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DO40 News - Page 8
DO40 Members - CLICK HERE for video clips of the event!!
Members and Non-Members - CLICK HERE for photos (136) of the event!
DO40’s TAP! Part 1 almost turned into TAP! Part 2 and 3!!
The Tap “Walkaround” Finale with all Panelists and Performers
The TAP! event was filled with tap history, tappers and tap performances, making this the most performance-oriented panel we have ever had! Performers included Noah Racey (who opened the show), Karen Calloway and Kathy Calahan, who recreated the 5 points tap battle from the 1800s, Karin Baker and Kathy Calahan recreating an Ernest Carlost routine, Tony Waag and Karen Calloway recreating the world’s “slowest” soft shoe, a tribute to Buster Brown by Linda Rose Iennaco, a tribute to Paul Draper by Karen Prunzik, Gene Castle performing to Fred Astaire’s “Happy Feet,” and a stunningly original piece by tapper Max Pollack to end the show. Ah, but not quite! Special Guest Mercedes Ellington led a “Walkaround” with all the tappers and panelists, and Shim Sham’d the night to a close!
Tappers Karen Calloway and Tony Waag perform the “slowest” soft shoe!
Panelists included Randy Skinner and Lawrence Merritt, both reminiscing about Ginger Rogers, Teak Lewis and Karen Prunzik remembering Eleanor Powell, Joy Serio Dunbar and stories of Georgie Tapps and Gene Kelly, and of course, to keep the evening going, co-hosts Lee Roy Reams and Harvey Evans, both tap dancing demons from Cincinnati, Ohio!
Tappers: Kathy Calahan and Karen Calloway
Act I was about the History of Tap, and included film clips of all the major movie couplings, Fred & Ginger, Fred & Eleanor, Kelly & O’Connor, the Nicholas Brothers, the Step Brothers and even Shirley Temple & Bill Robinson. Great footage of Gregory Hines performing with Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde, Sandman Sims and Bunny Briggs, clips of Honi Coles, Georgie Tapps and Paul Draper, and Paul and Ruby dancing together in a stunning film sequence.
Performers: Noah Racey and Max Pollack
Act II focused on the Broadway Shows, and included many of our DO40 members who were in the originals – No, No, Nanette (Mercedes Ellington and Linda Rose Iennaco), George M! (Harvey Evans, Patti Mariano, Gene Castle, Karin Baker – and audience member Kathie Savage), Sophisticated Ladies (Mercedes and Ty Stephens) and 42nd Street (Lee Roy Reams, Randy Skinner, Karen Prunzik and Karin Baker). Stories and laughs abounded.
Panel One - L ro R: Mercedes Ellington, Joy Serio Dunbar, Lawrence Merritt,
Well, Act I did run a bit long. As Lee Roy Reams remarked, it was so long he started menopause! Act II came in a respectable 40 minutes, so Lee Roy left the event looking actually only TEN years older!
Performers: Karen Prunzik and Linda Rose Iennaco
DO40 President John Sefakis spoke right before intermission and turned the video camera around to the audience to honor all the tappers – and performers in attendance. And we could have filmed that all night! Rockettes! Broadway performers! Ballet dancers! A veritable smorgasbord of the dance community, all coming together to celebrate the History, Legacy and Lives of the people who, well, TAP!
Tappers: Kathy Calahan and Karin Baker
Over 130 pictures are now up on the DO40 Facebook page, and video clips of the event will be posted on the member-only video page of our website soon! Yet another perk of becoming a DO40 member! No matter where you are! New York to Nevada, Connecticut or California, we’re there for you! Especially with our huge Facebook presence, with over 12,000 people “liking” our page!
This is the first time Dancers Over 40 celebrated a specific genre of dance, instead of a performer, director or choreographer. DO40 will continue the discussion next season with a ballet panel in October and eventually feature jazz and modern dance.
The Curtain Call
This is also the first time a DO40 event has been totally underwritten. Our sponsor for TAP! was Kraige Block and the Throckmorton Fine Art Gallery. Kraige is a long-time tapper and teacher, who has now, with his partner, gone on to a new career in the art world. He attended our DO40 CARES dance concert with producer Bruce Robert Harris, both of whom have come on board to help raise money for DO40. A gracious thank you and welcome to them both!
This was the last event of the DO40 2011 – 2012 season, our busiest and most successful year EVER! Thank you to all our members and donors, to Broadway Cares/EFA and the Equity Foundation for believing in us! Stay tuned for information on the 2012 – 2013 season, to be announced in August – right along with our membership renewal mailing! We simply can’t do it without you!
DO40 Members - CLICK HERE for video clips of the event!!
Members and Non-Members - CLICK HERE for photos (184) of the event!
Above: The Curtain Call/Finale. Over 50 performers and choreographers!
THE REVIEWS ARE IN!!
“It was a triumph!”
“WHAT AN INCREDIBLE NIGHT!”
From the Audience:
“How fabu-deluxe was last night!!! Wow, to see Carol Lawrence and Chita Rivera and the Cell Block Tango Ladies was a true thrill!!! Congrats on a wonderful evening.”
“Congratulations! It was dynamite!! The whole evening was wonderful, and the entire show was so well crafted – a terrific job, as always.”
“Congratulations on a fabulous show - the best I thing I've seen of DO40 - superb cast. Great job! Cheers! And again, major congrats. You are really doing a great job.”
Carol Lawrence doing TOP HAT with her “Boys” – all selected at random from the audience!
“Congrats on a very entertaining and creative show, it was an incredible night. The whole theater lit up with Carol Lawrence hosting the show, which she did masterfully and as only she can. And looking absolutely gorgeous, of course Chita, the Diva of Broadway performing her murderess number was one of the high points of the show. With the two of these fabulous women on stage, they made it a night to remember. I adore them both. Along with Larry Fuller’s choreography and John Sefakis’ handling the whole affair brilliantly made it a night for an audience screaming for more. Let me not leave out the cast who did a magnificent job of making a song and dance event one will remember for a long time. From the bottom of my heart, thanks for a wonderful event.”
The Ladies of the Cell Block Tango: Joan Bell, Chita Rivera, Candace Tovar,
And from the Cast:
“What a glorious evening!!! DO40 put together the most amazing show and was so gracious to the cast and audience. The generosity you inspired was almost palpable. Thank you thank you thank you. What an honor to be a part of such an accomplished group of artists! Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“Guys -- I really didn't anticipate how much fun I would have doing the benefit this year. Thank you for asking me, and let me know if I can ever help again.”
“You are all fabulous! What a show you managed to put together; I so admire your passion, commitment, and energy. Thanks for letting me be a part of it and I know we will see each other again soon.”
Ode to a Dance Belt, Front Row: Ron Young, Ken Urmston, Paul Berne and Jonathan Cerullo;
“You must be wiped out!! Everything went well and your hard work paid off. It looked great and I hope I helped in some way. Great seeing old friends too. Thank you, John, for making me a part of the event! I am so glad it went well for you, Larry, all of the performers and the DO40 organization!”
“I know I said this last night to you but I want to tell you again, thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul to have included me in this evening. My heart is so filled with joy from this, something I haven’t felt in a good while. You will let me know about next year’s benefit and I would love to talk to you about the organization’s future with you and my involvement. I am glad to know you, John, you’re doing a good thing. XOXO”
The stars were all in alignment. And the STARS were all in alignment, too! DO40’s Song and Dance Concert hit the right note, the right beat, and soared to new heights. Everything clicked. From stage management, lighting, choreographers, dancers, singers, crew, volunteers. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect group of people to work with (although we WILL ask them again, soon!). All heck can break loose (and more expletives!) when benefits happen. One day in the theater, two hours for tech, three for tech rehearsal. Ticket sales, SOLD OUT…adding another row to the seating chart. 50 performers in two dressing rooms! Fourteen numbers, some live, some with tracks. Props! Tap shoe trauma! Cell Block madness! But these were pros…from 20 to 85, all pros. All worked together to support two important causes, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Project Achieve/Columbia University and the NYC HIV Vaccine Trials Network. And as Carol Lawrence said in her remarks to introduce the dance numbers that underscored these causes, “Remember, death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. (Left, Jose Arturo Chacon, baritone, and Aviad Arik Herman, dancer, in "Not Even if I Try").
Solos, duets, group numbers, a lady with a lampshade on her head, gypsies, tramps and a drag queen, an intragenerational smorgasbord of talent! Headlining, of course, with the indomitable Carol Lawrence, who wowed and seduced the audience (and made some of them her chorus boys!) all evening. And then Chita Rivera. Period. And then Chita Rivera and the ladies of the 1975 production of CHICAGO, returning to The Cell Block Tango after 37 years! We can leave now! Well, not so fast! Rachelle Rak, (top ON..and bottoms, too), with I Gotcha (right), two rousing group numbers choreographed by Larry Fuller that opened (It’s Not Where You Start) and closed the show (Ode to a Dance Belt), JT Horenstein, who flew in eight of his dancers from LA for the evening (The Question), and SF choreographer Amy Seiwert of the Smuin Ballet who came in with a gorgeous solo for Charlie Neshbya-Hodges (Double Consciousness). The lovely and un-pidgeon-hole-able Claire Porter, lampshade on head, discussing light and other concerns of the universe (Lady Lamp), DO40 members Mary Lou Barber (Eight O’Clock Blues) and George Marcy (Broadway Baby) in solo turns each near and dear to their hearts. And more. Incredible duets by the Mark Stuart Dance Theater (Libertango) and Thomas/Ortiz Dance (Ablaze), as well as Sasha Spielvogel’s moving AIDS piece (Not Even if I Try), and JT Horenstein’s homage to tap duos of the past.
And the audience wasn’t bad, star-wise, either! Many of Broadway’s best attended, and stood many times during the show to show their support. Richard Skipper was there to tape interviews and post all over the blogisphere! The after part was… on stage after the Finale and Curtain Call. Dancers found their old friends, people made new connections, and Chita Rivera even signed the dance belts of the young gypsies in Ode to a Dance Belt! Something they will NEVER forget!
This was a huge endeavor for DO40. We would like to offer a group hug to all involved, and hope that more people will consider getting involved in ALL of our activities – panels, performances and socials – in the coming season. We can’t do it without you! And when in doubt about why you should lend a helping hand, volunteer your services to a non-profit or just donate to a great cause -- consider this quote from India’s most acclaimed philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore:
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
The Cast of "It’s Not Where You Start":
"The Question": Melissa Emrico, Ambrose Respicio, Julius Rubio, Anna Schnaitter,
"Diggin’ Me": Nadine Isenegger and JT Horenstein
STUDENTS, FANS AND FRIENDS TURN OUT on December 11th
Talk about a tough room! Host Lee Roy Reams called it a “horde of hoofers!”
CLICK HERE to view more 2011 DO40 Legacy Awards Photos.
Dancers of every generation arrived to honor their teachers – and their teachers’ teachers at DO40’s 3rd annual Holiday luncheon and awards event, held this year at the over-the-top LIPS Restaurant on the East Side.
Lee Roy Reams began by giving his 2010 Legacy Awards speech about Harvey Evans, since he was unable to honor Harvey when he got HIS award last year due to planes and the damn weather. Our board members told Lee Roy to keep it “classy,” and that lasted about 30 seconds, and it was uphill from there! (or the other way around, depending on how you look at it!).
The only honoree not present was first up -- Phil Black. Although in good spirits and doing well, Phil could not leave the Actors Home in New Jersey where he now resides. So DO40 went to NJ in November and taped a segment with his “kids” giving him the Legacy Award (with “drumsticks” in hand!), which DO40 presented first up at the luncheon.
Mary Menting (photo at left), Phil’s sister, accepted the award for Phil at the event, and told tales of the old dance studio on 50th Street – above the dance hall hostesses on the second floor! -- and some GREAT Phil stories. Lisa Mordente, a Phil student from her teen years also spoke about Phil, as did Daniele Brisebois, who flew in from LA for the event. Daniele was Phil’s youngest tap student, whom he made teach the ADVANCED class one day, when she was six – yes, six years old. Daniele went on to be the youngest dancing orphan in the original ANNIE, and to LA with Archie Bunker’s Place and many other TV appearances. She is now an award-winning songwriter, and was with the group The New Radicals in 2000 and wrote one of their hit songs. Daniele saw Phil from an entirely different perspective, being the youngest – and probably, one his smartest students!
The Love Fest continued alphabetically with Luigi (photo at right, with DO40 President, John Sefakis). Susan Stroman and Francis Roach spoke for Luigi, and in his acceptance speech, Luigi uttered the first expletive of the evening, which had host Lee Roy Reams and DO40 President John Sefakis follow suit! It was all about Facciuto, that’s all, just Facciuto!
Our only female teacher was next, and as if our program didn’t have enough information on her, student Steve Boockvor proceeded to give the history of Bella Malinka, year by year… and managed to be humorous at the same time (some might say…). 2010 Legacy Award Honoree Stuart Hodes then spoke of his professional relationship with Bella when both were teaching together.
DO40 President John Sefakis had to assist both Luigi and Bella (photo at left) with the microphone to make sure the audience heard every word. And with Bella, well, she almost got lost behind the podium! But she perservered, continued for about five minutes at which time Sefakis reminded her she hadn’t even LOOKED at the 20 hand-written index cards she brought to the podium with her!
Founding DO40 member Frank Pietri (photo below, right) had a loyal following at his tables. Actor/singer/producer Kurt Peterson (did we leave an adjective out?!?!?) extolled Frank’s virtue as a teacher. Frank’s life-long friend, director/choreographer Graciela Daniele then spoke of Frank’s largesse when they were young struggling dancers in the big city, and how Frank and his mother always looked after her.
Last, and proverbially certainly not least, it was West Coast DO40 member Joe Tremaine’s turn to be honored by two of his loving “leading ladies,” Lisa Mordente and Karen Prunzik. Not to be outdone -- by anyone, Joe took to the stage in a verbal tour-de-farce, honoring others, thanking some and taking the audience through this Louisiana boy’s journey to the big city and fame and fortune, in sort of a Shecky Greene, Don Rickles-inspired monologue.
DO40 also recognized tap teacher and long-time member Jerry Ames, who died last February. He was an extremely affable and cordially dapper man, who carved out a tap niche for himself in NYC, and also had a very loyal following.
The food was great, the room, extremely theatrical in both design and attendees. As with all DO40 events, friends found old friends, met new ones and potential DO40 members were spawned. Everyone was in and out in the allotted three hours (and, well, seven minutes!).
The impromptu finale included a rousing tap duet by that infamous comedy team of Reams and Evans. Or is it Evans and Reams? (YOU ask them!). Host Lee Roy Reams cajoled and prodded DO40 board member Harvey Evans to join him on stage for an old tap duet they learned in Cincinnati back “in the day.” They tapped, sang, and fortunately did NOT collapse when it was over!
The Legacy Awards will be available for viewing on DO40’s NEW MEMBER-ONLY page on thiswebsite. Right now, Phil Black’s appearance with his students in New Jersey is up, as are the videos from our October West Side Story event, hosted by Harvey Evans.
The Legacy video clips should be up in the next few weeks. Yet ANOTHER good reason (as if there weren’t a ton already!) to join DO40, wherever you are!
Click on a photo below to see the enlarged tribute
CLICK HERE to view more 2011 DO40 Legacy Awards Photos.
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