EXCLUSIVE: Hope springs eternal for producers with a hot property. Gotta Dance, a new musical based on Dori Berenstein’s documentary about a pro-basketball dance team of senior citizens, is all set to begin performances on December 13 in its Broadway tryout at Chicago’s Bank Of America Theatre. It’s the story of 10 dancers over 60 who audition to dance at half time for an NBA team. Only after making the cut do they find out they’re expected to perform hip hop moves before the screaming fans.
The veteran cast includes the ageless André De Shields (The Wiz, The Full Monty) and Georgia Engel (who recently set critics aswoon over her performance in Annie Baker’s John), along with Stefanie Powers (the Hart To Hart TV and film franchise) and Lillias White (Tony winner for The Life). The director and choreographer is Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots) and the creative side features book by Chad Beguelin (Aladdin) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), music by Matthew Sklar (Elf) and lyrics by Nell Benjamin (Broadway’s Legally Blonde), with co-choreography by Nick Kenkel. Berinstein is producing, with Bill Damaschke.
All that’s missing from the picture is a Broadway theater. Whether, not to say when, that rather crucial piece of the puzzle gets filled will depend to a large extent on how the show does in the Second City. And whether a Broadway theater owner will bet on an audience for this material (I hope they’ll forget about Michel Bennett’s 1978 Ballroom, which starred Vincent Gardenia and Dorothy Loudon.) Judging from the clip here, there’s energy, and charm, to spare.