BWW Interview: Cynthia Onrubia Talks Staging JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY at TUTS
Jerome Robbins' Broadway is an epic musical anthology that honors the career highlights of Tony Award-winning director and choreographer, Jerome Robbins. Filled with mesmerizing production numbers from some of Robbins' biggest hits, including West Side Story, Gypsy, On the Town, Peter Pan, The King and I and Fiddler on the Roof, this monumental TUTS premiere is the crown jewel of the musical theatre company's 50th Anniversary Season. Jerome Robbins' Broadway runs May 28 through June 9 at theHobby Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets start at just $30, and are available online at TUTS.com, or by contacting the TUTS Box Office by phone at (713) 558-8887 or in person by visiting the Box Office located at 800 Bagby Street.
When recreating the Jerome Robbins' Broadway staging for the first time at The Muny, how did you go about the process? Was any research required, or did you still have all of it memorized?
All of the research was still in my head from 1987, and all of the direction and choreography was in my body. Muscle memory.
Were there any specific things from the original creation and rehearsal process that you impart on new casts of the show?
Jerry's work always comes from book. He was so specific about every moment. Tell the story.
As the guardian of this work how important is it to recreate the show as was originally intended? What types of considerations go into that process?
Jerry's work is iconic, so there's only one way to re-create his work. I was with him from the inception of Jerome Robbin's Broadway to when the show closed. About 4 1/2 years.
Jerome Robbins' Broadway requires an incredibly versatile and diverse cast to be able to perform different parts of all the shows he'd worked on. What types of considerations went into the casting process?
First you find incredibly talented people. Then the hard part is putting the puzzle together. I have their pictures on the table and start putting post-it's as to what they will do in each number.
What about Jerome Robbins' work and process do you think lead to so many of his works becoming timeless and so revered?
Jerry's work comes from emotion and soul. Plus you have incredible music that was created and written for each piece. Again, tell the story.
What's your favorite Jerome Robbins section of the show to recreate? To watch?
I would say THE KING AND I and the Mack Sennett BALLET.
What's the most challenging portion of the show to recreate?
The entire show. Almost every number is an eleven o'clock number!
Were there any special moments in recreating this version of the show for TUTS or for the first time at The Muny.
The special moments are working with this new generation of dancers, and teaching his work correctly.
Why should audiences come see Jerome Robbins' Broadway at TUTS?
This show is so fulfilling. It touches all of your emotions, plus it is beautiful to watch and the music is so rich and wonderful.
Are there any plans for further stagings of Jerome Robbins' Broadway following this production? Could a Broadway revival be a possibility at some point?
Jerome Robbins Broadway, is be directed by Cynthia Onrubia with production supervision by Chris Bailey. Music supervision by Michael Horsley, with music direction byStephen W. Jones and additional choreography by Harrison Beal. They are joined by Set DesignerRyan McGettigan, Costume Designer Colleen Grady, Lighting Designer Jason Lyons, Sound DesignerAndrew Harper, and Projection Designer Nathan W. Scheuer. Casting for Jerome Robbins' Broadway is provided by Associate Artistic Director, Megan Larche Dominick, CSA. Associate Director Matt Kunkel and Associate Choreographer Beth Crandell round out the team.
Leading off the amazing cast of 47 brilliant performers is Jeffrey Schecter. Joining him are Giselle O. Alvarez, Jordan Beall, Danielle Betscher, Anne Brummel, Julio Catano-Yee, Austin Colburn, Beth Crandall, Joshua de Alba, Gabriella Enriquez, Sean Ewing, Veronica Fiaoni, Joseph Fierberg, Carlos Garza, Kelsey Gibbs, Maura Gill, Tyler Hanes, Stephen Hanna, Tasha Heggem, Michael Hoey, Sara Marie Jenkins, Michael Karash, Maya Kazzaz, Logan Keslar, Akina Kitazawa, Kelly Lomonte, Ashlyn Maddox, Melissa Hunter McCann, Connor McRory, Courtney Ortiz, Jessie Peltier, Daniel Pahl, Tanner Pflueger, Amber Barbee Pickens, Sean Rozanski, Vinnie Smith, Cooper Stanton, Gabi Stapula, Alyssa Sunew, Christopher Tipps, Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva, Kristin Warren, Matt Wiercinski, Andrew Wilson, Minami Yusui, Blake Zelesnikar, and Teresa Zimmermann.