Tanairi Vazquez is a true Broadway triple threat. A current member of the Broadway cast of Hamilton, she has created roles for esteemed choreographers from Josh Bergasse to Sergio Trujillo. Since 2009, she has created roles in five Broadway productions. Her virtuosity ranges from hop hop to salsa. Yet, she has never played a leading role. Until now.
Next week, The Muny will mount the first professional production of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway in nearly 30 years. Last week, the full cast of 50 performers was revealed. Among them are a handful of experienced Broadway ensemblists taking on iconic principal roles, some for the first time. Vazquez, who performed in the ensemble of Broadway’s most recent revival of West Side Story, will play Anita at The Muny.
Leeds Hill, who performed in the most recent Broadway revival of Cabaret, is returning to The Muny stage where he performed in Beauty and the Beast, Damn Yankees and Footloose. This summer, he will be taking on the role of Ozzie in the On The Town suite that opens Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. “I’m thrilled to return to The Muny,” he notes. “They gave me my Equity Card back in 2010, for which I am incredibly grateful. I’m excited to return to a theatre I love in a town I love to learn and perform iconic choreography and celebrate a milestone for both Jerome Robbins’ Broadway and The Muny.”
In the show, Hill, Vazquez and others will perform some of Robbins’ most iconic dance suites from On The Town, Billion Dollar Baby, Peter Pan, High Button Shoes and Call Me Madam. This wide array of choreographic styles is one of the reasons so many Broadway veterans have joined this company.
“Robbins has a vast repertoire of work that spans many different styles and cultures,” notes Hill, “from West Side Story to Fiddler On The Roof to The King and I. He’s able to evolve and adapt his own style to fit each specific show to tell the story.”
In addition to performing these well-known ballets, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway also includes lesser known dance suites from his Broadway productions of High Button Shoes and Billion Dollar Baby. “I’m looking forward to seeing his other choreographic work from shows he’s done,” admits Vazquez.
“What makes Jerome Robbins’ choreography so iconic is the storytelling within the dance,” says Leeds Hill. “The plot doesn’t stop when it’s time to dance, it is furthered. Yes, this had been done before, but the way in which Robbins made every move, every gesture, every turn of the head part of the way of telling the story is what makes his choreography so iconic.”
“The specificity, clarity and musicality of each step and how it syncs almost perfectly with the music,” continues Vazquez. “You truly feel the passion behind the movement once it’s in your body.”
Robbins’ unmistakable style is being brought to life by director and choreographer Cynthia Onrubia, who assisted Robbins on the original Broadway production of the show. “I’m also excited to work with Cynthia again,” says Hill. “We worked together on the Broadway and touring production of Cabaret. And since she was in the original cast of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, I’ll get to learn the choreography secondhand. It is a real honor.”
Along with Hill and Vazquez, the company spans to include both Broadway powerhouses like Rob McClure and Jenny Powers, and recent college graduates such as Davis Wayne and Kyle Samuel. “I’m so excited to be working with this ensemble of incredibly talented and hardworking performers. I know we’re going to do Jerome Robbins’ iconic choreography justice because of the high caliber of the performers and the incredible direction we will be under.”
“It’s going to be such a learning experience to watch all of these actors at their best,” says Vazquez. “I cannot wait to share the stage with all of them and bring Jerome Robbins’ Broadway back to life this season.”