Monday, March 23, 2015



By day, these dedicated troupers are teachers of third grade, special education, Spanish, math and reading, full time students, IT specialists and managers, physical therapists, parents, a dentist and one professional dancer.  Under the direction and encouragement of Darlene Zoller, they all become professional dancers and the proof is in the pudding stirred to perfect confection in "DIGITS Dig It!," a new show by the stop/time Dance Theater, the resident dance company of West Hartford's Playhouse on Park.

Until Sunday, March 29, this truly talented troupe will explode with energy and enthusiasm and Cheshire Cat grins as they perform this show conceived, directed and choreographed by Ms. Zoller.  These dancers with a passion for movement have willingly entered "Darleneland" and boy, do they have a lot of rhapsody and rhythm to show for it.

With a theme of digits as fingers, Zoller originally collaborated with composer and pianist Sean Pallatroni, bouncing musical ideas as "a series of musical puns" surrounding the number of things you can do with your hands.  Exploring the concept of one digit, two digits, three digits (well, you get the idea), the pair worked out songs and numbers that fit the concept.  As Sean so quaintly put it, "God, I hope this works."

Fortunately and fortuitously, work it does.  Beginning with one as the "loneliest number that there ever was," we meet a solitary dancer, Spencer Pond, who initially delights in having studio time all to himself.  He resents the intrusion of other hoofers who disturb his privacy and he sends his jazzy invaders scurrying away.

The two dozen ensuing numbers include an original words and music by Sean Pallatroni that serenades the Great White Way, with Rick Fountain crooning "King of Manhattan."  Victoria Mooney strikes an apologetic pose in Cole Porter's deliciously irreverent "Miss Otis Regrets" about a woman who can't come to lunch because she has shot her lover and has been punished, permanently.

Standards like "Too Darn Hot" and "Bye, Bye, Blackbird" sizzle and snap, flutter and fly, while numbers like "Queen Bee" rhythmically explore the insect world.  "Cinema Italiano" sparkles with sleekness and shine. The dance company also includes the creative moves of Michael Barker, Jennifer Bunger, Lisa Caffyn, Lynsey Chartier, Beckie Correale, Amelia Flater, Constance Gobeille, Laurie Misenti, Erica O'Keefe, Sheri Righi, Melissa B. Shannon, Alicia Voukides and Courtney Woods. DeMara Cabrera's primary color set resembles a flattened Rubix's Cube in the style of "Laugh In" while Lisa Steier's costumes light up each dramatic staging with dazzling effects.

For tickets ($25-35), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860-523-5900, ext. 10 or online at  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. (with a talk back with the cast).

So whether your "life is just a bowl of cherries," way "cool," or packed with "uptown funk," let the stop/time Dance Theater show off their spectacular moves and grooves, jazz hands and tap feet and all.

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