Bob Fosse‘s DANCIN’ originally came to the New York stage in 1978, and, now, you can see the world premiere revival at The Old Globe through May 29th. This dance show is full of stunning dancers, and the work they bring to life is gorgeous, engaging, athletic, and sexy. Run, walk, or dance your way to the theatre – but you won’t want to miss this show.
Helmed by director and musical stager Wayne Cilento, who was part of the original production of DANCIN’ in 1978, there is a modern sensibility to this show made up of individual pieces and vignettes, some of which combine into longer story arcs. This is not a traditional musical, and the show makes that clear in the opening monologue as they promise that this first and foremost is a celebration of dance.
Made up of an ensemble of 20 insanely talented and charismatic dancers, the show practically flies by as you take it all in. The proof of how talented these dancers are in that way they make all of this look so easy. If you watch something and think “I can do that”, it’s a sure sign the people performing are exquisitely talented.
The ensemble of principal cast members includes Ioana Alfonso, Yeman Brown, Peter John Chursin, Dylis Croman, Tony d’Alelio, Jōvan Dansberry, Karli Dinardo, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Jacob Guzman, Manuel Herrera, Gabriel Hyman, Kolton Krouse, Mattie Love, Krystal Mackie, Yani Marin, Nando Morland, Khori Michelle Petinaud, Ida Saki, Michaeljon Slinger, and Ron Todorowski.
The first company number brings energy with “Crunchy Granola Suite” and then slows down into a more contemplative “Mr. Bojangles.” From there the show weaves in some songs, individual performances, and then back into full company numbers.
“Big City Mime,” tells the story, of a young man experiencing all that New York has to offer through multiple numbers. Throughout the numbers, the piece showcases the fluidity and ease all of the dancers have in dance styles one after the other. Each one is highly imaginative and entertaining on its own as it goes from the sidewalks of NY to the wonders of a bookstore, and beyond while the attire changes from suits to corsets and feather boas.
The second act opener “Sing, Sing, Sing” is a flat-out show stopper, an homage to Old musicals. By the end, the audience was ready to leap to their feet to applaud.
While based on Fosse’s choreography from both the original of this show and from his earlier works there is no need to have prior familiarity with any of Fosse’s prior works to enjoy or understand the show. Though you could hear audience members yell “yes!” when something from a favorite like PIPPIN, or SWEET CHARITY, and others made an appearance.
The second act has a tonal turn that may not work for everyone as it moves into something more pointed in “America?” set to Jimi Hendrix‘s electrified rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” followed by “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” After that is a return to the theatrical with “The Big Deal,” which was Fosse’s final production.
The costumes by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung are beautiful and bring not just dramatic flair, but also highlight the athleticism and grace of the performer’s movements. The set design by Robert Brill allows them to play with height and movement as needed, is balanced by David Grill‘s lighting, and both work well with the video design by Finn Ross.
The music and orchestrations by Jim Abbott are fantastic, as is the music direction of Darryl Archibald with the phenomenally talented live musicians. The skill of both the musicians and the dancers is highlighted in their tight synchronicity throughout the show.
Bob Fosse‘s DANCIN’ is a show that doesn’t just celebrate Fosse and the world of dance, but also the individuality and artistic expression of each performer. It will leave you energized, breathless, and excited to see it over and over again.
How To Get Tickets
Running time: Two hours and twenty minutes. There is one intermission.
Bob Fosse‘s Dancin’ contains mature themes. The production also contains smoking, haze, and flashing lights.
Mask mandate and COVID protocols: Proof of vaccine is no longer required, masks are strongly recommended indoors but not required.
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