Richard Hanson returns to the Arizona Senior Academy’ Great Room at 2:30 p.m. Thursday (April 2) to celebrate American Musical Theater and the dance steps that have come to define it. From Kick Lines to Tap Extravaganzas, dance has been an integral part of this unique form of entertainment which reflects an energy and vitality that are uniquely American.
From the very beginning, Broadway musicals drew on social, ballet and court dances and then infused them with indigenous jazz and blues elements to create a unique form of dance now called Broadway Show Dance.
The program toasts the Broadway choreographers who elevated dance in the American Musical from “bring on the girls” entertainment to art. Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Michael Kidd, Gower Champion and Susan Stroman created masterpieces that expanded the vocabulary of show dance and transformed Musical Comedy into Musical Theatre.
Hanson will take us backstage to explore the creative process of the Broadway choreographer. Revel in Oklahoma’s glorious Dream Ballet, The Dance At The Gym from West Side Story, The Crapshooters Ballet from Guys and Dolls, Shall We Dance from The King and I, The Lullaby of Broadway from 42nd Street and Broadway’s latest smash hip hop phenomenon, Hamilton.
Hanson is a professor emeritus of the University of Arizona’s School of Theatre, Film & Television. He created the school’s nationally known Musical Theatre Division. During his career, he directed and choreographed more than 50 UA productions including: “Grease,” “South Pacific,” “Gypsy,” “Cabaret,” and “Urinetown.”
He is a four-time recipient of the Humanities Seminars Program’s Superior Teaching Award. He delighted ASA audiences last year with a program on the Wit and Wisdom of Cole Porter. This time he promises an all talking, all singing, all dancing salute to hoofing on Broadway
Written by Sharon Stetz, Academy Village Volunteer