Wishing You All a TAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Fayard and Harold – The Nicholas Brothers, undisputed kings of tap, in motion during a routine in STORMY WEATHER (1942).

Christmas is a time when many of us like to get out and see a show with our special friends and family, and song and dance often feature high in the sort of entertainment we seek out, to match the exuberant and cheery feelings many feel about the holiday season.

For those of you who may prefer celebrating from home, I have picked out a few things you can see online, which I think you may enjoy in this time when we relax and indulge ourselves a little.

Still on BBCiPlayer (for UK licence-holders) is the big musical ANYTHING GOES. Filmed live at the Barbican in London, this major new production of the classic musical comedy features an all-star cast led by renowned Broadway actress Sutton Foster with Cole Porter’s timeless songs and a sprinkling of dance, including a good bit of tap.

Find ANYTHING GOES here

If tap is really your thing, you’ll enjoy this rarely-seen and recently rediscovered documentary, first broadcast in the UK on Channel Four in 1983, MASTERS OF TAP- with contributions from legends such as Will Gaines, Honi Coles and Chuck Green.

Find MASTERS OF TAP here

FOSSE/VERDON was a great series about the relationship between legendary choreographer Bob Fosse and his second wife, the dynamic performer Gwen Verdon. In eight parts, and boasting great performances by Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams, with a guest spot by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s well worth your holiday time.

Find FOSSE/VERDON here

For fans of classic tap, you can’t go wrong with Ann Miller, Guinness World Record holder as the fastest tapper in history (for many years). There’s a nice new print of a long-unavailable Miller movie, TIME OUT FOR RHYTHM from 1941 currently on YouTube. It’s a very lumpy but passable musical, but definitely worth seeing for Ann’s numbers (starting at 24:15) which are delightful, especially the number she does with comedy character actor Allen Jenkins, in what I believe is his only dance routine on film – and its enormous fun! (Find it fast by going to 37:07). Foghorn-voiced Jenkins was one of the group of Irish-heritage actor/singer/dancers who worked their way up, through being chorus boys on Broadway in the 20s and then onto Hollywood in the 30s, whose number included close friends such as Pat O’Brien and James Cagney.

Find TIME OUT FOR RHYTHM here

And if you’d like to know more about my personal (and Fred Astaire’s) top tap stars, the Nicholas Brothers, you can see a great biography of them below with lots of clips of them in action. If you watch nothing else, jump to the end, at 49:43, where they project their movie routine LUCKY NUMBERS from 1936 behind them, while performing it perfectly almost 60 years later. I saw this routine live when they performed it at the all-star gala STAIRWAY TO THE STARS in November 1989 at the London Palladium, and it absolutely brought the house down. Enjoy!

Find WE SING, WE DANCE here

Happy Holidays to you all!


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