The Adventure Continues

TT in the Blue Mountains and Sheldy in New York.

Culture Shock.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On Your Toes

Another show I thought I'd never see has been ticked off the bucket list now that Encores has thoughtfully revived Rodgers & Hart's ON YOUR TOES with staging by Warren Carlyle, even utilising the original 1936 George Balanchine choreography for "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue". The show got off to a smashing start as we were introduced to vaudeville hoofers The Dolans played by veteran tappers extraordinaire Randy Skinner and Karen Ziemba and charismatic youngster Dalton Harrod as the precocious Junior Dolan.  It is young Junior's eye for curvaceous chorines that gets him packed off to school where he grows up to be a teacher of classical music (now played by Shonn Wiley) renouncing his vaudeville past.
When one of his students writes a jazz ballet called "Slaughter on 10th Avenue", Junior passes it on to wealthy impressario Peggy Porterfield (the soignee Christine Baranski) who is sponsoring a visiting Russian ballet troupe run by Sergei Alexandrovitch (Walter Bobbie in the evening's best performance). Junior becomes smitten with tempestuous prima ballerina Vera Baranova (Irina Dvorovenko, perfectly cast) to the sorrow of his lovestruck girlfriend Frankie (Kelli Barrett). When lead dancer Konstantine (the sizzling Joaquin De Luz) is unable to master the jazz syncopation required for the new ballet, Junior is called upon to take the lead.
The jealous Konstantine hires a gunman to kill Junior during the ballet forcing the terrified hoofer to dance for his life until the police arrive to arrest the hitman.
Naturally, "Slaughter" was a highlight but the score is packed with gems such as "There's a Small Hotel", "It's Got To Be Love", "Glad To Be Unhappy" and the gorgeous "Quiet Night". But the evening's out and out showstopper was the title song, a joyous and thrilling challenge dance between the Russian ballet dancers and Junior's music students in tap shoes which finally ended with the company dancing in perfect unison. A knockout.

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