Melanie Moore in Al Blackstone’s ‘Freddie Falls In Love.’ Photo credit: Al Blackstone.
Choreographer Al Blackstone may be widely known for his Emmy nominated work on Fox’s ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, but the superstar dance maker has actually been making waves in the New York City dance world for years.
‘Freddie Falls In Love,’ — Blackstone’s latest piece which premiered at The Joyce in New York City last week — is continuing to up the esteemed choreographer’s reputation for creating exciting and thoughtful theatrical-based dance.
Derived from a piece that was originally choreographed for Dancer’s Responding To AIDS for the 2016 Fire Island Dance Festival, ‘Freddie Falls In Love’ is described as a “Broadway-style dance play” that “joyfully brings audiences along on a young man’s journey of self-discovery told solely through movement.”
The idea for the piece, Blackstone said, came from a page out of his own life story.
“I had this image of a guy sitting on a couch, unable to move on because his heart's been broken, and a bunch of other ideas started to form around it,” Blackstone told the Theatre Development Fund in an interview. “Then I started thinking about people who would be playing these parts. It just unfolded that way. It started out being about me, but of course, as it developed, it became about many other things. But it was born from a feeling that I had, and from wanting to tell a story about someone who learns to be happy being alone.”
Lindsay Janisse and the cast of ‘Freddie Falls In Love’. Photo credit: Marc J. Franklin.
The music for the piece is based around a 21 song mixtape style sound-track.
"It's all inspired by the idea of mix CDs," Blackstone continued in the interview. "When I was in high school, I made mix CDs and gave them out as gifts. So it's about how you can have a selection of songs that all relate to the same period of your life. I loved the idea of these songs that don't really belong together.”
The full-length dance piece features 'SYTYCD' Season 8 winner Melanie Moore as the leading female character. Moore stars alongside Broadway veteran Matt Doyle, and a cast of some of New York City’s best dance and theatre performers.
Melanie Moore in ‘Freddie Falls In Love’. Video courtesy: Al Blackstone/Marc Cardarelli.
Moore, a fan favorite and winner of Season 8 on 'SYTYCD', was nominated for a Fred Astaire Award — now the Chita Rivera Awards — for her work as Peter Pan in the Sonya Tayeh choreographed musical ‘Finding Neverland’. She also performed in the 2015 Broadway revival of ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ and the Tony award-winning 2017 revival production of ‘Hello, Dolly!’.
Both Moore and her co-star Matt Doyle — who’s known for his work in Broadway’s ‘Book Of Mormon’ and ‘Spring Awakening’ — are reprising their roles from the 2016 Fire Island Dance Festival staging.
Melanie Moore and Matt Doyle. Photo credit: Justin Chao.
Blackstone choreographed on seasons 12, 13, 14, and 15 of 'SYTYCD' and has worked as an associate to fellow choreographer Sonya Tayeh on a number of Off-Broadway and pre-Broadway productions. Blackstone’s work has also been seen regionally at theaters around the US and throughout New York City at the Schimmel Center, The Signature, and at numerous charitable concerts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The two-week limited engagement run is scheduled now through August 4th at the Joyce Theatre in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. For tickets, information, and more on ‘Freddie Falls In Love,’ visit the Joyce Theatre's website, here.
Dance Network recently caught up with ‘Freddie Falls In Love’ cast member Tiare Keeno at the NYCDA National Event earlier this summer.