Art Works Blog

Putting the Dance in Song-and Dance

Washington, DC

While we consider Oklahoma! a traditional classic musical, when the Rodgers and Hammerstein show opened on Broadway in 1943, it was quite groundbreaking. It was one of the first musicals in which the songs and dance numbers were as integral to the storytelling as the dialogue. When Washington, DC's Arena Stage produced a revival of Oklahoma! this past October, it was a groundbreaking moment of another type---the opening show in the theater's new Mead Center for American Theatre. Not surprisingly choreographer Parker Esse felt the weight of history on his shoulders when he took on the task of creating all new dances for Arena's production. In this week's NEA podcast Esse discusses the challenges---and opportunites---of putting the dance into song-and-dance.

Visit our website to hear the entire podcast. And save the date for our next Art Works podcast on December 9 with Sebastian Ruth, founder of Community Musicworks in Providence, Rhode Island.

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