Jump Rhythm Jazz Project Brief Run (Theater) Critic's Choice Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Feb. 18-20 2010

JRJP's 20th-anniversary program offers plenty of the company's unique mix of percussive movement, scatlike vocalizing, and musical theater, but two premieres by artistic director Billy Siegenfeld take off in new directions. In Why Gershwin? Siegenfeld juxtaposes "S'Wonderful" with James Brown's "The Payback" and manages to create some emotional continuity between the two. The dance opens with the Godfather of Soul on the box, backing a sexy/funny duet by Siegenfeld and Amanda Benzin--he's fast, funky, and supercocky while she glides around, icy as Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. Later a crooning, dancing chorus of four urges them to get into the swing of the Gershwin song, which is surprisingly easy to do. Based on a Mary Oliver poem, You Do Not Have to Be Good uses JRJP's trademark vocalizing to support the shifting tone of the narrative, as guttural, spit-out bursts of sound change to joyful, harmonious counterpoint. Works from the repertory, including Siegenfeld's Poppy and Lou and God of Dirt, round out the program. --Laura Molzahn

Price: $24-$28 (Saturday gala $75)

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