Anne and James are a typical young married couple, who also run a dance studio together. Typical except for the fact that James' dancing proposal went viral, sending the couple into mild celebrity status. We meet them six years after the famous event, when a reporter does a catch-up interview with them. But a lot has happened to Anne and James in the five years they've been married, and not all good. They've lost a child, the details of which are slowly spelled out throughout the play, and are on the brink of divorce. The two have one last whiskey-fueled night together before the interview and subsequent break-up, as James packs up all of the stuffed animals he's won at carnivals (it's their thing). Their conversation takes the form of imaging the animals come to life, as people in their lives (her sister and mother, his father, their daughter Hope, the reporter). I know this sounds weird and not a little crazy, but somehow it works, and the story flows seamlessly from reality to this dream-state and back, with much credit to the directors Jason Peterson and Andy Frye, the latter of whom also choreographed the dance sequences. Because, oh yes, the stuffed animals who come to life as friends and family also dance. And have dance-offs as they try to help or hinder Hope in her search for a home she never knew. But of course all of this is really happening in Anne and James' minds and conversation, as they work through their grief and other issues in their relationship.
|auntie Ash embraces her niece as dad and mom look on|
(Zachary Stofer, Mary Fox, Louisa Darr, Vanessa Wasche,
photo by Justin Cox photography)
|Emily Madigan leads the cast in a dance-off|
(photo by Justin Cox photography)
Still Dance the Stars is one of those plays that will make you laugh and cry, which is my favorite kind of play. And the dancing is appropriate to the heightened emotion of the situation and really furthers the storytelling. It feels totally appropriate to each character's story, and is really fun to watch too (with original music by Matt Riehle). You still have a few weeks (through May 13) to catch this beautiful, sad, sweet, moving new play, but it's selling well so don't delay. Watch the below video, then click here to order tickets (YTT has some of the most reasonable ticket prices in town, with all seats under $30).
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.