Choreographers In Conversation: Dan Knechtges & Twyla Tharp
SDCF Podcast Series
We are excited to bring you a new podcast series, Choreographers in Conversation. This series will allow choreographers to interview other choreographers whose work excites them as a way to learn more about their craft and preserve the stories of these exciting artists in our industry. In this episode to kick off the series, Dan Knechtges interviews Twyla Tharp. The two cover everything from Twyla’s legendary theatrical work including MOVIN' OUT to her book THE CREATIVE HABIT and discuss how the legacy of her craft lives on. Learn more about Twyla Tharp at the Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation website. Twyla Tharp: Since graduating from Barnard College in 1963, Ms. Tharp has choreographed more than one hundred sixty works: one hundred twenty-nine dances, twelve television specials, six Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two figure skating routines, she has also written 4 books. She received one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, 20 honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President's Award, the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the 2008 Jerome Robbins Prize, and a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor. Her many grants include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Learn more about Twyla Tharp and her legacy through her foundation website. Dan Knechtges: Broadway – Lysistrata Jones (Direction & Choreography), Xanadu (directed by Chris Ashley, Tony nomination, Drama Desk nomination), Sondheim on Sondheim (directed by James Lapine), 110 in The Shade (starring Audra McDonald) and The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee (directed by James Lapine.) Off-Broadway – TAIL! SPIN! (starring Rachel Dratch), The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee at Second Stage, which earned him a Lucille Lortel Award nomination, Merrily We Roll Along for Encores! at City Center (directed by James Lapine), Vanities at Second Stage and Lysistrata Jones for the Transport Group, My Favorite Year (York Theater). International credits include Der Schuh Das Manitu (Berlin, Germany). Regional theatres include – The MUNY, Goodspeed, Dallas Theatre Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Papermill Playhouse, Trinity Rep, Pioneer Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Baltimore Centerstage, Theatreworks Palo Alto, Hangar Theatre. Indianapolis Opera, Opera Illinois, Surflight Theatre. TV/Film credits include Palindromes, Dark Horse and White Collar, and the 2011 TV Land Awards with Liza Minnelli. Dan also choreographed FatboySlim’s #1 music video “It’s a Wonderful Night.” Dan is a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and holds a BFA in theatre from Otterbein College.
In this episode of the podcast “Unwrap Your Candies Now,” Catherine Lu chats with Dan Knechtges, Artistic Director of Theatre Under The Stars, about the company’s recently-announced 2020 – 2021 season. Knechtges, a Tony-nominated director and choreographer, talks about the eclectic mix of national productions with major buzz and homegrown TUTS productions that celebrate Houston talent – and why it’s like a meal of tapas.Then, Ernie Manouse interviews Emilio Delgado, who played “Luis” on Sesame Street for over four decades. Delgado stars in The Alley Theatre’s production of Quixote Nuevo. Written by playwright Octavio Solis and directed by KJ Sanchez, the story is a reimagining of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, set in a fictional modern-day Texas border town. It runs January 17 – February 9.Share your comments, questions and ideas at UYCN@houstonpublicmedia.org.Music used: Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid Original Broadway Cast Recording
Houston Poet Laureate Leslie Contreras Schwartz and TUTS Artist Director Dan Knechtges
Unwrap Your Candies Now
In this episode of “Unwrap Your Candies Now,” Catherine Lu chats with Leslie Contreras Schwartz as she kicks off her two-year term as Houston Poet Laureate. The native Houstonian describes her plan to tackle mental health through poetry, and she reads “Roots” – a poem inspired by gardening and the urge to grow even under the harshest circumstances.Ernie Manouse talks with Dan Knechtges, artistic director of Theatre Under The Stars, about the rarely-staged 1989 Tony Award-winning musical Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. A love letter to Broadway’s golden age, this musical anthology wraps up TUTS’ 50th Anniversary Season and includes scenes from On the Town, Peter Pan, The King and I, Fiddler on the Roof and West Side Story.Share your comments, questions and ideas at UYCN@houstonpublicmedia.org.
About our Interview with Dan Knechtges: Dan Knechtges (“connect-us” he graciously explained). Dan is a Tony nominated choreographer, who also loves directing, and could not have been more fun for us to hang out with. He sat down with us in the studio to explain his very “A CHORUS LINE” story of going from a nine year old boy stealing the spot light in his sister’s dance class, to choreographing basement shows to Mozart, to eventually earning a Tony nomination for his work on XANADU. Of course the road is never easy, and Dan has some great stories including what he did after being told he was the worst choreographer ever, and why he was ready to walk away to be a paralegal. Dan has a wealth of knowledge, and gives it out in a very entertaining fashion. Listen in to find out what inspired Bill Finn (while they were working on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) to yell across the theatre, “You’re so gay Knechtges!”Links to learn more DanKnechtges.com A photo of Dan Knechtges
Directing and Choreographing New Musicals: Dan Knechtges
ATW - SDCF Masters of the Stage
At its 2013 Emerging Artist Symposium on Musicals, SDCF hosted Tony-nominated Dan Knechtges ("Lysistrata Jones," "Xanadu," "Spelling Bee") in conversation with Producing Director Ellen Rusconi on his experiences directing and choreographing new musicals. From his theatre experiences while growing up in Cleveland to his transition from performer to director/choreographer, this discussion - peppered with a dash of humor, sentiment, and survival jobs - examines Dan’s process of learning to create musical theatre and launching a career. The conversation explores key tactics when working with stage managers and writers, time management when developing a new work, and elevating taste in the most unlikely yet scrumptious ways.