What a morning! I’m sitting at the audition table for Beauty and the Beast watching the men’s dance call back. Familiar and new faces, all of them processing Choreographer Megan Farley’s athletic, balletic footwork with an acrobatic tumbling move here and there thrown in for good measure. By her side, demonstrating with her in the mirror, is none other than Director Amber Mak, and these two are killing me how they are out-dancing the men! Gradually the young men catch on and catch up. It’s so fun to watch, taking me back to my dancing days! (I want to jump up and join in but those days are long gone!). Some of these guys are simply superb, benefiting from practice and years of training and technique. Each dancer is playing out their story giving it everything they’ve got, diverse as their skill set may be. Each one is a drama in itself, competing with themselves as much as they are each other. And then, they sing! Brilliantly! Of course, I’m keeping an eye on who may well be candidates to call in for Newsies next week!

(Newsies) delivers on spectacle, big time

Assembling the creative team for Newsies, I find myself talking a blue streak. The show delivers on spectacle, big time. I’ve been meeting with the various artists and valuing their appreciation of the established and considerable merits of the work. We’re certainly in agreement on the challenge of living up to the show’s demanding expectations. Based on the famous newsboys’ strike the summer of 1899, I’m so drawn to the class struggle brought on by the Industrial Revolution; these fat cats, Pulitzer and Hearst, exploiting child labor, immigrant kids and the orphaned and homeless. Might we have our audience, with our production, take away the profound tenacity and resilience of these striking kids? With all the flashy, Olympic feats of dance and gymnastics, can the crowd experience what’s suffered? Their fight. Their plight:

“They jacked up the price of papes, ten cents more a hundred.”

“I could eat two days on a dime.”

“I’ll be sleepin’ in the street.”

“You already sleep on the street.”

“In a worse neighborhood.”

Thursday, at our first Production Meeting with our home team and designers and choreographer, we’ll be discussing how we’ll deliver all the music, comedy, dance, and, it’s hoped, an exciting, meaningful insight into the defiant, heroic heart of our champs in Newsies!

Speaking of spectacular, there are two glorious weeks left to see The Producers, my pride and joy, I hope you won’t miss through March 17. Blake Hammond and Jake Morrissy as “Max” and “Leo” are rollin’ ’em in the aisles!

Love and Thanks.