When I was 12, my mom signed me up for tap dancing lessons. Each Saturday, I grabbed my tap shoes and headed down to South Philly for lessons at the Progressive School of Dance to tap my heart out. I was not quite Savion Glover or Ann Miller but I would put my heart into kick – ball – slaps. I was not the best dancer, I loved being able to be a part of the hoofing world. Then the movie Tap came out and I was like, I NEED to be a better dancer. I even did a number in the talent show a school:
Due to a perfect storm of things, lessons had to stop but I have always had an appreciation of dancers, especially people who tap. While I may have put my tap shoes away, there is an opportunity to see one of the world best tappers, Maurice Hines! He is coming to the Penn’s Landing Playhouse now through November 20.
Maurice Hines Tappin’ Thru Life is a swinging, song and dance musical that celebrates the astonishing showmanship of one of the last great tap dancers of a by-gone era still working today and whose collaborators were a jaw-dropping, who’s who of theatre, music, film and television. The show is created and choreographed by Maurice Hines. Delaware Theatre Company’s Bud Martin is the Creative Consultant. Producers are Phillip Roger Roy and Dana Matthow. Co-starring in the show are two of Maurice‘s discoveries, John and Leo Manzari, a pair of tap dancing siblings reminiscent of a young Maurice and his brother Gregory. The Diva Jazz Orchestra is led by drummer Sherrie Maricle.
Performances are: Wednesdays at 2:00 pm; Thursdays at 2:00 pm & 7:00 pm; Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm; and Sundays at 2:00 pm.
Tickets are $45 – $65 (other fees may apply) and are available by visiting www.plplayhouse.com, calling 855 HIT-SHOW (855-448-7469) or at the Penn’s Landing Playhouse box office. Group discounts are available by calling 888-264-1788. Penn’s Landing Playhouse is located at 211 S. Columbus Blvd. (at Walnut St.), Philadelphia, PA. The theatre is inside the Independence Seaport Museum. Discounted parking is available in the Open Air/City of Phila.lot adjacent to the Seaport Museum and next door to the Hilton Hotel. Visit www.TappinThruLife.com for additional information.
Maurice began working when he was five years old and his brother Gregory was three. He shares funny and heartbreaking experiences about his life with Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Judy Garland and many others. The show is a tribute to his loving family, both on stage and off.
“My interest is in the today and tomorrow of life and popular culture. I love discovering and mentoring new talent as well as performing and telling stories about the greats,” said Hines.
MAURICE HINES Star of stage, screen, and television, Maurice Hines commenced his acclaimed career at the age of five, studying tap at the Henry LeTang Dance Studio in New York City. Mr. LeTang recognized his extraordinary talents and was soon choreographing numbers specifically for Maurice and his brother Gregory. Soon the brothers were appearing on Broadway and touring as the opening act for such headliners as Lionel Hampton and Gypsy Rose Lee. Their father then joined the act and shortly thereafter, “Hines, Hines, & Dad” was performing to rave reviews in New York, Las Vegas and Europe. Mr. Hines has made 35 appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.
Mr. Hines pursued a solo career and success soon followed when he was chosen to star as Nathan Detroit in the National Touring Company of Guys and Dolls. After his thrilling performance, Broadway beckoned, and Mr. Hines created a sensation during the 1978-79 season with his singing and dancing in the hit musical Eubie! He followed this performance with celebrated roles co-starring in Bring Back Birdie with Chita Rivera and Donald O’Connor and starring in Charles Randolph Wright’s Sophisticated Ladies.
Next, Mr. Hines made his big screen debut in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Cotton Club.” As the film hit theaters across the country, so did Ballet USA, a dance company created by Mr. Hines and Mercedes Ellington. Mr. Hines then conceived, directed, and choreographed the musical Uptown…It’s Hot! which played for 17 sold-out weeks in Atlantic City. He joined the cast when the show moved to Broadway and received a 1986 Tony Award nomination as Best Actor in a Musical. He followed this achievement by co-directing and choreographing the National Tour of the musical Satchmo produced by Kenneth Feld. As one of the few stars who truly loves the road, Mr. Hines then directed, choreographed and starred in the National Tour of the musical Harlem Suite with successive leading ladies Jennifer Holliday, Stephanie Mills and Melba Moore.
Mr. Hines turned his attention to direction and choreographing music videos, including “I’ll Be Good To You”, the first release off of Quincy Jones’ “Back On The Block” album. Mr. Hines has directed The Radio City Spectacular (the first African-American director for Radio City Music Hall). In the 1994-1995 season, Mr. Hines starred as Jelly Roll Morton in the forty city first-class National Tour of the musical Jelly’s Last Jam.
In 2006, Mr. Hines, collaborating with Maurice White, choreographed and directed the Hip-Hop Broadway musical Hot Feet featuring the music of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Mr. Hines’s latest album on Arbor Records, “To Nat ‘King’ Cole, With Love”, was released to critical acclaim. Recently, Mr. Hines choreographed productions of Hairspray in Santo Domingo, Sophisticated Ladies at The Lincoln Theatre, as well as a new show called Dance, Dance, Dance, Snap. Mr. Hines is the recipient of the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Choreography for Cool Papa’s Party at MetroStage.
DIVA JAZZ ORCHESTRA (Music) attracts multi-generational audiences, offering everything from jazz standards, swing and pop music, to classical standards rewritten for modern times. The band’s music is fresh and soulful —transporting audiences who cannot help but “swing” into their unique and vibrant world. DIVA is a powerful blend of musical genius and bold personalities.
The band, based in New York City, is led by the extraordinarily talented drummer, Dr. Sherrie Maricle, jazz artist, composer, teacher and music director. Drawing on a broad range of experiences, DIVA’s brilliant band members compose and play different genres of music; many play several instruments, and all bring an unbridled, compelling energy to their performances. Arrangements are written exclusively for DIVA by band members or prestigious composers and comprise a library of more than 400 songs.
DIVA has recorded over 12 albums, including the critically-acclaimed Johnny Mandel: The Man and his Music, recorded live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and conducted by Mandel himself. Other DIVA recordings include Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca- Cola, featuring vocalist Carmen Bradford (2008); TNT — Tommy Newsom Tribute, a compilation of charts the late Mr. Newsom arranged exclusively for DIVA (2005); Live in Concert (2002); I Believe in You (1999); Leave It To DIVA (1997); and Something’s Coming (1995). Visit the “Sounds” page for track lists and audio samples.
DIVA has enjoyed International appearances at Le Meridien Hotel in Paris, France; Teatro de Sistina in Rome, Italy; the Berlin Jazz Festival in Germany; Salzburg Music Festival in Austria; Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland; Montreal and Ottawa International Jazz Festivals in Canada; Bogota International Jazz Festival in Colombia; Jamaica Jazz Festival; Zagreb Jazz Festival in Croatia; and the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland. They’ve played the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium and have been featured many times on CNN Art’s Break and on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, and been honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame with James Brown, James Taylor, and John Denver.