DIARY: American Dance Machine for the 21st Century Benefit Evening

Whether or not your first exposure to a live performance was of ballet, modern dance, theatre, symphony or opera, the Broadway musical is a unique art form and uniquely American. Not only seen on the Broadway stage but on stages throughout the United States — and all over the world — and seen by new audiences on television series such as Smash and Glee — it is an art form that has been universally embraced.


Since the American Dance Machine was re-established by executive director Nikki Feirt Atkins and artistic director Margo Sappington, there is now a showcase for Broadway choreography to have a new life and be exposed to new audiences.


With that goal in mind, the American Dance Machine for the 21st Century presented a sampling of its expanding repertoire that included the Broadway choreography of Michael Bennett, Jerome Robbins, Randy Skinner and Susan Stroman on November 11, 2013 in the City Center’s Studio Five.


Margo Sappington and Nikki Feirt Atkins of ADM21 have dedicated themselves to creating a living archive of the best of classic musical theater choreography. This presentation was a continuation of their work.


Brand new to the company’s repertoire is the iconic Turkey Lurkey Time created by Michael Bennett for the original Broadway production of Promises Promises, a turning point in the career of this choreographer who is best known for the classic American musical, A Chorus Line.


There has been a mystique and fascination about Bennett’s Turkey Lurkey Time, a rousing Act I finale number that matched Burt Bacharach’s intricate music.


Margo Sappington had an intimate involvement with that production of Promises Promises as Bennett’s assistant and with original cast members, Baayork Lee, and Donna McKechnie, Turkey Lurkey Time was recreated for this performance.


With a cast led by Rosie Lani Fiedelman, Jessica Lee Goldyn and Mara Davi, this staging had the immediacy of the original and created a wave of nostalgia. To its credit ADM21 has brought this piece back to life for new audiences to see and experience.


Also new to ADM21’s repertoire is Randy Skinner’s Go Into Your Dance from the Broadway revival of 42nd Street — inspired by 42nd Street’s original choreographer Gower Champion — where Mara Davi gave an object lesson of what can be communicated to an audience in song and dance.


This program also included other Broadway gems presented by ADM21 in the past including Michael Bennett’s The Music and the Mirror from A Chorus Line danced by Jessica Lee Goldyn; Jerome Robbins’ Mr. Monotony from Jerome Robbins’ Broadway featuring Amra-Faye Wright and New York City Ballet dancers Georgina Pazcoguin, Amar Ramasar and Daniel Ulbricht; and Simply Irresistible from Susan Stroman’s Contact led by Naomi Kaku as The Girl in the Yellow Dress.


ADM21 continues its journey to present the best of Broadway to a wider audience.