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Published: Friday, 11/7/2003

Choreography is star of show

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
 Popularity,  a number from the musical George M, is performed in Broadway Dancin ! Popularity, a number from the musical George M, is performed in Broadway Dancin !
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“Choreography in musical theater is unique and absolutely deserves a place of its own,” says Whitney Trilling, producer/director of Broadway Dancin !, which comes to Monroe s River Raisin Centre for the Arts tonight.

The show, which is designed to please fans of theater, dance, and music, is a new version of the old American Dance Machine, she said, adding that many of the same people are involved.

Lee Theodore started American Dance Machine in the 1970s to preserve famous choreography from Broadway musicals, Trilling said in a telephone interview from New York.

“Back before shows were taped or recorded in any way, the dances died when a show closed, and you d never see them again,” she said.

Theodore was determined to save the dance routines, and she hired the original choreographers and dancers to reconstruct them and put them on stage for audiences to continue to enjoy. Her shows included works from Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Agnes DeMille, and Tommy Tune.

Broadway Dancin ! does the same thing,” Trilling says, adding that the only reason the show isn t called American Dance Machine is because when Theodore died, no one could figure out who owned the rights to the name. Trilling worked for American Dance Machine as a general manager.

Legal niceties aside, tonight s two-hour performance will feature a New York-based troupe of 12 to 14 dancers and singers performing the big numbers from such shows as Walking Happy, Chicago, Grease, A Chorus Line, 42nd Street, and Pippin. Also included will be original dances from up-and-coming choreographers. Some of the numbers will be performed by one or two dancers, some by the entire troupe.

Even though today s shows are recorded and archived, and there s little danger of the choreography being lost, “Broadway is thrilling, and the numbers from the shows deserve to be seen,” Trilling says. “Our aim is to create an evening where some wonderful numbers can be revisited and enjoyed again, and audiences can meet some new numbers.”

“Broadway Dancin !” opens at 8 tonight in the River Raisin Centre for the Arts, 114 South Monroe St., Monroe. Tickets range from $13 to $26. Information: 734-242-7722.



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