Eisenhower show 'Thank You, Gregory!' to pay tribute to tap legends

September 11, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- Emmy Award winner Jason Samuels Smith plus eight other leading dancers, video montages, music and narrative combine to celebrate tap dance’s history, artistry and rhythms in "Thank You, Gregory!" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, in Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium.

Tickets for the Center for the Performing Arts presentation are $36 for adults, $15 for a University Park student and $26 for a person 18 and younger. Buy tickets online at http://www.cpa.psu.edu or by phone at 814-863-0255. Outside the local calling area, dial 800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets also are available at four State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Penn State Tickets Downtown (weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), HUB-Robeson Center (weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Bryce Jordan Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

Written and choreographed by Tony Waag of the American Tap Dance Foundation, the show’s title honors the late dancer whose career united the previously separate and unequal branches of the tap family tree.

“Gregory Hines brought international attention to tap dance as an American art form,” Waag said, “as well as a positive, accessible, forward and inclusive mode of self expression.”

In addition to featured dancer Smith, other tappers in the show include Chloe Arnold, Michelle Dorrance, Dormeisha Sumbry-Edwards, Donovan Helma, Heather Holohan, Kendrick Jones, Brent McBeth and Melinda Sullivan.

The performance includes tributes to tap legends including Bill “Bojangles" Robinson, Ray Bolger, Ruby Keeler, Jeni Legon, Ann Miller, Eleanor Powell, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, the Nicholas Brothers, Charles “Honi” Coles, Brenda Bufalino and Hines. The two-act show is divided into segments that pay homage to the leading ladies of Hollywood, eccentrics and vaudeville, classic and class acts, kings of rhythm tap, swing tap, new visions and more.

This tour of "Thank You, Gregory!" is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program.

McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC sponsors the presentation. MAJIC 99 is the media sponsor. The Penn State International Dance Ensemble Endowment underwrites dance presentations. Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or local expert, is offered in Eisenhower Auditorium one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders.

Last Updated September 18, 2009