great springtime show!

And since the tap stars were out on opening night of Swing Set, I'd be remiss not to mention Josh Hilberman's upcoming show,  “Lois’ Tap Lane” All-Star Tap and Jazz Salute, on Friday, May 13, at 8pm at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA.

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