The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts presents Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life for 19 performances only from May 9 – 24, 2014 in the Bram Goldsmith Theater. Maurice Hines, a Tony Award nominee, is a celebrated dancer, choreographer, director, and singer, whose impressive career spans over 40 years. Directed by Tony Award nominee Jeff Calhoun (Broadway’s Newsies and Grey Gardens), Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life features D.C.’s dynamic tap-dancing duo, the Manzari Brothers, 10-year old tapping phenomenon Luke Spring, as well as the all-female, nine-piece big band, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra.
Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life is a co-production with the
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Arena Stage, Alliance
Theatre and Cleveland Play House.
Hines, who started performing
at five years old, brings the history of American tap to life and pays
tribute to his brother Gregory and the singers who inspired him, from
Frank Sinatra to Lena Horne. In a nod to the future of tap, Hines
showcases the talents of the D.C. tap dancing duo, John and Leo Manzari,
now 21 and 18 respectively, who reunite with their mentor Hines after
their whirlwind run performing alongside him in Arena Stage’s production
of Sophisticated Ladies, which earned each brother a Helen Hayes Award
nomination. Rounding out the cast of performers is 10-year-old tapping
phenomenon Luke Spring who wowed TV audiences on the “Ellen” show at 7
years old and also was featured in the new Broadway production of A
Christmas Story. This young talent embodies the next generation of
tapping talent along with his Manzari Brother co-stars.
Hines is backed by nine members of the internationally renowned
DIVA Jazz Orchestra, an all-female powerhouse ensemble. Voted one of
the best big bands in the world by DownBeat magazine, DIVA is led by
music director, drummer and longtime Hines collaborator Sherrie Maricle
and features Janelle Gill (piano) Jennifer Krupa (trombone) Leigh Pilzer
(baritone sax), Amy Shook (acoustic bass) and Leisl Whitaker (lead
trumpet), along with Sharel Cassity (lead alto sax) Jami Dauber
(trumpet) and Camille Thurman (tenor sax).
Director, Jeff Calhoun says, “Having begun my career at the age of
16, tap dancing with Ann Miller, you can imagine what an honor it is to
be working with Maurice Hines. Maurice is not only one of the finest
song and dance men of our time, but his firsthand experiences with
American racism of the 50s and his hobnobbing with the likes of Pearl
Bailey, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Marlene Dietrich, Sammy Davis Jr.
and Frank Sinatra (just to name a few) make him a treasure raconteur.
He is that rare breed whose tongue is as facile as his tapping feet.
Maurice is a first-rate life-enhancing entertainer.”
Maurice Hines adds, “This show started with my wanting to celebrate
my brother, Gregory. I read an article on tap dance a few years ago and
his name wasn’t mentioned – so wrong! But now I get the change t honor
properly what a fabulous tap dancer he was. This show also gives me the
opportunity to thank the fantastically effortless performers who
influenced me, from Judy Garland to Lena Horne to Nat King Cole.”
Hines dedicates this show to his mother, Alma, who he speaks of as
“a truly remarkable lady who supported and nurtured our love of
performing. Whenever I am on stage, I always follow the advice she told
Greg and I, ‘No matter what you do on stage and in life, always do it