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What To Watch April 28th To Take Away The Blues

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2pm: Stars in the House: Carousel cast reunion a cast reunion of the 2018 Broadway revival starring Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller, Renée Fleming and Tony winner Lindsay Mendez, plus director Jack O’Brien. At 8pm: Melrose Place TV reunion. Cast members of the 1990s nighttime soap. Heather Locklear, Marcia Cross, Grant Show, Josie Bissett, Thomas Calabro, Laura Leighton, Doug Savant, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith and Daphne Zuniga are all expected to dish.

Jessie Mueller, Lindsay Mendez
Jessie Mueller, Lindsay Mendez, and the company of Carousel. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

4pm–9:30pm: Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar Tonight’s scheduled pianists are James Merillat (@James-Merillat-2) and Franca Vercelloni (@Franca-Vercelloni).

4pm: CyberTank The theme of this week’s episode, hosted by Joshua William Gelb, is anger.

5pm: The VT Show: Michael R. Jackson Jackson show A Strange Loop won the 2020 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical and director Lileana Blain-Cruz discuss and share excerpts from Jackson’s new show White Girl In Danger.

Sharon McNight Photo courtesy of the artist

7:15pm: Piano Bar Live! Michael McAssey hosts a lineup that includes Sharon McNight, Klea Blackhurst, Kenney Green, Bobby Belfry and Mauricio Lozano.

Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei

7:30pm: Beirut MCC Theater offers reading a benefit performance of Alan Bowne’s Beirut. Marisa Tomei, starred in the play’s debut at MCC’s One Act Play Festival back in 1987. She returns with Oscar Isaac, and Patrick Breen. A limited number of $25 tickets are on sale only through 6:30pm today. The play can only be viewed live, and will not be available when it is over.

Maria Stuarda Photo by Ken Howard

7:30pm: The Metropolitan Opera: Maria Stuarda is the second of Donizetti’s trilogy of operas about 16th-century Tudor queens. (The last, Roberto Devereux, will follow tomorrow.) Elza van den Heever plays Elizabeth I opposite Joyce DiDonato as her Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. Maurizio Benini conducts this 2013 performance, which also stars Matthew Polenzani.

8pm: New York City Ballet: Apollo Balanchine’s Apollo (1928), in which the Greek god receives instruction from a trio of muses. Created when Balanchine was just 24, the piece was the second of many he would set to music by Igor Stravinsky. This 2019 recording features Taylor Stanley, Tiler Peck, Brittany Pollack and Indiana Woodward.

Michael Arden
Michael Arden

8pm:  LIVESTREAM  The Producers Perspective Live with Michael Arden (Director – Once On This Island, Deaf West’s Spring Awakening) and Andy Mientus (Actor – Deaf West’s Spring AwakeningLes Miserables, “SMASH”) and Andy Mientus.

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

Broadway

Chita Rivera Awards Part 2 The Interviews

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T2C was at the 2024 Chita Rivera Awards at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. We got to interview some of the best in dance and look forward to sharing this with you.

On this video watch Michael-Demby Cain, Joe Lanteri, Bernadette Peters, Debbie Allen, Justin Peck, Norm Lewis, Rick and Jeff Kuperman, Chita’s daughter Lisa Mordente, Kenny Ortega, Serge Trujillo,  winners for Water For Elephants Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, winner Camille A Brown Hell’s Kitchen, Marina Tamayo, Lorin Latarro, David Petersen, Bruce Robert Harris, Ali Louis Bourgzgui, Huey Lewis, Phil LaDuca, Riki Kane Larimer, Grant Plotkin and highlights from the show with Ali Louis Bourgzgui, Kristin ZChenoweth, Norm Lewis, Wayne Brady and more.

This was one spectacular night.

Video by Magda Katz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dance

Chita Rivera Awards Part 1 In Pictures

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The wnners for the 2024 Chita Rivera Awards were announced yesterday evening. Presented at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place off Washington Square Park), the Chita Rivera Awards are produced by Joe Lanteri, Founder and Executive Director of the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation Inc., in conjunction with Patricia Watt.

Joe Lanteri

Michael-Demby Cain

Joe Lanteri and Michael-Demby Cain

The Rockettes

The mission of the Chita Rivera Awards is to celebrate dance and choreographic excellence, preserve notable dance history, recognize past, present, and future talents, while promoting high standards in dance education and investing in the next generation.

Bernadette Peters

Bebe Neuwirth and Bernadette Peters

Bebe Neuwirth and Bernadette Peters with Joe Lantern

At this year’s Chita Rivera Awards, Bernadette Peters received the Lifetime Achievement Award

Mayte Natalio

and Mayte Natalio (Suffs) received the Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics’ Choice Award.

Phil LaDuca

Phil LaDuca was also awarded.

Presenters and performers at this year’s Awards included

Corbin Bleu, Debbie Allen

Bebe Neuwirth, Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon

Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon

Debbie Allen

Corbin Bleu and Sasha Clements

Corbin Bleu and Sasha Clements

Corbin Bleu (White Christmas)

Wayne Brady (The Wiz)

Ali Louis Bourgzgui

Ali Louis Bourgzgui (Tommy)

Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked)

Anthony Crivello

Anthony Crivello (Kiss of the Spider Woman)

Lorin Latarro and Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis (The Heart of Rock and Roll)

Norm Lewis

Norm Lewis (Phantom of the Opera; Porgy and Bess)

Joe Morton

Joe Morton (Scandal, ART)

Bebe Neuwirth

Bebe Neuwirth (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, Chicago)

Chita’s daughter Lisa Mordente and Kenny Ortega

Kenny Ortega (High School Musical)

David Hyde Pierce (Here We Are, Spamalot)

Lea Salonga

Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Old Friends)

Chloe Davis and Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan; The Adams Family)

Ben Vereen (Pippin)

Lorna Luft, Riki Kane Larimer and Grant Plotkin

Lorna Luft, Riki Kane Larimer

Riki Kane Larimer producer and one of the major sponsors of The Chita Awards.

Jack Noseworthy and Sergio Trujillo

Stephanie Pope and Lloyd Culbreath

Marina Tamayo

Bruce Robert Harris

Lorna Luft

Avery Wilson and Phillip Johnson

Tommy Bracco

Tommy Bracco and Ross Lekites

Michael Garnier and Amy Hall Garnier

Leo Moctezuma

Lainie Sakakura and Isa Sanchez

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY IN A BROADWAY SHOW

Bebe Neuwirth, Camille A Brown

Bebe Neuwirth

***Camille A Brown, Hell’s Kitchen (tie)

Julia Cheng

Julia Cheng, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Rick and Jeff Kuperman

Rick and Jeff Kuperman and Tilly Evans-Krueger

Rick and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders

Lorin Latarro

Lorin Latarro, The Heart of Rock and Roll / The Who’s Tommy (joint nomination)

Justin Peck

Justin Peck, Illinoise

Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll

***Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, Water for Elephants (tie)

OUTSTANDING DANCER IN A BROADWAY SHOW

***Antoine Boissereau, Water for Elephants

Ben Cook, Illinoise

Chloe Davis

Chloe Davis, Hell’s Kitchen

Gaby Diaz, Illinoise

Tilly Evans-Krueger

***Tilly Evans-Krueger, The Outsiders

Rachel Lockhart, Illinoise

Phillip Johnson Richardson, The Wiz

Byron Tittle, Illinoise

Ricky Ubeda, Illinoise

Avery Wilson, The Wiz

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE IN A BROADWAY SHOW

The Cast of Cabaret that includes- Kayla Jenerson, Corinne Munsch, MiMi Scardulla, Pedro Garzo, Julia Cheng, Rebecca Frecknall, Loren Lester, Hannah Florence, Colin Cunliffe, David Merino, Spencer James Weidie, Sun Kim, Deja McNair, Karl Skyler Urban

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

The Cast of Hells kitchen-
Nyseli Vega, Jackie Leon, Raechelle Manalo, Sarah Parker, Susan Oliveras, Michael Greif, Onyxx Noel, Niki Saludez, Timothy L. Edwards

Hell’s Kitchen

***Illinoise

The Heart of Rock and Roll

From The Cast of The Outsiders-Melody Rose, Sarah Grace Mariani, Tilly Evans-Krueger, Kristen Carcone, Henry Julian Gendron, Milena J. Comeau, Rick Kuperman, Barton Cowperthwaite, Victor Carrillo Tracey, Jordan Chin, RJ Higton, Sean Harrison Jones, Kevin Csolak, Jeff Kuperman

The Outsiders

Water for Elephants

FILM & DOCUMENTARY

 

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY IN A THEATRICAL RELEASE

***Barbie, Choreographer: Jennifer White

Carmen, Choreographer: Benjamin Millepied / Marina Tamayo

Color Purple, Choreographer: Fatima Robinson

Mean Girls, Choreographer: Kyle Hanagami

Wonka, Choreographer: Christopher Gattelli

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A DANCE DOCUMENTARY

Daughters, Directors: Angela Patton / Natalie Rae

Eldorado: Everything the Nazis Hate, Directors: Benjamin Cantu / Matt Lambert

Diane Byer and David Petersen

***Lift, Director: David Petersen

Marc Saltarelli

Studio One Forever, Director: Marc Saltarelli

Swan Song, Director: Chelsea McMullan

2023-2024 CHITA RIVERA AWARD NOMINATING COMMITTEES

Awarding Committee

Chair: Sylviane Gold, Gary Chryst, Robert LaFosse, Wendy Perron, and Lee Roy Reams

Broadway Nominating Committee

Chair: Wendy Federman, Caitlin Carter, Gary Chryst, Don Correia

Jamie deRoy and Rachel Stange

Jamie deRoy, Sandy Duncan, Peter Filichia, Dr. Louis Galli, Sylviane Gold, Jonathan Herzog, Robert La Fosse, Joe Lanteri, Michael Milton, Mary Beth O’Connor, Wendy Perron, Lee Roy Reams, Andy Sandberg, and Randy Skinner

Film Nominating Committee

Chair: Jonathan C. Herzog, Steven Caras, Wilhelmina Frankfurt, Mary Beth O’Connor, and Andy Sandberg

All proceeds of the Chita Rivera Awards benefit the NYC Dance Alliance Foundation Scholarship Program. The NYCDA Foundation is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) committed to broadening performing arts awareness while advocating education and high standards of excellence in dance.

This year, all funding and proceeds will support the creation of a new Chita Rivera Training Scholarship.

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Broadway

Broadway’s “Illinoise” Dances and Sings, Igniting a Fire of Storytellers, Both Dynamic and Distant.

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I never know how to start things,” reads the graphic journal that is stuffed inside the program of Broadway’s last-minute entry into the Tony Awards race, Illinoise. This dance show musical is meticulously based on Sufjan Stevens’2005 indie folk concept album “Illinois,” an album I must admit I never heard of until it opened earlier this year at Park Avenue Armory. The show is overflowing with talent, much like the journal, which is a captivating written celebration of the thought process behind this 90-minute dance and sung piece. It draws out the whimsical and earnest qualities that resonate throughout the album and the production, and is a welcome reminder of what makes this show tick, when it ticks well.

Directed and choreographed by the ingenious Justin Peck (Spielberg’s “West Side Story“; Broadway’s Carousel) and with a book written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview; Marys Seacole), Illinoise dives forward with clever light and energy. It is a celebration and a release of pent-up sorrowful energy. It delights in its own storytelling abstractionisms, brought forth gloriously on the vocal wings of three butterflies; Shara Nova, Tasha Viets-Vanlear, and Elijah Lyons, and delivered into our hearts by a crew of expert dancers; Ricky Ubeda, Ahmad Simmons, Christine Flores, Bryon Tittle, Kara Chan, Ben Cook, Gaby Diaz, Rachel Lockhart, Alejandro Vargas, Jeanette Delgado, Brandt Martinez, and Craig Salstein.

Ricky Ubeda (center) surrounded by company members Byron Tittle, Christine Flores, and Kara Chan of Broadway’s Illinoise. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Under a guiding billboard of epic informative dimensions, designed most beautifully by Adam Rigg (LCT/Broadway’s The Skin of Our Teeth), with dynamic lighting by Brandon Stirling Baker (New York City Ballet’s Dig the Say), and sound design by Garth MacAleavey (New York Philharmonic’s “Sound On: Leading Voices”), dancing fireflies gather around a lanterned fire pit to tell their stories, whether it’s about ghosts, UFO sightings, or zombies. We try to imagine what this is, these stars delivering signs emerging, quick and sharp, fast forwarding to the unveiling of their individual stories. “Are you writing from the heart?” they are asked, as we are guided through the entirety of Stevens’ album, with new arrangements by composer, pianist, and frequent Stevens collaborator Timo Andres (“The Blind Banister“).

The musical sounds range in style, dancing around the edges of folk, indie rock, and ambient electronic music, engagingly performed by an 11-member band, led by music director and supervisor Nathan Koci (Broadway’s Hadestown). It’s mysterious and captivating, tender and engaging, as the sound draws forth the exceptional dancers to explore the overwhelming condition of youth and “the sense of each other“. Finding emotional engagement within, on the road from childhood to adulthood, the dancers fly forward to the written word that hangs out center stage, and then leading us back to the tapping energy of Jacksonville, through the zombie nation, and the captivating unpacking tale of John Wayne Gracy Jr. “(or the damning cycle of exclusion borne of outcasts forced to sympathize with monsters).” The selections of journal entries are shared and engaged with, “in celebration of their memory and of our future.” And the allusions and feelings of shame and loss are not lost on me throughout.

Vocalists Shara Nova (at right) and Tasha Viets-VanLear of Broadway’s Illinoise. Photo by Liz Lauren.

The piece defies categorization, especially in the framing of “a new Broadway musical,” which is what the piece is being billed as. The entire show is sung by those butterfly-winged performers, costumed by Reid Bartelme & Harriet Jung (Broadway’s Dancin’). They feel forever disconnected from the movement, held up high like hummingbirds or fireflies looking for a place to land while watching those below engage in their storytelling with curiosity and admiration. They hover and sing most enchantingly, but the distance doesn’t bring forth a feeling of connection but rather emphasizes the opposite. Maybe I’ve been trained by the vast majority of musicals to find the song and the dance entwined within, but the separation of voice from the movement kept the piece removed from my soul, even when it occasionally connected to my heart. “It makes me want someone stronger to swoop in to save me from all of us.

It’s a dance show, packaged in the vein of Broadway’s Moving Out, delivered with gentle promise and determination. Peck’s choreography is as exciting as it is moving and captivating, sometimes spinning out the abstract, symbolic, gesture, while sometimes gripping itself to realism and straightforwardness. Combining almost all of the 22 tracks on “Illinois”, the narrative is delivered in a physical formulation, showcasing all the different ways we can tell our stories to others and the complicated ways we can make ourselves vulnerable in that “seductive fiction of the individual hero“. The central figure is Henry, delivered strongly by Ubeda (Broadway’s On the Town), who has gathered together this group of young people to allow them the space and permission to deliver their stories outward into the night air and to each other. The emotional release is evident, and as each story unfolds, we know a larger tale is on the brink of being unpacked, unwrapped, and discovered.

I know it will be easier for me, eventually, if I write it all down, but trying to put words to our whole…to put us to words, feels sort of impossible.” Those words aren’t exactly spoken out loud by Henry, but it is clearly present in his affect, as he begins to enter into the largest portion of the piece; his story, around his two deceased friends; Carl, portrayed tenderly by Ben Cook (Broadway’s Mean Girls), and Shelby, embodied by the wonderful Gaby Diaz (Off-Broadway’s Only Gold). And in their unveiling, we try to stay engaged. It is both easy, as it is well choreographed and emotionally delivered, yet also difficult as the structuring of the whole feels distant and detached.

I must admit that I’m not exactly the target audience, as I tend to veer away from dance and ballet shows and aim myself towards plays and musicals. That said, I’m always and totally astounded by the talent of bodies in motion, especially these dancers, and the intelligent way this particular show delivers on its desire to broadcast emotional and romantic ideals, matched most graphically to grief and sorrow. However, I have a harder time staying inside the piece, especially when there is a barrier between the voice and the body. All the dancers and singers are of the highest order, and even though I am sad that I missed Robbie Fairchild who danced the Henry role in the show’s previous run at the Park Avenue Armory, I was astounded by the effervescent energy and grace by each and every dancer of Illinoise, and the cathartic quality that floats out at the end of this show. If dance is your thing, I strongly suggest seeing this show. Even if dancing isn’t your vibe, it is still worth the introduction to the idea. “My heart keeps changing,” he writes. “I keep changing.” And isn’t that the point of theatre, to be forever curious and engage in something new to find change and enlightenment. Even if it isn’t your vibe, it will stay with you, opening yourself up to something truly unique and carefully constructed.

The company of Broadway’s Illinoise. Photo by Liz Lauren.

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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Broadway

The 2024 Chita Rivera Nominees Meet The Press

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On Monday the Chita Rivera Awards nominees met the press. You can see the nominees here.

In attendance were Justin Peck (Illinoise)

Lorin Latarro

Lorin Latarro (The Who’s Tommy / The Heart of Rock and Roll))

Ricky Ubeda

Ricky Ubeda (Illinoise)

Camille A. Brown

Camille A. Brown (Hell’s Kitchen)

Jeff Kuperman and Rick Kuperman

Rick and Jeff Kuperman (The Outsiders)

Antoine Boissereau and Jesse Robb

Antoine Boissereau

Antoine Boissereau (Water for Elephants)

Ben Cook

Ben Cook (Illinoise)

Jesse Robb

Jesse Robb & Shana Carroll (Water for Elephants), Gaby Diaz (Illinoise)

Avery Wilson (The Wiz)

Ensemble Members from The Cast of Cabaret that includes- Chloe Nadon-Enriquez, Julian Ramos, Ayla Ciccone-Burton, Corinne Munsch, Gabi Campo and Loren Lester

Julia Cheng (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club)

Byron Tittle

Byron Tittle (Illinoise)

Tilly Evans-Krueger

Tilly Evan-Krueger (The Outsiders)

Chloe Davis

Chloe Davis (Hell’s Kitchen)

Rachel Lockhart

Rachel Lockhart (Illinoise)

Phillip Johnson Richardson (The Wiz), and many more.

Don Correia and Sandy Duncan

Joe Lanteri and Lisa Mordente

Sandy Duncan

Lisa Mordente

Michael Olaribigbe

From the ensemble Cast of The Heart of Rock and Roll that includes- Jennifer Noble, Mike Baerga, Michael Olarigibge, Olivia Cece, Taylor Marie Daniel and TyNia Rene Brandon

Ensemble Members from The Cast of The Outsiders that includes – Milena J. Comeau, Jordan Chin, SarahGrace Mariani, RJ Higton, Melody Rose, Barton Cowperthwaite, Tilly Evans-Krueger and Victor Carrillo Tracey

Sarah Parker, Chloe Davis, Camille A. Brown, Reid Clarke and Raechelle Manalo

Ensemble Members from The Cast of Illinoise that includes- Brandt Martinez, Craig Salstein, Gaby Diaz, Rachel Lockhart, Christine Flores, Ahmad Simmons, Ricky Ubeda, Alejandro Vargas , Jada German, Dario Natarelli, Ben Cook and Byron Tittle

Julian Ramos

Corinne Munsch

Loren Lester

Gabi Campo

Ayla Ciccone-Burton

David Peterson, Mary Recine and Steven Melendez

Joe Lanteri and Michael Demby Cain

Michael Demby Cain

Taylor Marie Daniel

Nicholas Jelmoni and Alexandra Gaelle Royer

Joe Lanteri

Sandy Ducan

Lee Roy Reams

 

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Broadway

2024 Chita Rivera Award Nominations Celebrating The Best in Dance and Choreography

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Nominations for the 2024 Chita Rivera Awards were revealed by Bebe Neuwirth, this afternoon April 29 at 1 p.m. on ABC News’ “GMA3: What You Need to Know.” Winners will be named at an awards ceremony on May 20 at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Bernadette Peters

Bernadette Peters

Bernadette Peters is the recipient of this year’s award for lifetime achievement.

The mission of the Chita Rivera Awards is to celebrate dance and choreographic excellence, preserve notable dance history, recognize past, present, and future talents, while promoting high standards in dance education and investing in the next generation.

Nominators considered outstanding choreography, featured dancers, and ensemble in shows on Broadway and Off Broadway, as well as outstanding choreography in film, that opened in the 2023-2024 season. Nominations for the productions under consideration this season will be determined by the designated nominating committee. There are separate nominating committees for Broadway, Off Broadway and Film. There is also an awarding committee for Broadway, which determines the final nominations that are received from the Broadway nominations committee.

All proceeds of the Chita Rivera Awards benefit the NYC Dance Alliance Foundation Scholarship Program. The NYCDA Foundation is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) committed to broadening performing arts awareness while advocating education and high standards of excellence in dance. 

This year, all funding and proceeds will support the creation of a new Chita Rivera Training Scholarship.

Broadway

Outstanding Choreography In A Broadway Show

Camille A Brown, Hell’s Kitchen
Julia Cheng, Cabaret
Rick and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders
Lorin Latarro, The Heart of Rock and Roll / The Who’s Tommy
Justin Peck, Illinoise
Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, Water For Elephants

Outstanding Dancer In A Broadway Show

Antoine Boissereau, Water For Elephants
Ben Cook, Illinoise
Chloe Davis, Hell’s Kitchen
Gaby Diaz, Illinoise
Tilly Evans-Kreuger, The Outsiders
Rachel Lockhart, Illinoise
Phillip Johnson Richardson, The Wiz
Byron Tittle, Illinoise
Ricky Ubeda, Illinoise
Avery Wilson, The Wiz              

Outstanding Ensemble In A Broadway Show

Cabaret
Hell’s Kitchen
Illinoise
The Heart of Rock and Roll
The Outsiders
Water For Elephants

Film & Documentary

Outstanding Choreography In A Theatrical Release

Barbie, Choreographer: Jennifer White
Carmen, Choreographer: Benjamin Millepied / Marina Tamayo
Color Purple, Choreographer: Fatima Robinson
Mean Girls, Choreographer: Kyle Hanagami / Casey Nicholaw
Wonka, Choreographer: Christopher Gattelli

Outstanding Direction Of A Dance Documentary

Daughters, Directors: Angela Patton / Natalie Rae
Eldorado: everything the Nazi’s Hate, Directors: Benjamin Cantu / Matt Lambert
Lift, Director: David Petersen
Studio One Forever, Director: Marc Saltarelli
Swan Song, Director: Chelsea McMullan

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