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DO40 Teachers We Love Event - 2014

(Trying to do that “Selfie” thing like the Academy Awards, but after almost 4 hours, this is all we could muster! Bella Malinka, Alan Onickel, Nicole Barth, Marilyn D’honau, Bob Boross, DO40 Prez John Sefakis taking the pic, Mary Cadorette-Harris, Jose de la Cuesta, Karin Baker, Carolyn Kirsch, Jessica Black, Francis Roach, Amy Burgmaier, Carter Poust, Chuck Kelley, Lester Holmes and DO40 board member Kathy Seng Gurland)

They said it couldn’t be done!  They said nobody could do it!  We tried, and despite a few bumps in the road, succeeded in getting most of the great teachers of our generation(s) together for the first time!

DO40 honored Gemze de Lappe, Bella Malinka, Marilyn D’honau, Bob Audy, Phil Black, Matt Mattox, Chuck Kelley and Luigi.  Unfortunately, Gemze landed in the hospital the week before the show, and could not appear.  She sent her love to all, and we all signed a get well card in the lobby for her.  Phil Black, of course, is at the Actors Home in New Jersey, and a few panelists had to be changed last minute as well.  But aside from these surmountable obstacles, we got it done!  Videos!  Singing!  Dancing! Acrobatics!  All Live! 

DO40 founding member Eileen Casey opened the show with a rare 1997 video from a DO40 concert featuring Marilyn D’honau, Michon Peacock, Gary Gendell and Bill Thompson – and choreographed by Tony Stevens.  Eileen noted that our 2014 – 2015 DO40 season marks our 20th anniversary as an organization.  And they said it couldn’t be done!  They said nobody could do it!

DO40 Teachers We Love Event - 2014

(Notice their feet do not touch the ground!!!  Gene Castle, Patti Mariano, Karin Baker and Tim Falter,
in “All Aboard for Broadway” from GEORGE M!)

DO40 member Karin Baker got together her George M! gang to restage a portion of All Aboard for Broadway (Joe Layton brought Bob Audy in as a consultant and to coach Joel Grey). The number featured Karin Baker, Patti Mariano and Gene Castle from the original company, and newcomer (“the kid” learning the role) Tim Falter.  Tappers extraordinaire Lynn Schwab and Tony Waag did a tap rap of Holi Coles’, Amy Burgmaier sang “Satin Doll” to her teacher, Luigi, as Francis J. Roach danced, and DO40 Legacy Award honoree Billie Mahoney sent video greetings from Kansas City, and intercut her talk with clips from her “Dance On” local television series from the early 80s that featured Luigi.  The evening ended with a DO40 video clip from the 2010 DO40 CARES concert, a dance choreographed by Luigi and danced by Erika Black.  The dance faded midway through and out came Jessica Black, Erika’s twin sister, to continue to dance the music to the end, and present Luigi with flowers.

The panels were insightful, as were the videos.  Phil Black Student Paige Dana Polisner noted in her video clip (taped at the Phil Black Students’ Reunion in March, 2014) something that could be applied to many of the teachers honored:

“He alone had the ability to get us where we wanted to go.  We knew it was because he cared so deeply he was harsh, and in truth, he believed in us way more than we did, and he settled for no less than what he knew, even when we didn’t, what we could do.  So he prepared us equally for both the best and the worst of what the business had to offer….. but his students endured even when they couldn’t, even when their dreams and hearts and bodies were broken… and this way Phil readied us not just for Broadway but for life. He made us resilient, strong and flexible of mind as well as in body.  In short, he made us “something else,” something bigger and better than the person we were when we walked in his door – and for that, we are eternally grateful.”

DO40 Teachers We Love Event - 2014

Bob Audy, Luigi, Chuck Kelley

Photo By Jeff Eason, Wilsonmodels, Inc