Pitsburgh Civic Light Opera's New Show's Got 'Swing!'
Carter, Alice T, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
With the experience from seven productions to draw on, Dana Solimando knows it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing.
That's why, as director and choreographer for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera production of "Swing!," she looks for performers who have experience with "Swing!" -- either the dance form or the show itself.
"Swing!" celebrates the big band era of the 1930s and '40s with a song and dance celebration of that era's best dance moves, such as the Lindy Hop, Jitterbug and, of course, Swing.
In creating "Swing!," its creator, Paul Kelly, filled the show with 30 dance friendly hits turned golden oldies that include "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "I'll Be Seeing You," "In the Mood" and, of course, "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)."
"I love this show. It's very nostalgic," says Solimando. "When I did it on Broadway, I did not have much Swing experience. I found it thrilling learning a whole new style of dance. I learned this whole new craft and got addicted. It's all about following your partner."
Since appearing in the show's 1999 Broadway debut production that received six Tony nominations and the national tour that followed, Solimando has continued her relationship with "Swing!"
The Civic Light Opera production that opens Saturday marks her fifth turn as director and choreographer.
Because the rehearsal period is a mere eight days, Solimando was particularly careful to choose performers who knew the show and/or the dance styles it features. …