Tappin’ Thru Life

Energy, expertise and the love of performing are electric in this captivating history of Maurice (and his brother Gregory) Hines as they “tapped their way” through life from childhood to 72 (as Maurice admits). Sadly Gregory is long gone, but his brother carries on with montages of “the old days,” an incredible all-woman (and all white, interestingly enough) jazz orchestra and three other tap performers who alternate each night. We experienced the excellent, strong Manzari brothers and a rising star, Dario Natarelli (in his 20s). They alternate with the Ruth sisters (this “family thing” must be catching).

While the story line is true to the ugly times of black exclusionism as they traveled through various “ports of call” to entertain, Maurice is never maudlin. He just states/shows the facts and moves on, making it clear that despite barricades and “No Coloreds” signs, he was welcome almost everywhere and had a “helluva good time” being there. His friends –  Johnny Carson, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne were supportive and took good care of him and his brother on the road. Who comes through as the angel in his life is his mother, who saw to it that her two boys were going to be stars, and they were.

The one criticism might be that there was a LOT of history and not enough TAP, but when Maurice showed his stuff, it was clear that he was out of breath. Okay, Maurice, like so many of us, you’re “getting on,” but you gave us a terrific evening, and we thank you!

Barbara Tober

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