Starting 1/25/19, 7:30:00 pm: The Full Monty

Erin Helm

About Me…

From as early as I can remember I was watching old movie-musicals, most notably, the movie musicals of Gene Kelly. I dreamed about doing what he did so my parents enrolled me in studio dance classes at the tender age of three. They also enrolled me in theatre classes where I studied Viola Spolin’s theatre games. Throughout my 14 years of studio and private lessons I received intensive training in ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary.

After high school I began courses at the University of Iowa as a theatre and dance major. I was then given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to New York City and attend an invitation-only workshop with Tony winning choreographer, Christopher Gattelli (Newsies, My Fair Lady 2018, etc.). After this incredible experience learning the Broadway choreography and dancing alongside the Newsboys of the production, I got word I was accepted into The Performing Arts Project at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. There I studied choreography, dance, and theatre from an amazing staff of Broadway professionals, highlights below. The dance faculty included talents such as two-time Tony nominee and Olivier Award Winner, Gavin Creel, Tyler Hanes (Cats, On The Town, Hairspray, Sweet Charity, Choreographer – “Dancing with the Stars”), Ryan Kasprazak (Bandstand, Billy Elliot, Fosse, Choreographer – “So You Think You Can Dance,” NBC’s “Smash”), Andrew Palermo (OBC Wicked, Choreographer – Broadway production of Allegiance, co-founder with Taye Diggs of dre.dance), Diedra Goodwin (Broadway – A Chorus Line 2006 Revival, Nine, Chicago, Funny Girl, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rocky Horror Picture Show. Movies – “Every Little Step,” Chicago), Susan Misner (Movies – “Chicago,” TV – “The Americans,” “Nashville,” “Gossip Girl”), as well as, many other notable artists.

Since returning to Iowa I have performed in many productions. I have worked as assistant to Aaron Canterbury on a number of productions, choreographed TCR’s Annie alongside Anna Slife, and most recently I choreographed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Approach/Style…

If I had to put it into a few words I would say “collaborative story telling.” My first concern is always the story, what does the audience need to learn and experience from this performance? Dance adds to the visual spectacle of musical theatre, but but it should always serve the story. I believe the audience should see something progress in the plot and characters in each number. I work closely with the director and music director to create a cohesive show, all three elements working together. I love dance and helping others discover they too can dance. The volunteer experience is incredibly important to me. In my time performing at TCR I know people come here to enjoy friends, create art, and grow! As a choreographer I want to help performers grow and feel proud. We will have loads of fun and come out feeling accomplished when that curtain closes.

Thoughts on My Fair Lady and The Full Monty

Saying the titles alone gets me excited. What iconic shows. My Fair Lady …“On the Street Where You Live” has always been a favorite song of my father’s. I have many happy memories of him singing along to it and I’m sure I haven’t heard the last of him pretending to be Eliza when she finally figures out that “Rain in Spain.” This show holds a special place in my heart and I can’t wait for it to open up the season. The Full Monty is just plain fun. This show is is a fun departure from the classic style of My Fair Lady, and working with very different styles this season is exciting to me. I cannot wait to step out of my comfort zone with the cast and dive into a more adult type of choreography…if you catch my drift. I am also excited to work with Angie Toomsen and Benjamin Schmidt once again and to get the chance to work with Cameron Sullenberger and Cavan Hallman for the first time!

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