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BWW Preview: CAREFREE: DANCIN' WITH FRED & GINGER at New Jersey Performing Arts Center

The feisty and captivating pair of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers still lives on ­- generations after they first danced into the hearts of millions. This Tinseltown twosome continues to inspire legions of movie and dancing buffs due in part to the numerous films in which the virtuoso duo starred. However, fans can enjoy this iconic dancing pair's legacy live thanks to the world premiere of Carefree: Dancin' with Fred & Ginger - a musical tribute co-produced by New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and RKO Stage.

Dance aficionados can be present to witness this brand-new tribute to Astaire and Rogers, which will feature choreography by Tony Award-winner Warren Carlyle and star Broadway's Jared Grimes and Hayley Podschun - with a special appearance by legendary Tony Award-winner for A Chorus Line, Donna McKechnie.

Aside from the fancy foot work that will take center stage during Carefree: Dancin' with Fred & Ginger, audiences will indulge in a live band that will perform American Songbook classics by a number of renown composers including Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and the Gershwins. Audiences can revel in classic songs including "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Cheek to Cheek."

Through their collaboration, Carlyle and book writer Peter Duchan (off-Broadway's Dogfight), combined more than two dozen numbers from RKO's catalog to create a mixture of live music, state-of-the-art digital projections and awe-inspiring dance routines.

"The sheer beauty that Fred and Ginger brought to the screen was an antidote for the anguish endured by America during the 1930s," says NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber. "But when it comes to lifting spirits, their healing powers are still just as effective."

RKO Stage CEO and Lead Creative Producer TEd Hartley adds that the production "will delight audiences of all ages."

New Jersey Performing Arts Center will open up the tryout tour for Carefree: Dancin' with Fred & Ginger on Nov. 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. The show will then make a stop at Princeton's McCarter Theater Center on Nov. 6 and, subsequently, travel to Wilkes-Barre, Penn.; New London, Conn.; and Pooghkeepsie, NY. A national tour is planned to start next year.

The production counts with the talent and expertise of artists who have graced grand stages and a crew who has worked in fantastic and recognized theatrical masterpieces.

Aside from Grimes, who received the 2014 Fred and Adele Astaire Award for Best Male Dancer in Broadway's After Midnight, and Podschun, who starred in Something Rotten!, Hairspray and Chaplin, the cast also includes David Elder (Titanic, 42nd Street and Kiss Me, Kate) as well as Drew King (On the Twentieth Century) and Tessa Grady (Dames at Sea, Cinderella).

The design team includes Alexander V. Nichols (scenic/lighting/projection design), Matt Kraus (sound design) and Amy Clark (costume design).

Tickets for the NJPAC performances on Nov. 4 and 5 can be purchased online at www.njpac.org or by calling 1-888-GO-NJPAC.

Photo Courtesy: New Jersey Performing Arts Center

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