ITHACA, NY – Just when winter blues have settled in, Running to Places (R2P) offers a joyful Winter Showcase to lift the spirits. The show, fun for all ages, runs Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Ithaca High School’s Kulp Auditorium, 1401 N. Cayuga St.
“For our Winter Showcase we picked a wide range of exuberant songs from some of our favorite musicals,” says Joey Steinhagen, R2P artistic director. “Our approach to choosing the numbers was, when in doubt, go with bigger, faster and funnier.”
Many of the songs are from shows that R2P hasn’t put on because the cast would be too small for the growing number of youth who audition for R2P, now that participation is entirely free. “A showcase gave us the flexibility to choose songs that spotlight company members’ specific talents in a way that a conventional show can’t,” says Steinhagen.
Those talents are in full display in numbers like “What Is This Feeling,” from Wicked, and “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Show.
The closing number will be “Freak Flag” from Shrek, a full-throated anthem to individuality, self-expression and love, says Steinhagen. “It’s everything we try to encourage at R2P. For us, it’s not enough to be ‘tolerant’ of differences – it’s about celebrating each other for who we are. Like the song says, ‘It's time to stop the hiding. It's time to stand up tall./Sing hey world, I'm different, and here I am splinters and all!’”
The Winter Showcase creative team includes two choreographers, Tucker Davis and Harmony Malone, and two music directors, Jeremy Pletter and Ginny Maddock, working in tandem. The dancing runs the gamut of styles, scaled to be fun and impressive while being completely accessible to performers of a vast range of skill levels.
The high-energy number “Dancing on the Sidewalk,” from Fame, will be a tribute to R2P company alumnus DeJour Gandy, who was killed on Dec. 7. Gandy was in R2P’s original production of Fame; “he was there on day one of R2P,” says Steinhagen. “The number expresses the joy and love of performing that he brought to the company and is our way to honor him.”
The show is supported by Cayuga Medical Center and Squeaky Clean Car Wash, with season-long support from CSP Management.
The two performances are Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 pm, and Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 pm. Tickets are $17 general admission, $13 for students and seniors and $25 for Priority VIP, which includes reserved seating (best available in order of ticket purchase). Tickets are available on-line at www.runningtoplaces.org.