Savion Glover Directs THE TAP DANCE KID
Famed Newark-born tap artist and dancemaker Savion Glover ("Shuffle Along," "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk") returns to the musical hit that introduced audiences to his ascendant talents when he directs and choreographs "The Tap Dance Kid" at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.The performances, which feature a cast of promising young actors and dancers from throughout New Jersey and New York, take place on Sept. 13 and 14 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. in NJPAC's Victoria Theater. This special revival of "The Tap Dance Kid" is part of the M&T Bank Dance Series at NJPAC. Based on the novel "Nobody's Family Is Going to Change" by Louise Fitzhugh, the musical's book is by Charles Blackwell, with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics by Robert Lorick. Glover's choreography is inspired by the show's original Tony-winning choreography by Danny Daniels. Ten-year-old Savion Glover became a Broadway sensation when he stepped into the title role of Willie in "The Tap Dance Kid" in 1984. His storied career has since included roles in major motion pictures, countless stage appearances, and a collection of awards for his advancement of the tap legacy. A four-time Tony Award nominee, Glover won a Tony in 1996 for his choreography in "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk." The Arts Center's Dance Advisor and a member of NJPAC's Board of Directors, Glover is also a master teaching artist who has conducted summer intensives in musical theater since 2016 at NJPAC's Center for Arts Education. Among the original works he developed there were "BRiNG TiME BaCK @NJPAC" - a fantasia set in a jazz club - and "A John Coltrane Story 'or Something Along Those Lines," a dramatic rendering of the legendary jazz saxophonist's troubled life. An advocate for the importance of mentoring and passing knowledge forward to the next generation, Glover says this year's residency is especially meaningful since he will coach the cast by drawing on his first-hand, deeply personal experience with "The Tap Dance Kid." "It's a show to people, but to me it's a statement of my life," explains Glover, who will adapt the musical to resonate with today's audiences in Newark. "Once we get in the room, it's all about the work: what kind of magic or celebration we can create." "I saw Savion Glover as 'The Tap Dance Kid' on Broadway. He was 11 and I was electrified by his talent," says NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber. "For Savion, now a mature and world-renowned artist, to be serving as the Arts Center's Dance Advisor and Board member, and sharing his expertise with a young cast, is a dream come true for us. To be present at the creation of a new 'Tap Dance Kid' with Savion as director and choreographer is beyond fantastic. I can't wait to see the magic unfold on stage." "The Tap Dance Kid" opened on Broadway in 1983 and was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning two. The musical tells the story of Willie, a boy who dreams of becoming a star hoofer like his beloved uncle. Willie's determination to succeed is nearly ruined by his father, who regards dance as a frivolous pursuit. Auditions for NJPAC's revival of "The Tap Dance Kid" were held over four days last May. Of the 60 hopefuls who participated, 30 performers - ranging in age from 11 to 23 - were chosen for the cast. A nine-week, Monday-through-Friday rehearsal period followed. Performances of "The Tap Dance Kid" are Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14, both at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Victoria Theater at NJPAC. Tickets are $29-$36 at the NJPAC Box Office, One Center St., Newark, online at njpac.org, or by calling 1-888-GO-NJPAC (466-5722).