Two Brother Duos Set for Arena Stage's MAURICE HINES IS TAPPIN' THRU LIFE; Full Cast Announced!
Lifelong performer and Tony Award nominee Maurice Hines (Broadway's Sophisticated Ladies and Eubie!) captivates audiences with stories, songs and smooth choreography for his return to Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater with Maurice Hines is Tappin' Thru Life. Under the direction of Tony Award nominee Jeff Calhoun (Broadway's Newsies and Grey Gardens), Hines, who started performing at five years old, brings the history of American tap to life and pays tribute to his brother Gregory and the singers who inspired him, from Frank Sinatra to Lena Horne. A co-production with ALLIANCE THEATRE at the Woodruff and Cleveland Play House, Maurice Hines is Tappin' Thru Life runs November 15-December 29, 2013 in the Kreeger Theater.
In a nod to the future of tap, Hines showcases the talents of two local sets of tap-dancing brothers: D.C. favorites John and Leo Manzari and newcomers and 13-year-old twins Max and Sam Heimowitz, who burst onto the scene after being plucked by Hines to make their professional debuts from recent open call dance auditions held at the Mead Center. The Heimowitz Brothers, seventh-graders at Alice Deal Middle School and members of Capitol Tap, embody the next generation of tapping talent together with John and Leo, now 21 and 18, respectively, who reunite with their mentor Hines after their whirlwind run performing alongside him in Arena Stage's record-breaking Sophisticated Ladies, which earned them each a Helen Hayes Award nomination.
"We couldn't be more enthusiastic to welcome Maurice back to Arena Stage, as he is an important member of our tribe," shares Artistic Director Molly Smith. "He dazzled us with his charm, charisma and flair in Sophisticated Ladies, and we expect nothing less this time around as he gives us an intimate look at his childhood growing up with his brother Gregory and their sizzling career in show business."
Hines will be backed by nine members of the internationally renowned DIVA Jazz Orchestra, an all-female powerhouse ensemble. Voted one of the best big bands in the world by DownBeat Magazine, DIVA is led by music director, drummer and longtime Hines collaborator Sherrie Maricle and features D.C.-area natives Janelle Gill (piano), Jennifer Krupa (trombone), Leigh Pilzer (baritone sax), Amy Shook (acoustic bass) and Liesl Whitaker (lead trumpet), along with Sharel Cassity (lead alto sax), Jami Dauber (trumpet) and Camille Thurman (tenor sax).
"Having begun my career at the age of 16 tap dancing with Ann Miller, you can imagine what an honor it is to be working with Maurice Hines," says Calhoun. "Maurice is not only one of the finest song and dance men of our time, but his firsthand experiences with American racism of the 50s and his hobnobbing with the likes of Pearl Bailey, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Marlene Dietrich, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra (just to name a few) make him a treasured raconteur for any stage. He is that rare breed whose tongue is as facile as his tapping feet. Maurice is a first-rate life-enhancing entertainer!"
"This show started with my wanting to celebrate my brother Gregory. I read an article on tap a few years ago and his name wasn't mentioned- so wrong! But now I get the chance to honor properly what a fabulous tap dancer he was," adds Hines. "This show also gives me the opportunity to thank the fantastically effortless performers who influenced me, from Judy Garland to Lena Horne to Nat King Cole."