NEW YORK (PIX11) — The genius behind the intricate numbers in the hit Broadway show “The Music Man” is choreographer Warren Carlyle.
Carlyle said he had time to dream about the choreography and had time to work with Hugh Jackman, who is a gift of all gifts. But during the pandemic they never did anything on Zoom; everything was done in the rehearsal studio when they were able to return.
The pandemic-delayed Broadway musical is now delighting packed houses and the show has its own unique personality that is different from the movie.
Carlyle said he looked at it as an original show and started on page one. So when he turned to the first page of the script and read the word “overture,” he thought, “What do I want to hear?” and that’s how he envisioned it.
And, when you add Sutton Foster and Hugh Jackman to the mix that creative process has no limits. As a choreographer, Carlyle said he thinks about Foster and Jackman and it’s like, “Wow, we can go to town on this.”
In the dance number “Shipoopi,” Jackman dances for eight minutes straight. Carlyle said there’s a beautiful part with their characters, Harold and Marian, in the finale where you see the two stars go head-to-head, and that the two of them as the leads is a gift as a choreographer.
While “The Music Man” is busy breaking box office records, Carlyle is already on to his next production.
The day after the show opened, he began rehearsal for the show “Harmony.” It’s an incredible story about a group that becomes more famous than the Beatles. It’s wildly compelling; Barry Manilow did an original score, Bruce Sussman wrote the book, and Carlyle is directing and choreographing it.
Carlyle said comparing all the different shows he has done is kind of like comparing broccoli and M&Ms — it’s a crazy kind of diet. He said the transition from one show to another is tricky sometimes. He feels like he is putting on a different coat — a big shiny band leader coat for “The Music Man” and a kind of truthful, rigorous, and honest coat for “Harmony.”