Short and Sweet Host Diana Martinez reviews Gotta Dance by Broadway in Chicago
The world premiere of Gotta Dance just opened at the Bank of America Theatre right here in Chicago this week and it was welcomed with open arms. The show is directed by Jerry Mitchell who brought you the Broadway hits Kinky Boots and On Your Feet! and he knows how to entertain a crowd.
Gotta Dance is based on the true story of the New Jersey Nets basketball team who garnered publicity by creating the first-ever hip-hop halftime dance team that was comprised of dancers who were 60 years of age and older. It's sort of like A Chorus Line but filled with an all-star cast of veteran TV and stage stars that you have seen through the years.
The book by Chad Beguelin, who wrote Aladdin, and Bob Martin, who wrote The Drowsy Chaperone is fresh, funny and poignant. This writing team does a great job of layering in humor and touching moments. It's much more then the cliché challenges of seniors trying to physically meet the demands of hip hop dance. The show goes farther by revealing the real issues of a hard working generation of seniors who are now trying to connect to their grandchildren, who are part of the self-centered generation of Millennials.
One of the most touching moments was the song "The Waters Rise" where a sweet and happy Mae (Lori Tan Chinn) sings about her husband slipping away due to Alzheimer's. Georgia Engel, who you remember as Georgette from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', brings the comedy in her character. She plays a meek and proper grade school teacher who secretly loves rap and hip hop.
These are real seniors with something to offer and they are represented with respect and humor. They have the ability to laugh at themselves and it makes the audience root for them and cheer them on.
This pre-Broadway premiere of Gotta Dance is in Chicago through January 17, 2016 at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago. See this all star cast right here BEFORE it opens on Broadway. The show runs about 2 hours and 15 minutes with an intermission and is suitable for all ages. I brought a group of theater lovers from the McAninch Arts center to the show and everyone LOVED it! Broadway in Chicago does a fantastic job with groups and I highly recommend the suite service it's worth every penny. So go see Gotta Dance! It's clever, funny, entertaining and leaves you smiling.
On behalf of the Daily Herald, and Broadway in Chicago, I'm Diana Martinez and I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!