Get ready Broadway! Chicago is about to send you another BIG HIT- “Gotta Dance” will run here thru January 16th and then re-tool itself to open in the fall in New York City. In past years, the shows that have started here have proved to be highly successful. Chicago audiences are great! They truly know good theater and the production team uses their knowledge to make the changes as they get settled in for their pre-Broadway stay. The story is about professional basketball’s first ever aged 60 and older dance team for half time entertainment. One remarkable dance team that is based on the true story of ten determined dreamers who audition to dance at half time for a professional team. They have the love of dance, they have something to prove (to somebody or themselves) and they are all seniors who no longer want to be invisible. They, of course, assume that they will be dancing as they know dancing, but when they make the cut, they find out that the team has something else in mind- “Hip-Hop”!
The dynamic team that put this show together is under the leadership of Director/Choreographer Jerry Mitchell (remember “Kinky Boots”?). Mitchell has brought back David Rockwell (scenic design), Greg Barnes (costumes) Kenneth Posner (lighting) and Peter Hylenski (sound). The book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin with music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Nell Benjamin propel the story line, and while you will not walk out of the theater humming any one of these story-telling numbers, you may find yourself with a new appreciation of Hip-Hop. For the record, there is some additional music by the late Marvin Hamlisch to add to the mix.
What makes this show so very special is the talented cast of seniors (and near seniors) that tell the story- they are amazing and as high in energy as any other ensemble in any other theater in Chicago (or probably anywhere). Georgia Engel,a TV character actress that we have all seen over the years, is one amazing talent. In her role as Dorothy/Dottie, the timid schoolteacher/wild dancing queen, we see her in a whole new light and I must tell you, she is the “belle of this ball”! I loved her! The other standouts in this story is Ron, the only man who makes the cut who is played to perfection by Andre De Shields, “The Prince of Swing”! Remember Stephanie Powers (“The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.” and Jennifer Hart on “Hart to Hart” with Robert Wagner)? She is amazing as Joanne, the former dancer who gave it all up for her wealthy life as a doctor’s wife. She is waiting to get even with her ex by showing him just what he gave up.
The entire troupe of dancers (all ten) are special characters that will delight you and expose you to things as they were compared to how young people view them today. Lillias White, Lori Tan Chinn, Adinah Alexander, Madeline Doherty, Nancy Ticotin ( an amazing dancer), Lenora Nemetz, Kay Walbye, as well as Colby Lewis, Alexander Aguilar (what a dancer!), Haven Burton ( as Tara the ex-dancer gone coach), Tracy Jai Edwards ( the marketing manager who thinks this whole idea will never work), Joanna A. Jones, Sydni Beaudoin, Holly Ann Butler and Paula Caselton. This is a cast of very talented people and when the seniors show their true ages in the final number, you will find yourselves in “AWE”. I know that as one myself, I was inspired by watching the effort and work these people bring to the theater. Knowing that there are 8 performances a week, might deter one from wanting this life, but not these performers. This is truly a show not to be missed. If you do miss it now, I know that after it wins awards in New York, there will be a road company that will bring it back. This cast is ACES, so do what you can to make sure you get to see this cast do their thing, they way it was meant to be played!
“Gotta Dance” will continue its stay at the Bank of America Theatre located at 18 West Monroe Street, thru January 17th, 2016 with performances as follows:
|Tue, Dec 29:||7:30pm|
|Wed, Dec 30:||2:00pm & 7:30pm|
|Thu, Dec 31:||2:00pm|
|Sat, Jan 2:||2:00pm & 8:00pm|
|Sun, Jan 3:||2:00pm & 7:30pm|
|Tue, Jan 5:||7:30pm|
|Wed, Jan 6:||2:00pm & 7:30pm|
|Thu, Jan 7:||7:30pm|
|Fri, Jan 8:||7:30pm|
|Sat, Jan 9:||2:00pm & 8:00pm|
|Sun, Jan 10:||2:00pm|
|Tue, Jan 12:||7:30pm|
|Wed, Jan 13:||2:00pm & 7:30pm|
|Thu, Jan 14:||7:30pm|
|Fri, Jan 15:||7:30pm|
|Sat, Jan 16:||2:00pm & 8:00pm|
|Sun, Jan 17:||2:00pm|
Tickets range from $38-$105 and are available at all of the Broadway in Chicago Theatre box offices, by phone at 800-775-200 (Broadway In Chicago Ticketline)
all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Gotta Dance”