Saturday, September 8, 2007

Amazing Broadway Performer: Michael Berresse

I was mesmerized when walking out of Kiss Me, Kate on Broadway. What a fantastic show! And Michael Berresse, what a fantastic performer!

Prior to this, I don’t think I had really seen a Broadway show where it featured significant dancing of this type—numbers that weren’t largely driven by an entire chorus on stage. Michael Berresse was phenomenal as Bill Calhoun, and I left the (then) Martin Beck Theatre in awe of his multiple talents.

First of all, what a dancer! Unfortunately, our society nowadays—due to inaccurate stereotypes from all sorts of sources—characterizes male dance as less-than-masculine, despite the obvious physicality required to pull off lifts and all those crazy things dancers do that I can’t name. I loved that Michael Berresse gave Bill Calhoun a distinct masculinity in his movement. Even excellent dancers can lose character in their great desire to have perfect form. Somehow, Michael Berresse blended form and characterization perfectly. In watching the DVD in which Michael Berresse recreates his New York role, he truly comes across as one of those great dancers from “back in the day.” It was like he danced right out of one of those wonderful Technicolor musical spectaculars and onto the Martin Beck stage.

Best of all, Berresse is a triple threat. As you can tell, I love triple threats (though, don’t we all). I love hearing him on the Kiss Me, Kate CD, and he knocked that role out of the park in acting it. I vividly recall seeing him deliver just the first few lines and having a strong grasp of Bill Calhoun’s character.

After I saw the show, there was quite a line of people outside the stage door. If I wasn’t already in awe of Michael Berresse, he was also so incredibly kind outside of the stage door. There were all these dance girls on vacation, Broadway fanatics like myself, and average Joes in the audience all wanting to meet him, and he was so incredibly kind, gracious, and genuine to everyone.

I actually sat through all of A.I. to see Michael Berresse, who was great in his small role. If anyone reading this saw that movie, they know what a sacrifice that was!

Likewise, I’m not super-interested in seeing A Chorus Line as a show (though, maybe that community theatre production I experienced just didn’t do the concept justice), but I would go in a heartbeat for the chance to see Michael Berresse dance (and sing and act) in person again.

Getting to Know You Interview:

the Broadway Mouth
September 8, 2007

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