Filichia Features: Do You Want to Do DO YOU WANNA DANCE?

Filichia Features: Do You Want to Do DO YOU WANNA DANCE?

By Peter Filichia on September 21, 2018

MTI has never made a script as easily accessible as the one-act version of Do You Wanna Dance?

All 87 pages of the electronic script are fully available free of charge right here .

At first glance, the show would seem be non-stop choreographic fun.

At second glance, it could strike many as simplistic. It does, after all, take place in Snaphappy, Ohio and the family that does well in this town is the Duzwells.

Hold on, though. Do You Wanna Dance? One-Act Edition proves to people who think that musicals are simple stuff that they certainly aren't.

It's a true jukebox musical, for its songs actually did reside at one time in nickelodeons. The title tune was written in 1958. Then there's one song from the '60s and four each from the '70s and '80s.

One new song makes an appearance: "Why Can't I Dance?" by Mark Bryner and John Jacobson, who also wrote the libretto.

Snaphappy's citizens love to dance. Popular teen Delaney Duzwell is especially good- no surprise, considering that her parents run the local and very popular dance school.

Boyfriend Chad Lightfoot is light on his feet as is Delaney's best friend Emma (who does plenty of cartwheels. Plenty). However, Lucas, the school's wide receiver on whom Emma's got her eye, is one who won't dance - don't ask him.

Chad's dad Pete is Snaphappy's mayor. He'd been a widower for five years until he'd met Mona. His new wife had no idea that Snaphappy is consumed by dance and is dead set against it. At a May Day celebration, she literally pulls the plug on the dancing by cutting off the sound system's electricity.

If that isn't enough, Mona bullies Pete into imposing a tax on anyone who'd found dancing. The town needs money, so Pete agrees - and the Duzwells lose their livelihood.

Many of the teens protest by dancing, wind up in jail and must be rescued by parents who are angry at their civil disobedience. Mona demands that the tax be increased, and while Pete goes along with that, too, he does ask his wife why she's so against dancing.

The truth comes out: Mona's mother was a dance teacher who had constantly criticized her young daughter for having two left feet that just weren't right. Mona is still traumatized from the castigation.

True, the message of "Don't harshly criticize your children's efforts" is a fine one, but the show has more on its mind than that, as the next scenes prove.

The school's principal reluctantly decrees that there will no dancing at graduation - and tries to spin the decision by saying the school will have "a quiet and dignified ceremony."

Then Delaney has a brainstorm. She tells the school's athletes that "You guys are some of the best dancers in the entire school." To one she instructs "Show us that move you did last Friday night when you spun around that defender and went in for a perfect layup."

The lad replicates what he did in the game, spurring Delaney to point out "In the dance world, that's a pirouette and a jeté."

One girl reminds a baseball player about "that warm-up routine you do before you step into the batter's box?" He asks if she means "My tap, tap, scuff, scuff, hitch my belt, tip my hat and slide forward?"

He's just proved the lass' point: "That's like the greatest country line dance I've ever seen." Emma also teaches Lucas that what he does on the gridiron would be welcome on a dance floor.

At the graduation, the kids don't "dance," but do a whole lot of sports moves that are tantamount to dancing. That even allows Mona to get into the swing of things and - as you've probably predicted - all ends happily in Snaphappy.

But not before an important analogy is made between musical theater and sports. That ballet dancers could have careers in the National Basketball Association has often been alleged. Do You Wanna Dance? One-Act Edition reiterates that theory. You just might be able to convince boys to be in your production by telling them beforehand what the show has to say.

Interested? Read the show and you may very well decide that you'll want to do Do You Wanna Dance? One-Act Edition.


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