The Nance - meet choreographer Stefan Sittig!
Tell us a little about yourself. I am the choreographer for The Nance and very excited to be working on this production! This is my 8th show with LTA and my 2nd time working with Frank Shutts, after In The Heights back in 2015 (which was an amazing experience all around!) I have directed and/or choreographed nearly 80 productions, and while I did have a lot of offers that conflicted with this, I jumped at the chance to work on this piece and with Frank (and producer Mary Beth Smith Toomey) again! I couldn’t turn this opportunity down! I have worked on shows Off-Broadway, internationally, regionally up and down the East coast, as well as for dozens of colleges/universities and community theatres and I always seem to come back to LTA. The level of professionalism and collaboration is so high for a community theatre. It’s very impressive.
How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on? As much as I love musicals, I always find that projects that are less traditional, be they plays with music, or shows that use music/dance in an original way, are always the most challenging for me, and often bring out the best of my work. This show fits perfectly into that category. The Nance is about so many things, but in terms of style, it is a show about the end of vaudeville and burlesque. I have always found the late 30s to be one of my favorite time periods in terms of dance and theatre. The vaudeville part comes a bit more naturally to me, perhaps because of my lengthy background in “hoofin”/tap dancing and musical theatre, but the burlesque acts I had to research. I watched over 100 hours of footage of vintage burlesque dancers to get a feel of the style the ladies in the show would be using during their numbers. I loved every moment of it—I feel it’s added another skill set to my repertoire. I mean, “ya gotta get a gimmick” right? (Hope most of the readers get my Gypsy reference!)
What made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA? Next year will mark my 40th year of being involved in theatre in some way or another. I first stepped onto the stage as a young boy in a production of The Lottery and then, shortly after, my first musical, L’il Abner. I just loved it all! Singing, dancing and acting—all at once! I was hooked from then on. I first came to LTA in 2006, when Joanna Henry asked me to choreograph Into The Woods. That was such a wonderful experience – and a great cast, several of them ended up on Broadway! It was truly a magical time. And since then I’ve worked on The Rocky Horror Show, A Streetcar Named Desire, In The Heights, West Side Story, Anything Goes (also director) and Legally Blonde all at LTA. It’s been a great ride!
What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show? The Nance is unlike any other show I’ve ever worked on. It’s not quite a play, it’s not quite a musical. It lives somewhere in that in-between world. It also has a really strong message about being true to yourself, accepting who you are, and surviving during difficult times. I think it has a lot to say to today’s audiences. Plus, the cast is absolutely amazing, they are stunning in their portrayals, all of them, in a different way, take my breath away in rehearsals! It’s a definite must see!
For more on Stefan and his work, go to www.stefansittig.com