First off, let me give another rousing shout out to "The Other Josh Cohen", currently running at the SoHo Playhouse. What a great night of unique, inspired theatre! I have no connections to the show, other that having worked with a couple of folks involved, so I'm not a shill.
Who are the best directors in music theatre in the past 50 years? This could cause an intense debate… I'm going to bet that the list would include, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, and Michael Bennett. What do these three brilliant visionaries have in common, DANCE.
I'm a dancer. I'm also an actor and singer, but I started with dancing- and I'm PROUD. This is a tough thing to admit these days, as dancers are always being pressed down to the lowest rung on the totem pole of show business. I object!!! Some of the most talented people I have ever worked with on Broadway have walked in the same dance shoes as me- Charlotte d'Amboise, Bianca Maroquin, Michael Beresse, Casey Nicolaw, Josh Bergasse, to name a few.
Let's get to the point, you have a better chance of succeeding on broadway if you have knowledge of dance. It is an integral element of almost every musical. I have found that the choreographer/directors I have worked with are always the smartest people in the room. There is something about being in the trenches that opens up that iris of creativity, and the vast majority that I have been in the presence of, started as dancers. I have worked with directors who don't speak the "language of dance", but it's rare that I work with the choreographer who doesn't speak "the language of direction". It seems to be a given on broadway.
I have pursued every training aspect of this business, and I can tell you that I would not trade dance for anything. It is vital, it is transformative, and it changes the emotional temperature of a theatre when you see a show.
Shamelessly, go and see any project that involves Andy Blankenbuehler, Josh Bergasse, or Casey Nicolaw. For my money, they are the new Fosse, Bennett, and Robbins (in no particular order). Real talent, in the trenches, doing what it takes to keep this artistic string alive.
Josh Bergasse, get into it!
Andy- another great young choreographer who is doing impressive work.
Casey Nicolaw, an incredible choreographer, director, and friend.