When Twyla Tharp’s “Movin’ Out” opened at the Shubert in Chicago in August 2002, it was burned by the critics. Something had to be done. Tharp did it by taking a deep breath, looking at the show blinklessly, clarifying the story line and characters, then ruthlessly reworking it. But the show also had to live down the carnage left by the Chicago critics before it dared open on Broadway. Since “Movin’ Out” was a Broadway show in the form of a ballet, Twyla convinced the Nederlanders to hire us. Our strategy was to reach out to her legions of fans in the dance press in an effort to speak about the radical changes she made. I remember sitting in New York’s Richard Rogers Theater for weeks as she sipped cappuccino after cappuccino (“skim milk only, please”) rapidly taking notes on yellow legal pads while watching the stage with hawk-like intensity, intermittently racing down the aisle, pointing to the dancers, calling out changes, sometimes demonstrating, then jumping and clapping her hands gleefully as the dancers realized her wishes. The media came through with volumes of advance print, television, and radio coverage followed by rams of reviews that acknowledged her genius in all its glory, as did the Tony she received in the spring.
Art form: Broadway