AmRep Returns with Tap Dancing Celebration 'Chasing Magic'

Wednesday September 1, 2021

Anthony Morigerato, John Manzari, Ayodele Casel, and Naomi Funaki performing "Caravan." Photo: Kurt Csolak
Anthony Morigerato, John Manzari, Ayodele Casel, and Naomi Funaki performing "Caravan." Photo: Kurt Csolak  

American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University announced today the creative team and company of artists for the live premiere of "Ayodele Casel: Chasing Magic."

Tickets are on sale for The New York Times Critic's Pick, featuring Casel and an ensemble of dancers and musicians and directed by Torya Beard.  
 
"Chasing Magic" will play at the Loeb Drama Center in Harvard Square, September 25 - October 9, 2021.

"A tap dancer and choreographer of extraordinary depth" (The New York Times), trailblazing tap dancer Ayodele Casel captures the spark of connection and creation in "Chasing Magic," performed live on stage for the first time since its virtual premiere in spring 2021. "A triumph" (The New Yorker) exploring the magic of tap dance and everyday life, this joyous production celebrates gratitude, friendship, trust, legacy, culture, ancestors, and collaboration. 
 
"Astonishing! Casel's joyful and generous spirit is as vivid as ever. The theater has never looked so fresh, so full of promise." - The New York Times Critic's Pick
 
"The magic is real." - DanceTabs
 
"My mission is always the same, and that is for people to feel the love that I have," says Casel. "I want to invite people to feel what I feel, and to appreciate it and to recognize it in themselves. If you see joy in me, it's because you have that in your life or you want that in your life. That's the magic that I'm chasing, that I think we're all chasing. We have it in us, and it's worthy of pursuit. It's worthy of acknowledgement. It's worthy of our attention. That our show will be the first in that space since the pandemic closed A.R.T. is so special to me. I know I'm going to feel really grateful to be in a theater with folks, and I hope the audience feels the same exact way."
 
Casel will be joined on stage by the dancers who performed in the virtual premiere.
 
"Chasing Magic" will be performed on the set of "Macbeth In Stride," designed by Dan Soule (Drunk Shakespeare Off-Broadway; "Othello" at Trinity Rep. Lighting design is by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew ("ExtraOrdinary" at A.R.T.; "Gloria: A Life Off-Broadway"), and sound design is by Alex Giorgetti (Sound Supervisor and Recording, Mixing, Mastering Engineer for "Jack and the Beanstalk" at A.R.T.). Temma Richardson serves as the wardrobe stylist (clients include Ayodele Casel and international DJ Ryan Vandal). 
 
Ayodele Casel, "a tap dancer and choreographer of extraordinary depth" (The New York Times) and one of The New York Times' Biggest Breakout Stars of 2019, is currently serving as the artist-in-residence at New York's Little Island and its co-curator of September's Little Island Dance Festival with collaborator Torya Beard. A frequent New York City Center collaborator, she served as choreographer for "Really Rosie' for Encores! Off Center, a soloist for Jeanine Tesori's 'Jamboree," a soloist at "Fall Into Dance," and was the inaugural artist for their "On the Move" series.

Her one-woman show "While I Have the Floor" premiered at the Spoleto Arts Festival to rave reviews. Born in The Bronx and raised in Puerto Rico, Casel began her professional training at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Her origins in theater and love for storytelling and tap dance have significantly contributed to the narrative nature in her work, which is rooted in the expression of identity, culture, language, and communication. She is the recipient of the 2018 Artsmith Transcendence Award for championing arts education and the 2017 Hoofer Award. She was the 2019-2020 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and was the 2018-2019 dance artist in residence at Harvard. Casel was recently featured on a US Postal Service Forever Stamp and will provide tap choreography for the upcoming Broadway revival of "Funny Girl". 
 
Tickets from $25 are available at AmericanRepertoryTheater.org/ChasingMagic. Discounts are available to students and ticket-buyers under age 25, Blue Star families, EBT card holders, seniors, Harvard faculty and staff, and others. More information at AmericanRepertoryTheater.org/PlanYourVisit.
 
Audience, artist, and staff safety is A.R.T.'s top priority. The theater is taking many steps to protect against COVID-19. Enhanced ventilation, universal masking, vaccination, and testing are critical cornerstones of our multi-layered mitigation efforts that prioritize the safety of our community. Visit A.R.T.'s website for a full list of current ticketing and attendance protocols and procedures: AmericanRepertoryTheater.org/Covid19Protocols.