‘Doors Didn’t Open Easily’ On ‘Cinderella’ Road

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Ensemble roles in Broadway shows (“Miss Saigon,” “Guys and Dolls,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”) followed, and soon Hunter began working as a dance captain, able to teach choreography as an ensemble member. every character. While performing in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 2002, director Rob Ashford asked her to be her choreography partner.

“JoAnn was always the smartest person in the room and the best dancer, and I knew she would be invaluable,” Ashford said in a phone interview. Hunter, who had just been divorced, wasn’t so sure. (He said his first response was “aaarghhhh”) But he had to take his chance.

“He’s a real problem solver and a great collaborator,” Ashford said. “In a musical, a choreographer has to get inside a director’s head and translate that vision into his creations. It was always about the goals of the show. ”

Director Michael Mayer, who hired Hunter to oversee Bill T. Jones’ “Spring Awakening” choreography in 2006, said in a phone call that one of his greatest gifts was “understanding why the steps are there, what the characters are trying to do.” achieve through movement and how the movement dialogues with the rest of the show even though he hasn’t done the moves at that point.

Hunter’s first independent choreography for a musical was for the 2008 production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in the USA. “I remember thinking I would never know until I tried it,” Hunter said. “And if I’m bad, not many people will see it!”

When asked if this kind of insecurity is particularly common among women, Hunter looked thoughtful. Maybe, he said. “Men tend to try things out without worry if they have experience.” She added that the scarcity of female choreographers on Broadway hasn’t helped her self-confidence.

Although there are relatively few female choreographers working on Broadway, that is starting to change: Camille A. Brown, Michelle Dorrance, Ellenore Scott, and Ayodele Casel are choreographing upcoming Broadway shows. Hunter agreed that women were now a little more visible in musical theatre. “As a dancer, it’s great to think that I’ve only ever worked with two female directors, Susan Stroman and Tina Landau,” she said. “Right now these issues are in the front of our brains like racial diversity. I hope it is something permanent, not a fad.”

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