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Q&A with Chicago choreographer David Bushman - Ladue News: Arts & Entertainment

Q&A with Chicago choreographer David Bushman

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 12:00 pm

Chicago will bring ‘all that jazz’ to the Fox Theatre Sept. 20 to 22. And with it comes John O’Hurley, of Seinfeld fame, starring as Billy Flynn; and Paige Davis, best-known for her hosting prowess on Trading Spaces and Home Made Simple, playing Roxie Hart. The Fox’s Broadway season also boasts even more Tony Award-winning dramas, comedies and adventures: Evita, Oct. 8-20; Sister Act, Nov. 19-Dec. 1; Beauty and the Beast, Nov. 1-3; RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles, Nov. 15-16; A Christmas Carol, Dec. 5-8; Elf, Dec. 17-29; West Side Story, Jan. 3-5; Mamma Mia!, Feb. 7-9; Jersey Boys, Feb. 19-March 2; We Will Rock You, March 18-30; Once, April 8-20; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, April 29-May 11; and The Wizard of Oz, May 13-18. LN recently caught up with Chicago choreographer David Bushman to hear more about the much-anticipated showstopper.

Tell us about your background in concert dance.

People could see I had a talent for dance; and in high school, I finally got up the courage to audition. I ended up having a nice, long career in contemporary, classic and modern ballet for 17 years.

How did you transition to theater?

I was cast in the first French production of Chicago in 2003 that was performed in Montreal and then in Paris, so I performed it in French before I performed it in English! From there, I began working as a dance captain while I was dancing in the ensemble on the national U.S. tour of Chicago for three years.

What can audiences expect from the Chicago tour this time around?

We have a mix of veterans and newcomers on the tour, so it’s the best of both worlds. Some have never done Fosse before; so as veterans, we are continuing to pass on the flame. It is a strong cast, with a wonderful vitality to the tour that I feel has always been there.

Talk about the show’s stars and their dancing abilities.

John O’Hurley, which many people know from Seinfeld, is a lovely man and such a talented actor and terrific dancer. And Paige Davis as Roxie Hart does a lovely interpretation of that role.

Chicago is known for its show-stopping dance numbers—any favorites?

I love them all for different reasons, but I really enjoy dancing to Me and My Baby at the opening of the second act. And there are so many wonderful little dance moments in show, like when a group of characters come out a do a little soft shoe when Roxie is trying to convince her husband to raise money for her case.

What are dance rehearsals like leading up to the show?

We rehearse eight hours a day, six days a week learning the music and then dancing. It’s a very dance-driven show. The story itself is driven by choreography, and the ensemble is a really essential part of the telling of the story.

Describe working on a show that is the longest-running musical ever.

There’s a tremendous recognition by everyone—the veterans, as well as the newcomers—for the show. To have the opportunity to keep this show alive, and the fact that the demand is still there for the tour, is amazing. There’s this sense of honor to be able to keep this show going.

What is special about this musical that keeps audiences coming?

The story is resonating more than ever. It came into its time in early '90s with a limited run on Broadway, and there have been so many more tours. Bob Fosse has had an effect on so many people.

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