|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
Read more about Christopher Gattelli's Broadway career as a dancer (Cats, How to Succeed..) and choreographer (13, High Fidelity, Women on the Verge..., Godspell and his Tony-nominated work on South Pacific) in the Playbill Vault.
It's rare to see a large ensemble of male dancers together in a musical. They are an arresting sight in Newsies. I'm trying to think of when we last saw an ensemble like this. What's the show that sticks in your mind that was a male dance show in the past?
CG: The one that was inspiring to me was [the film] "Seven Brides [for Seven Brothers]," but I actually [danced in] the Jerry Zaks [tour of] Guys and Dolls [in 1992-93]. Chris Chadman choreographed that, and he was a huge inspiration to me in me choosing to do [choreography] as a profession. It was a group of, like, nine guys — Sergio [Trujillo] was in our group, Andy [Blankenbuehler] was in the group, this crazy-talented group of guys. I remember being surrounded by that amount of male talent and masculinity. And what [Chris] was able to bring out of us was incredibly inspiring to me. That is my last recollection of that kind of ensemble of men — technique, masculinity, the facility that we all had. To me, [Newsies] is that next group.
At the top of the rehearsal experience of Newsies, did you ask the guys, "What are your individual 'specialties'? What tricks can you do?" Everybody seems to have a featured moment.
|photo by Deen van Meer|
CG: It's story. It's absolutely story. Even when they back-flip, what that represents is their vitality and their energy and their youth. Pulitzer wouldn't do that. He's grounded. He barely gets out of his chair. So, that's the Old Generation. This is the New Generation — it's them flying and soaring. So every step, even though it may look a little fireworky, is very thought out. Everyone gets their moment to shine, and I'm really proud of them for letting me do that with them.
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