Subways Are for Dancing - Part 6

(This is the sixth and final installment--check out the first, second, third, fourth and fifth--in a series about choreographer Diego Funes' work on a NYC revival of the musical Subways Are For Sleeping.)

A tiny stage can pack a lot of pizzazz. That's what Diego Funes, choreographer for Subways Are For Sleeping, discovered opening night. His talented cast filled the Duplex Theater with unrestrained energy.

What he feared might be his greatest limitation—a stage the size of a conference room table with a baby grand perched on it—proved, instead, to be an extraordinary asset. "Because the theater is so small, the audience and the cast are forced into this very tight relationship," he said. "It's in-your-face performance."

With little more than a few chairs for props, a couple of scarves, some Santa suits for costumes, and the cutest pint-sized stuffed puppy, the cast transports the audience through a labyrinth of New York city scenes: subway cars racing through tunnels, busy street corners, a park bench, Grand Central Station, even the Egyptian wing in the Metropolitan Museum.

"It all came together," Diego says. "The performers were able to create the illusion of the different scenes without a set." He was especially delighted to hear the audience laughing vigorously during the big, comedic numbers such as "I Was a Shoo-In," a burlesque in which one of the characters explains that she should have won the Miss Mississippi contest, and "I Just Can't Wait", a passionate Tango-esque declaration of love.

What's next for Diego? "Focusing on my classes," he promptly responds. "And preparing my company for a show next fall." He's currently choreographing two premieres and scouting out theater venues.

Subways Are For Sleeping will be playing November 8-11 at The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street, New York City. For more information, click here. And be sure to catch Diego's contemporary, musical theater and stretch classes at Peridance, Ballet Arts, Dance Designs and MMAC!

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