Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Gotta Dance. The book was by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin and the music was by Matthew Sklar with additional music by Marvin Hamlisch. The lyrics were by Nell Benjamin. It was based on the documentary Gotta Dance directed, written, and produced by Dori Berinstein. It was was directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. It was about this group of older people who audition for a hip hop dance team that will perform at halftime for the New Jersey Cougars basketball team. But of course, the rehearsals don’t go completely smoothly because not everybody gets along and they don’t understand hip hop at first, except for one person. It is about respecting the group that you are in, never being too old to start something, and dancing no matter what. It was super fun!
I liked the song called "Princess" because it was this bonding moment between the grandmother Bea (Lillias White) and her granddaughter Kendra (Joanna A. Jones). Kendra would have to drive her grandmother home every time after practice, but she didn't want to. It showed you that the bond between them was kind of lost, but the grandma was trying to restore it. Their relationship had been that she would spoil Kendra with dance lessons and everything she wanted. But more importantly, she made Kendra realize that there was always someone who loved her and she was more valuable than her boyfriend made her seem. They both had really amazing voices, so both of them singing it together made it a really amazing song.
I really liked the song "¿Como No?" that Camilla (Nancy Ticotin) sang when she danced with her boyfriend Fernando (Alexander Aguilar). I thought it was really catchy and the salsa dancing was amazing. Their feet were moving so fast and they were both so lively when they did this dance. The point of the song is that she is trying to say even if people say I am old and can't do anything, that's not true. And she's doing this amazing song and dance while she is saying it, so it kind of proves everybody wrong!
"The Prince of Swing" was so fun to watch. Ron (Andre De Shields) sang with Tara (Haven Burton) and Jenny (Jonalyn Saxer) about how, when he would go to parties when he was younger, he would introduce himself as the Prince of Swing. Tara is the coach and Jenny is part of the Cougarettes, the young hip hop team. He is trying to teach everybody to dance the way he used to dance and show them that that kind of dance is actual dancing. Also, his wife (Sydni Beaudoin) has passed away, but he has a vision of her and got to dance with her again. I thought that was super sweet. When he was dancing with his wife, the entire room froze for a second to show he was just in his own little world remembering his wife.
Mae (Lori Tan Chinn) was one of my favorite characters because she just had this very happy personality even though she was in the worst situation. Joanne (Stefanie Powers) wanted to kick her off the team because she messed up. But just because you don't do something perfectly doesn't mean you shouldn't get to do what you love. Also Mae's husband has Alzheimer's, which means he can't recognize her anymore, which I think is so so sad. I thought that giving her a sad song, "The Waters Rise," was a good idea because even funny characters can have something sad in their life. I feel like she should have had some kind of funny song too, just because I liked the character so much.
I wanted to know more about Muriel (Kay Walbye) because her story was so interesting but you didn't spend a lot of time on her. Tara’s story wasn’t as interesting to me because her problems didn't seem as big as the older dancers who were dealing with their families falling apart, divorces, illness, and everybody thinking they can't do anything. But I loved the "Swagger" song and I thought she was a great performer. I just wish they would find a little bit deeper plot for her.
People who would like this show are people who like fabulous dances, the Prince of Swing, and rapping kindergarten teachers. I think people should definitely go see this show. I thought it was super fun and I really enjoyed watching it.
Photos: Matthew Murphy