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Make Room For Mark Stuarts Standard Time

Make Room For Mark Stuarts Standard Time

Mark Stuart Dance Theatre

Mark Stuart’s new dance program Standard Time, playing at the Duke Theatre combines, all styles of dance, a live orchestra and four incredibly talented singers (Sam Cahn (Memphis, Wicked), Alan H. Green ( Sister Act) , Eric Otto (New York City Ballet) and Kacie Sheik (Hair). The show stars the exquisitely phenomenally and nibble Jaime Verazin (Finding Neverland), who co creates with Mark this show soars to new heights. Mark and Jamie are not only co-creators but also life partners and their chemistry shows. Mark creates a type of sensual magic that never fails to make to excite. Mark Stuart (Women on the Verge…, The Bandstand) is an award winning choreographer who should be championed and allowed to use his unique mix of popular and ballroom dance in more Broadway shows.

Mark Stuart Dance Theatre

Standard Time, is in essence three separate love stories set against the backdrop of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and present day, as people’s attitudes about gay rights are changing. Standard Time is a 90-minute, of gravity-defying partnering.

The first piece is like a film clip out of a MGM depression era movie musical fantasy. A poor shoe shine man falls for a wealthy about to be engaged socialite. Her fiancé is a jewel thief. They connect but their world pull them apart. Part musical theatre, ballroom and modern this section is highly accessible.

The second piece was my favorite due to the underscoring of the 60’s. Here blacks are set against whites in musical and dance styles. Like West Side Story or Hairspray, love forms between the white girl and the black male but again tis not to be.

The third is the most original and yet the subject of the year. A woman is being abused by her jealous boyfriend, so she leaves him for another. After some time the husband pulls away and she cannot figure out why. The reason is he is having an affair – with another man. When his wife finds him with his lover, the husband becomes confuses. The lover however is insistent and wins. In the end she returns to the abusive boyfriend and the husband with his lover. This piece is jarring as the dancers reenact the walls socially and mentally we put between ourselves. It is disturbing, erotic and violent with a message of peace. The audience was genuinely moved by it and I could see this piece being developed into I’s own show.

The cast is perfection and includes some of the best dancers in town: Loren Allred (“The Voice”), Michael Balderrama (Movin’ Out), Jerome Bell (“American Idol”), Michelle Camaya (Disney’s The Lion King), Allyson Carr (Mamma Mia), Arielle Campbell (Memphis), Jon Drake (Dirty Dancing), Brian Golub, Sean Hingston (Contact), Ayo Jackson (Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark), Marc Heitzman (Movin’ Out), Sarah Meahl, Alexis Simms, Rickey Tripp (In the Heights), CJ Tyson (Wicked, Beyonce), and Michael Williams (Wicked).

The Mark Stuart Dance Company should be watched and encouraged. This is a choreographer and company on the rise.

Standard Time: Mark Stuart Dance Company at The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W 42nd St. through Dec. 20th.

Dance

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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