Chicago Tap Theatre’s Latest Production – Back to the 90’s

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Chicago Tap Theatre’s Latest Production Takes Audiences Back to the 90s with a New Original Story featuring Music and Lyrics by JC Brooks, Choreography by Artisti Director Mark Yonally.

Mark, Photo: Kristie Kahns

Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) presents Tap Secret!, Sunday, July 10, at 3 and 7 p.m. live at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd.  In Tap Secret!, it’s the 90s and pop music is under attack and only Paulie, a young dancer’s rhythm can save it. The new original story was conceived by JC Brooks with assistance from director Mike Weaver and choreographer Mark Yonally and features an original score by Brooks. The running time for Tap Secret! is 65 minutes with no intermission. To enforce social distancing guidelines, both the 3 and 7 p.m. shows will have limited seating to accommodate social distancing. Tickets are $40 and are available at ChicagoTapTheatre.com or https://northshorecenter.org/

Tap Secret – Chicago Tap Theatre, Sara Anderson

“Chicago Tap Theatre is looking forward to performing in front of a live audience with our latest production,” said Artistic Director Mark Yonally. “The company is excited to bring this premiere to Chicago audiences and we know the audiences will love our 90s themed Tap Secret!. Audiences can expect a fun satire of 90s pop, amidst a story that deals with the importance of rhythmic sophistication both in our lives and in our music.”

Chicago Tap Theatre kindly answered questions about what brought them to this live performance. Read on.

What were the major challenges to coming back to this in-person performance?

Honestly, thanks to our amazing Covid Compliance Officer, we’ve been able to safely rehearse in-person for many months now. I think the bigger challenge is whether audiences are ready to be back in a theater or not. We’ve taken every precaution to ensure that people will be safe, including limiting the number of seats (we are selling around 30% of the available seats) and choosing a venue with a new, state-of-the-art ventilation system.

How did performers maintain their skills during the shutdown?

Other than the beginning of the first shut down (from mid-March to end of May) and from Thanksgiving to mid-January) CTT has been in the studio creating and presenting (virtually, of course!) new work. We have been doing weekly Company Class to continue to develop our technique, and creating over 12 new works in the past 16 months! 

On a fun note, the dancers have also been finding opportunities to woodshed (practice) on their own, including jamming in Loyola Park throughout the past year and a half. One of our favorite stories is when a couple approached myself and Sterling, who’d been jamming together, and asked if we could join them for their wedding, which they were doing in the park! We obviously said yes, and were honored to be able to tap the wedding march for them and bear witness to their wedding.

Chicago Tap Theatre

It’s the 1990s, and the EmptyV Music Network has a plan to ensure that pop music remains packageable and sell to a public conditioned to expect their music to be smooth, simple and easy to digest. Three young women suspect that something is up, and they hatch a plan to try to thwart EmptyV and ensure that music remains rich and rhythmically complex. In order to do so, they will need the help of Paulie, a young researcher that works for the music company.

Featured dancers in Tap Secret! include: Sara Anderson, Ali Calamoneri, Molly Eder, Jorie Goins, Sterling Harris, Sofia Hessevick, Heather Latakas, Chris Matthews, Anna Lynn Robbins, Molly Smith, Kirsten Uttich, Jennifer Pfaff Yonally and Mark Yonally. 

Jayson – Kristie Kahns

The production team for Tap Secret! features: JC Brooks (original music and lyrics), Jeff Hancock (costume design), Dustin Derry (lighting and production design), Mike Weaver (director) and Mark Yonally (choreography).

It is important to note that CTT will be observing all relevant rules and guidelines surrounding social distancing, number of people gathered and mask-wearing both in the rehearsal process and the performance itself. 

Watch a Youtube video of Chicago Tap Theatre

ABOUT CHICAGO TAP THEATRE

Founded in 2002, Chicago Tap Theatre is a growing and vibrant dance company dedicated to preserving the quintessentially American dance form of tap while taking it to the next level of creativity, innovation and quality. CTT performs exclusively with live music provided by some of Chicago’s finest musicians playing everything from Duke Ellington to David Bowie and many artists in between. Under the dynamic direction of master teacher and performer Mark Yonally, CTT has gained a loyal and sizable following in Chicago and continues to tour both nationally and internationally. Having pioneered the “tap opera” format, which tells stories with compelling characters and intriguing plots, CTT has used the language of tap dance, live music and narration to move audiences for over 17 years.

Sterling – Kristie Kahns

Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) presents Tap Secret!, Sunday, July 10, at 3 and 7 p.m. live at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd.  In Tap Secret!, it’s the 90s and pop music is under attack and only Paulie, a young dancer’s rhythm can save it. The new original story was conceived by JC Brooks with assistance from director Mike Weaver and choreographer Mark Yonally and features an original score by Brooks. The running time for Tap Secret! is 65 minutes with no intermission. To enforce social distancing guidelines, both the 3 and 7 p.m. shows will have limited seating to accommodate social distancing. Tickets are $40 and are available at ChicagoTapTheatre.com or https://northshorecenter.org/

Photos: Courtesy of Chicago Tap Theatre

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