Showing posts with label Dance Inspired by Divas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dance Inspired by Divas. Show all posts

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:



All photos by Josh Hawkins
Chicago Tap Theatre Celebrates the Conclusion of Pride Month and Returns to the Athenaeum for an All-new Program of Dance Inspired by Divas and Featuring Live Music by the JC Brooks Band, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus and other Special Guests

Artistic Director Mark Yonally and Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) present Tapped for the Very First Time at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave.,  Saturday, June 23 and Friday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tapped for the Very First Time coincides with the end of Pride month and is a celebration of divas and their music that have inspired all of us to dance for decades including Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, Madonna and others. Tapped for the Very First Time is hosted by the incomparable Mattrick Swayze and has performances with all new arrangements and live music by the JC Brooks Band and featuring special appearances by the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus. 

Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the running time is two hours with one fifteen minute intermission. Tickets are $24 - $65 for reserved admission seating and may be purchased at or by calling 773-935-6875 or at the door. Group discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more. A preview rehearsal is open to the press at the Joel Hall Dance Center, 5965 N. Clark St. on Sunday, June 10 at 2 p.m.

“Two years ago we presented our first Pride-focused evening, We Will Tap You, to the music of Queen, and it was a HUGE success,” said Artistic Director Yonally. Indeed, that year’s production ended up on the Chicago Tribune and Windy City Times “10 Best Dance Events of the Year” list, with the Chicago Tribune saying, “an entertainment that, in under two hours, brought everybody to a new plane of joy and love.” Also, worth noting, three of the four reviews specifically asked for this to be an annual production!

“To make the 2018 performances even bigger, we have added the JC Brooks Band who are arranging and performing the music live. If you have never seen JC Brooks in person, you are in for a treat. I am also thrilled to be partnering with the Athenaeum Theatre to present TWO performances this year,” Yonally continued.

“Audiences who saw “We Will Tap You” remember CTT”s big over-the-top moments with unexpected guest artists, humor and passion. They have chosen to reprise the Act One closing scene, “Somebody to Love,” which left the audience and even many on stage with tears running down their face. Showcasing artists such as  Cher, Chaka Kahn, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner and others, gives the company many opportunities for more over the top madness and rhythmic sublimity.”

Chicago Tap Theatre is also pleased to bring back one of the most talked-about elements of We Will Tap You - host Mattrick Swayze. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Gay pride…reached new heights here, thanks in part to the extensive contributions of Swayze, backed by the Swayzettes. Truly funny, outrageously sexy, he not only offered various factoids on Freddie Mercury (which he found on the internet, so of course "they're all true!") but devised burlesque vignettes”

Tapped for the Very First Time features choreography by Mark Yonally and Kirsten Uttich. Dancers include Mark Yonally, Jennifer Yonally, Kirsten Uttich, Isaac Stauffer, Aimee Chase, Sara Anderson, Emily Broeker, Bailey Caves, Anabel Watson and Chris Matthews. Music will be arranged and performed by the JC Brooks Band, with guest artists including the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, the Lakeside Pride Freedom Marching Band and many surprise guests.

Mark Yonally is currently the artistic director of Chicago Tap Theatre, one of the most critically well-regarded companies in Chicago. Yonally has developed a national and international reputation as a performer, with solo performances in Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Amsterdam and Paris. He has been blessed to have Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker, Bill Evans and Billy Siegenfeld as mentors. As a company member of the Bill Evans Dance Company and Especially Tap Chicago (ETC), Yonally performed at such prestigious festivals as the St. Louis Tap Festival, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, the Gus Giordano Jazz Dance World Congress and at the Royal Opera House in Helsinki, Finland. Furthermore, Yonally has gained the plaudits of major dance critics for his innovative approach to tap choreography. His works have been commissioned and performed by the Bill Evans Dance Company, ETC and Hope College, among others. Yonally also maintains a longstanding professional relationship with Valérie Lussac, Artistic Director of Tapage of Toulouse, France. Yonally is a noted educator and has taught at festivals throughout the U.S. and has served on the faculty at Oklahoma City University and Hope College. He is sought after for his multidisciplinary approach to tap teaching, which includes history, basic music theory and an emphasis on jazz music, and has taught in France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States. Yonally is also a published author, with pieces appearing in Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine.

Mattrick Swayze AKA Matthew Hollis is a long-time friend and fan of Chicago Tap Theatre.  As a dancer, Swayze has had the pleasure of performing for Hedwig Dances, The Seldoms, Joe Goode Performance Group and Mary Zimmerman.  As a choreographer, he has been a recipient of The Chicago Dancemakers Forum Grant and has presented his work throughout the world.  As a fitness expert, Swayze is a personal trainer and the co-creator of POMSQUAD Fitness which has been featured on WGN “Midday Fix,” NBC’s “1st Look” and WCIU’s “You  & Me in the Morning.”  Swayze is also a sassy mouthed high heel wearing host and late night fixture with The Chicago Dance Crash’s long running dance battle KTF. Mattrick recently competed on Wheel of Fortune, where he won fabulous cash and prizes.

JC Brooks is a musician and actor who's main pastime is writing love letters to the Chicago arts scene. He makes a unique brand of "indiesoul" with some of Chicago's best musicians in an eponymous project (formerly The Uptown Sound). Sometimes you can catch him with electro-r&b duo, the K.i.D., or as a solo singer/poet.  He's played several Chicago venues from sweaty dance parties at the gritty Door#3 to laidback cabaret nights at City Winery to a sold out House Of Blues. Beyond Chicago he's been tapped for a week-long residency in Brooklyn at a one-of-a-kind multimedia salon called Nightcap Riot and also to play in Milan for its mayor's reception dinner for their new sister city, Chicago. He'll be releasing a brand new EP this upcoming April- find out where you can catch him at:

Founded in 2002, Chicago Tap Theatre is a growing and vibrant dance company dedicated to preserving the quintessentially American dance form of tap while taking it to the next level of creativity, innovation and quality. CTT performs exclusively with live music provided by some of Chicago’s finest musicians playing everything from Duke Ellington to David Bowie and many artists in between. Under the dynamic direction of master teacher and performer Mark Yonally, CTT has gained a loyal and sizable following in Chicago and continues to tour both nationally and internationally. Having pioneered the “tap opera” format, which tells stories with compelling characters and intriguing plots, CTT has used the language of tap dance, live music and narration to move Chicago audiences for over 10 years.

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