The choreographers are killing it on Broadway right now, creating productions teeming with moves ranging in style from ballet to rock to good old fashioned razzmatazz – sometimes all in the same show. And, of course, credit goes to the actors and actresses who perfectly execute these moves, all while wearing elaborate headdresses, swinging from a trapeze or navigating a moving conveyor belt. Here are our picks for the ten shows with the best dance moves on Broadway right now, including one play with choreography as elaborate as in any musical.
On the Town
This revival of the classic Leonard Bernstein musical is one of the dance-heaviest shows on Broadway. Emmy winner Joshua Bergasse (Smash) takes over from Jerome Robbins’ original choreography. In addition to comedic numbers involving a giant plastic dinosaur and living mannequins, there are three extended fantasy ballet sequences featuring Broadway vet Tony Yazbeck as Gaby, a lovesick sailor on a 24-hour leave, and New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild (one of our Hottest Women on Broadway) as Ivy Smith, the winner of the Miss Turnstiles contest and the object of his ardor.
For this Tony winning revival of, the 1970s show was updated with a high-flying circus theme. Gypsy Snider and the Canadian troupe les Sept Doigts de la Main combine circus acrobatics with Chet Walker’s sleek dance moves in the dazzling romp about a medieval prince searching for his identity. You will be in awe of the amazing feats of balance and coordination as well as the sensuous moves of the Leading Player as she leads Pippin “On the Right Track.” But make tracks to the Music Box fast, the show is only running until Jan. 4, 2015.
The bump-and-grind gyrations of the Kit Kat Klub regulars return to Studio 54 in this revival of the 1998 staging of by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, with choreography by Marshall. Alan Cumming reprises his iconic role as the delightfully dirty Emcee, leading a troupe of heavily made-up chorus girls and leather-clad boys in such divinely decadent numbers as “Two Ladies” and “The Money Song.” Film star Emma Stone just joined the cast and shakes with the best of them in “Mein Herr” and “Don’t Tell Mama.”
Choreographer Jerry Mitchell won a Tony for staging the outrageous antics of Lola and a chorus of drag queens — all in the titular high-heeled footwear. It’s not just the fabulous ladies that get to strut their stuff, though. The hard-working shoe factory workers and their beleaguered boss Charlie join in as their new product rolls off the assembly line – which becomes both a runway and a gymnastic apparatus for the rousing “Everybody Say Yeah.”
Soon to become the second-longest show in Broadway history (on Nov. 23, it will surpass Cats), retains its sizzle after almost 20 years, with Ann Reinking’s Tony-winning slinky moves in the style of her mentor, the show’s original stager — the great Bob Fosse. Watch the slithery undulations of the sexy, scantily-clad chorus as they retell the tale of Roxy Hart murdering her lover in “All That Jazz.” Each subsequent number is performed in the style of a vaudeville act including ventriloquism (“We Both Reached for the Gun”), the soft-shoe solo (“Mister Cellophane”), and of course, the old “Razzle Dazzle.”
The Lion King
Julie Taymor’s imaginative direction and puppet design recreate an entire animal kingdom on the stage of the Minskoff for . And it’s Garth Fagan’s Tony-winning dances that make them move. The fluid movements, incorporating modern dance and African dance, are even more impressive since the actors are executing the choreography while wearing the elaborate headpieces or manipulating costumes that cover their entire body. Watch as lions, gazelles, birds, and even warthogs and meerkats cavort in “The Circle of Life, ” “The Morning Report, ” and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.”
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
This show is much more than Tony winner Jessie Mueller sitting down at the piano and soulfully delivering King’s solo classics like “You’ve Got a Friend, ” “Beautiful, ” and “Natural Woman” (although that part is magnificent.) The twist, frug, and other dances of the 60s are on display in Much of the score consists of King’s Top 40 hits she wrote with her then-husband Gerry Goffin, along with those written by their best friends, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, performed to perfection by an award-winning chorus. Choreographer Josh Prince faithfully recreates the accompanying dance moves of The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva (who recreates a rousing version of “The Loco-Motion”), and many others.
Rock of Ages
Big hair. Big dances. The hip-thrusting, fist-pumping, hair-whipping, head-banging moves of the ’80s come to the Broadway stage with . Kelly Devine creates insanely idiomatic moves for such hits as “We’re Not Gonna Take It, ” “Anyway You Want It, ” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Aspiring musician Drew, wanna-be actress Sherrie, club owner Dennis, crazy narrator Lonnie, charismatic rock star Stacee Jaxx and the staff and clients of the Bourbon Room in 1987 Los Angeles rock out to these memorable tunes as they pursue their dreams and fight a German developer determined to tear down them down.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were as renowned for their moves as their voice. And the men of Broadway’s fluidly sway, step and snap, moving in perfectly executed unison (even in the worst of times) performing such memorable chart-toppers as “Sherry, ” “Big Girls Don’t Cry, ” and “Workin’ My Way Back to You.” Des McAnuff’s direction is equally fluid, moving the multiple settings from the back alleys of New Jersey to the huge stages of Las Vegas with ballet-like precision.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
It’s not just musicals that incorporate intricate moves to tell the story. The choreography in Simon Stephens’ stage version of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel incisively depicts character and action. (Several critics have said it has as much dance as any tuner.) In on particularly moving scene, the choreography by Scott Graham, Steven Hoggett and Frantic Assembly creates a frightening rail and subway journey from the point of view of the autistic teen age hero using the expressive gestures and contortions of the versatile cast, aided by Paule Constable’s amazing lighting and Finn Ross’ detailed videos.