Ann Reinking's splashy carnival of popular song and dance
New York — Ann Reinking . . . Music Moves Me Song-and-dance entertainment starring Miss Reinking Steam seeps onstage from the wings. Rehearsal-clad dancers warm up. Musicians tune up. It's all a prelude to ``Ann Reinking . . . Music Moves Me,'' the new song-and-dance carnival at the Joyce Theater. The music does move the indefatigable Miss Reinking and her five nimble colleagues through some 20 numbers from the rich repositories of pop music.
As the opening number promises, ``every movement leads to another. . . .'' And so does every song. Miss Reinking's splashy night-club-style revue segues through a whole hit parade of contemporary musical Americana. The program credits glitter with names like Rodgers/Hart, Youmans/Caesar, a Duke like Ellington, and a King of Swing like Goodman. Beethoven (Ludwig, that is) even figures with a few bars of ``Moonlight Sonata,'' sandwiched between ``Ballin' the Jack'' and ``Sing, Sing, Sing.''
Miss Reinking and her director-choreographer, Alan Johnson, like to go for the showy effect. Trumpeter Dave Stahl in silhouette accompanies the star in the wild gyrations of Louis Prima's ``Sing, Sing, Sing'' (in this case a Bob Fosse-choreographed number from ``Dancin' ''). The show later tops itself with the spectacular Act 2 pas de deux by Miss Reinking and the astonishing Gary Chryst.
Even with its occasional digressions to the mood melancholy, ``Ann Reinking . . .'' is primarily an upbeat show. Miss Reinking gives her career the once-over-lightly prompted by remembrances of how she never got to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy in ``The Nutcracker.'' A couple of numbers have inspired Albert Wolsky to fashion sight-gag costumes. There is even a chicken joke.
There is not, however, much quietude at the Joyce. The show's aim is for razzle-dazzle, pizazz, and plenty of throbbing percussion. Thanks to amplification, conductor-keyboardist Ronald Melrose and his six musicians achieve what approximates a big-band sound. Thanks also to amplification, singer-dancers Chryst, Reed Jones, Michael Kabula, Rob Marshall, Sara Miles, and Christina Saffran have no difficulty overriding the accompaniment. Larry Grossman provided the musical supervision, did the vocal arrangements, and wrote original material including (with Ellen Fitzhugh) the theme song.
The m'elange of music and dance may go on a shade too long to serve its own best interests. But a preview audience left no doubt that the revelry moves Reinking admirers to enthusiastic applause. The production has been designed with showmanship by Thomas Lynch (setting) and Ken Bilington (lighting). It continues through Jan. 6 and is scheduled to play a Los Angeles engagement in February.