Tom Waits has his Rain Dogs, Drake's has its Devil Dogs, and now Australia is giving the world Tap Dogs, a new dance musical revue. Having completed a North American tour, the show opened March 16 at New York's Union Square Theatre.
Created and choreographed by Dein Perry, Tap Dogs is described as "a 90-minute, rough, tough and rocking reinvention of tap for the 90's."
The New York engagement could result in a high-profile tap-off with Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, the 1996 tap/rap/soul revue that won a Best Choreography Tony for tapmaster Savion Glover.
Perry trained to be an industrial machinist in the steel town of Newcastle but got his big break when he was cast in the long-running Sydney production of 42nd Street. With friends he later formed the group "Tap Brothers" and went on to choreograph Hot Shoe Shuffle on London's West End, for which he received a 1985 Olivier Award.
Perry then teamed up with designer/choreographer Nigel Triffitt to create Tap Dogs, which played at the Sydney Theatre Festival, the Edinburgh Festival and the West End, leading to a second Olivier for Perry in 1996. The TAP DOGS are: creator/choreographer Dein Perry, Darren Disney, Christopher Horsey, Drew Kaluski, Ben Read, Nathan Sheens, along with Billy Burke, Jeremy Kiesman and Gil Stroming. Directed and designed by Nigel Triffitt, Dogs offers lighting by David Murray, sound by Darryl Lewis, and a score (performed live) by Andrew Wilkie.
In other Tap Dogs news, on Feb. 11 producer Marc Routh received the Robert Whitehead Award for "Outstanding Achievement In Commercial Producing." (See Playbill On-Line's story, "Tap Dogs' Marc Routh Wins Whitehead Producing Award" for more information.)
-- By David Lefkowitz