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Review: Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Through Life at Arena Stage

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New Years Resolution #43294832: Take advantage of living in a city that celebrates the arts and finally treat myself to shows!

With so many cultural events occurring throughout the city, it is a travesty that I haven’t managed to take myself to more than I have. Date night anyone?

After receiving an invitation to attend a performance of Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life at Arena Stage, I finally saw an opportunity to expand my artistic horizons. I carefully weaved my way through traffic, escaped the madness that was I-95, and arrived at the theatre unscathed.

Maurice Hines is Tappin' Thru Life

I waltzed inside and waited for my friend Mia to arrive before grabbing our seats. Unfortunately, she experienced a metro snafu leaving me with plenty of time to explore the space before her arrival.

I quickly forgot about her scheduling issues after my eyes fell upon the most beautifully elaborate evening gown. I suddenly spotted several other mannequins donning gorgeous gowns typically reserved for my favorite A-list actresses on Oscar night. I soon discovered that this exhibition, 60 Years of Made in Italy, was in celebration of 2013 being the year of Italian culture in the United States. What a better way to celebrate Italian culture than with fashion. Very fitting if I do say so myself!

After arriving in the nick of time, Mia and I found our seats and exchanged our daily gossip before the start of the show. I was pleasantly surprised by how intimate the theater was. Maurice Hines had managed to pack out both levels of seating with adoring fans. I didn’t know what to expect. I admittedly was not too familiar with Hines, but I knew that jazz and tap were two things I was bound to enjoy.

Suddenly, the lights dimmed and on stage sat a jazz band comprising only women. They played their respective instruments with a contagious fervor that was as enjoyable as it was fascinating! Maurice Hines made his way to the stage and I knew right away that this night would be a memorable one.

Through music and dance, Hines gave audience members an extremely rare glimpse into his life. He touched on all subjects ranging from his parents’ loving relationship to the harsh racism he experienced while performing as a young boy in Las Vegas in the1950s. While his life journey surely had its rough patches, Hines continued to dance and smile his way through.

Maurice Hines is Tappin' Thru Life

Maurice Hines is, in every sense of the word, a true performer. At 70 years old he tapped, sang, and charmed the audience throughout the night. He painted a vivid picture of his personal and professional lives for onlookers. He was interactive and even asked the audience to sing along with him, and not surprisingly, everyone happily obliged. While we were a little pitchy, Hines eagerly commended our concerted effort.

Once the music died down and the curtains closed, I looked at Mia in astonishment. “How amazing was that? I loved him!” she raved. “I know! That went by entirely too fast!” I responded. We slowly staggered out of the theater still buzzing about our favorite parts of the show. We continued to mingle with fellow audience members drinking wine and enjoying light hors d’oeuvres while they, too, chatted excitedly about the performance.

We finally gathered our things and made our way to the car. It was on that drive back that I made the personal resolution to see amazing shows like Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life as possible. I can’t possibly let another showstopper like that pass me by!

Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life is playing at Arena Stage through December 29.

Arena Stage
1101 6th St. S.W.
Washington, D.C.

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