THE CHOREOGRAPHY LAB / 11.6.17
4 MUSICALS / CONCEIVED BY 4 CHOREOGRAPHERS
4 choreographers create, develop, and present a number from a new musical they conceive through dance.
Marc Acito (Allegiance, Bastard Jones, Chasing Rainbows)
Christopher Noffke (Lab Consultant)
Performers / Dancers:
Elli Stovall Brown
Lydia Ruth Dawson
Juan-Pablo Alba Dennis
Tania Palomeque Guirao
Chloe Mollis McBride
11.6.17 | 2PM @ The Cell | 338 W 23rd St., NYC
Tickets: $10 in advance / $15 at the door
Romeo and Juliet (a contemporary musical adaptation) | Christian Denzel Bufford
I’d like to explore a millennial take on the classic. There have been many iterations of this story; Romeo + Juliet, the Jeff Buckley musical, The Last Goodbye… but in my opinion none that accurately capture the spirit of this fateful love in an urgent and cohesive fashion. Unlike The Last Goodbye, this production would feature an original score. I would also like to experiment with using contemporary language that mirror’s todays youth while using Shakespeare’s text as a device to highlight the generational qualities of the play. In essence, the youth would speak in millennial speech while all adults speak in Shakespeare’s verse. It is, in my opinion a generational play, however I want to explore a world where the youth are bluntly aware of the intricacies of life and therefore have agency over the decision they make rather than leave the entire play to happenstance and fate. The song we will be performing is called “Dust”, written by Matthew Rodin. Within the song we ask the big questions of “What is love?” and “How does it end?”… I’d like to juxtapose these questions by staging the scene where Romeo and Juliet first meet at the masquerade ball. In that moment we see the teens flooded with desire, curiosity and maneuver through the residing tensions of their conflicted hearts.
Before It Hits Home (inspired by the 1991 play by Cheryl West) | Sonia Dawkins
When Wendal Bailey, a black jazz musician, is diagnosed with AIDS, the duality of his existence and the two worlds he has been straddling reach an impasse. There’s the world of music which he shares mostly with his male married lover and the world inhabited by his naive pregnant fiancé. Wendal suddenly finds his ability to compartmentalize his two worlds almost impossible. He indignantly denies his diagnosis at first, but as he becomes more ill, he finds himself abandoned by his music and his lovers. After a lonely, arduous hospital stay, Wendal returns home to Chicago to face his conservative Christian parents, particularly his beloved mother Reba, who he believes love him enough to forgive him of anything. Wendal confesses to Reba, exposing his deepest pains and insecurities, and she, in a wrathful explosion of raw emotion, indicts Wendal for immorality and takes with her his teenage son from a previous marriage. Wendal's father, however, overcomes his facade of masculine pride and takes up caring for Wendal in his final days, eventually enacting a tentative reconciliation between the family members only in time for Wendal to die.
Dear Rosie (inspired by Rosie the Riveter) | Jennifer Delac
Spring, 1942. After Rosa bids a tearful farewell to her military training-bound boyfriend, she starts work at a factory assembly line. Women everywhere are joining the workforce, with men off at war, and it is here she meets Rosalind, Rose and Geraldine while working behind the conveyor belt. Rosa’s first day on the job is no walk in park but she perseveres and with the support of the women around her, quickly becomes one of the fastest riveters on the line. Over time, the women bond over the collective hardships they face: the low pay, the high demand, and the knowledge that their work could be what keeps the soldiers--their husbands, their sons, their brothers--alive. Over the course of the piece, we learn about the lives of each of the women before, during and after the war. Rosa, the daughter of immigrants, finds happiness and success by setting a national assembly line production record. She drills nine hundred holes and drives thirty-three hundred rivets during one six-hour overnight shift in 1943, prompting President Roosevelt to personally write her a commendation letter. While Rosalind is from a wealthy family, she insists on continued work in the factory vowing to support the war effort and pay tribute to her Corporal Marine brother who was killed at sea. Geraldine , a middle-class mother and housewife, becomes the cheerleader of the group and the assembly line, frequently encouraging the girls to remember that, “We can do it!” And Rose, a single mother who has spent years struggling to keep her children out of poverty, pushes herself to learn about aviation and, after the war, finally earns her pilot’s license as the only woman in her local aeronautics club. Dear Rosie explores the true stories of the bandana-clad heroes that helped win the war and toys with the the possibility of discovering which of these woman was the inspiration for the Rosie The Riveter icon that we have come to know and love.
Sheree’s Story | Briana Fallon
Sheree Burda, a 3 year old girl, becomes a foster child when her mother is incapable of taking care of her. After five different homes in less than a year, she is adopted into a loving family. However, past experiences that happened under her mother's roof stay with her as she becomes a teenager. School is difficult, friends don't come easy. Sheree is bullied beyond belief her entire educational life. Things get so bad she is forced to take a leave from school, and join a depression group for her mental health. The program is very informative for her. There's a bunch of kids just like her, and they start to befriend her. A girl from her group, Megan, reaches out to her every night to see how she's feeling. When Sheree returns to school, she is bullied equally as much, but has a better understanding of how to deal with it after going through this depression group. Sheree seems to be doing much better until Megan has an episode and takes her own life. Sheree is heartbroken to see how this affects her family, and those who loved her. She's sickened that peers could have this affect on Megan. In honor of Megan, Sheree starts a Suicide Awareness group at school, and the program builds each week with new members. Sheree is happy to see she can help others with something she's been struggling with as well.