Tag Archive: broadway


Iconic choreographer Twyla Tharp joined artistic hands with the timeless music of Frank Sinatra and created “Come Fly Away,” a show that debuted on Broadway in March 2010. The show came to Las Vegas under the name “Sinatra: Dance With Me” in December 2010 and ran through mid-April of this year.

The show was a fantastic melding of Sinatra’s and Tharp’s celebrated works and was delightfully different from many other shows seen on the Strip. Untouchable dancing and world-class musicians graced the stage of the Encore Theater for a scant five months, far too brief a tenure to do the show justice.

Elsewhere, though, the “Come Fly Away/Dance with Me” experience continues. A national tour began in April and tickets for the Broadway show are available here. And Tharp, the innovative brain behind shows like “Movin’ Out,” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” continues to contribute to the dance world.

For a great story on Tharp’s career, present projects and forthcoming endeavors, head over here for an entry from the National Post. Robin Leach mourned the loss of “Sinatra: Dance with Me” in his story here, which originally ran in the Las Vegas Sun.

The infamous show about Peter Parker and his spidey alter-ego has set records with its $70 million budget and months of preview performances. Now, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” is open for the public’s viewing pleasure and critics’ reviews are predictably knotted. If you want to avoid being snared by the wily web of opinions, check out an article from ArtsBeat, the New York Times’ arts blog, here. In addition to a recap of the opening night shenanigans, there’s an aggregation of critics reviews available here.

Keep an eye out for goblins in green. Happy reading!

As anyone at the Onyx Theatre will tell you, experimentation is always good.

So is collaboration. Marko Westwood, in conjunction with RagTag Entertainment, brought both to the stage on Jan. 7 and 8 with “A Little Song and Dance.”  Ten choreographers joined forces with vocalists and musicians and put on the Broadway-themed concert as a benefit for education, with proceeds donated to the Miley Achievement Center in Las Vegas.

As a show, “A Little Song and Dance” was very different from the usual Onyx fair. Christopher Peterson’s renditions of Marilyn Monroe’s “I Want to be Loved By You” and Carol Channing’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”  were about as adult as it got. (Peterson, who is behind the “Eyecons” show, changed the “diamonds” to “condoms” in the latter song, with suggestive hand gestures and altered choruses and verses to match.)

The rest of the concert was a combination of musical theater, character dance and vocals. While some of the choreography was unremarkable and a few of the transitions were rocky, the sincerity of those involved glimmered through. The vocalists especially were excellent; Ava Galore was the quintessence of the exasperated woman in “Wherever He Ain’t,” from “Mack and Mabel” and Leah Kreitz and Michael Close were fabulous as both singers and characters in “Sssssss,” which opened the show.

Collaboration between vocalists and dancers was another strong element of the performance and an intriguing aspect that could be explored more in subsequent concerts. “Brothers,” featuring dancers Jaime Velilla and Westwood himself, was performed to RagTag Entertainment’s vocals of “Will I?” from “RENT” and was as magnetic as the opener. Having the vocalists in the house while two dancers twined around each other onstage was immersing and a choreographic feat by Westwood.

“Sssssssss” was an a cappella and dynamic version of “Steam Heat” and embodied the best that the show had to offer: ingenuity, audience-friendly characters and big, belting voices. A construction worker played percussion in the background while Kreitz and Close sang from a bus stop downstage. Unexpected comedy was lent by the musical accompaniment, utilizing the likes of a balloon and a bottle of pills. Two claps at the end triggered a Clapper and laughs from the audience. Dancers Jose Favela, Jesus Nanci and Erin Sullivan showed off some stomp-style skills and tipped a fedora to Bob Fosse.

Two other numbers were Fosse-themed. “Hey There Big Fella,” to a remix of “Big Spender” was a predictable but bodacious number choreographed by Westwood that featured the usual bar downstage and sexy attitudes from the dancers. “All That Jazz,” choreographed by Serena Bartholomew, was quick and rife with smiles from the dancers, which helped mitigate sections that weren’t as clean as they could have been.

Character numbers were seen in Petrina Olson’s “Target Practice,” to a track from “Annie Get Your Gun,” and Tiffany Caudullo’s “The Harsh Truth,” to “Turn Back, Ol’ Man” from “Godspell.” Olson’s choreography, complete with fake rifles, was simultaneously tom-boy and girly, a trick that was potentially hard to pull off but well-executed. Caudullo’s choreography, featuring Westwood as Jesus, was tastefully understated. Her vocals were well-projected and the technique of accompanying dancers Anna Fazio and Adrianna Rosales was apparent.

Fazio also performed to “Look at Me Now” from “The Wild Party,” demonstrating some of the stronger technique in the show with extroverted, infectious energy. Onishia Murillo choreographed a delightful and surprisingly fresh number to “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” with herself, Bartholomew, Kreitz and Marissa Mendoza as the personality-filled orphans. “Hear Me,” to “Listen” from “Dreamgirls,” another number by Olson and danced with Nanci, was standard, perhaps overdone contemporary, but it made good use of the space and the dancers exhibited emotion well.

Two violin numbers rounded out the show. Caudullo, dressed appropriately in two different glittering gowns, performed “Show Me” from “My Fair Lady” and “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera.” Both provided visual reprieves and underscored the many hats worn by these performers.

If “A Little Song and Dance” had been a boat, a few sailors would probably have been bailing water. However, professionalism wasn’t necessarily the point here; Westwood is onto something and it isn’t girls in underwear. He’s found an under-represented genre, incredible potential in partnerships between groups and and a less visible age range to cater to, and he would do well to keep experimenting.

Two shows at the Onyx Theatre are starting 2011 with a bang. A Broadway-themed “Karnival,” replete with singers and dancers, will be performed on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. “Karnival” is one of Vegas’ most established monthly shows and can be seen at the Onyx on the first Wednesday of each month. These performers pride themselves on spine-tingling oddities as well as the entertainment value of their shows and each performance features a different spread of sensory acts. For more “Karnival” coverage, view a post on their Halloween show here.

“Karnival” will be performed on Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

“A Little Song and Dance” will follow closely on the heels of Karnival. Tia Taymar from the Miley Achievement Center and Marko Westwood, the artistic director of the Las Vegas Repertory Dance Theater, are teaming up to present a concert on Jan. 7 and 8 to benefit education.

Ten choreographers have donated their work to the show, which will showcase choreography by Tiffany Caudullo, Serena Bartholomew, Petrina Olson, Onishia Murillo, Anna Michele Fazio and Westwood himself. Many of the dance pieces will be accompanied by live vocals and music and several guest artists are part of the program as well, including Ava Galore, cast members from Rag Tag Entertainment’s upcoming production of “RENT” and Arles Estate.

“A Little Song and Dance” will be performed on Jan. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and proceeds will be donated to the Miley Achievement center. Visit the Onyx Theater website or call (702) 732-7225 for more details.

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