Contact was the first show that Susan Stroman both choreographed and directed. This production also marked the return of John Weidman to LCT, who co-wrote the revised book for our Tony-winning 1988 revival of Anything Goes.
In the spring of 1999, we invited Susan and John to develop a new musical show. In very short order, they went into rehearsal with a group of actors and dancers and, after four intense weeks, came up with most of Contact, a work in three parts which they dubbed "a dance play". Three thematically-linked short stories are told mostly through dance with a dollop of dialogue. In each story, the central character expresses a longing to connect, and dance is both the medium and the message.
The first piece has as its source "The Swing", an 18th-century painting rich in amorous intrigue by French artist Jean-Honore Fragonard. The music of Rodgers and Hart, recorded by jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, provides the aural bed.
The second story is set in 1954 Queens in an Italian restaurant where the heroine, trapped in a loveless marriage, fulfills her romantic fantasies to the tunes of Tchaikovsky, Grieg and Bizet.
The final story, its locus today, New York, introduces a 40-ish, wildly successful advertising guy who is wildly suicidal about his personal life. Wandering by chance into an after-hours club in Manhattan's meat-packing district, he tries to engage a beautiful young woman in a yellow dress who appears and then disappears into the crowd of sinuous couples swing dancing to the songs of Benny Goodman, The Beach Boys, Robert Palmer, Dion, and The Squirrel Nut Zippers.
The amazing cast of Contact featured Deborah Yates, Boyd Gaines, Karen Ziemba and some of the hottest dancers on Broadway. The inventive designs for CONTACT were by Thomas Lynch (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lights) and Scott Stauffer (sound).