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Tappin' Thru Life - A Song & Dance Musical

From 61 critic and 67 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Enchanting, Refreshing, Absorbing

About the show

New World Stages presents Broadway legend Maurice Hines's 'Tappin’ Thru Life,' a song and dance celebration of his career in show business. More…

A swinging, song and dance musical that celebrates the showmanship of one of the last great tap dancers of a bygone era still working today. Hines pays tribute to his brother, Gregory, and the performers who inspired him—from Frank Sinatra to Lena Horne—with standards like 'Luck Be a Lady,' 'Smile,' 'It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),' and more. Hines is backed by The Diva Jazz Orchestra an all-female big band, and sharing the stage with his protégés, the Manzari Brothers.

Times Square Chronicles

"Director Jeff Calhoun has created a seamless night of sheer joy...This is the most entertaining show I have seen in the past two years and a show not to miss because this is entertainment in its truest form." Full Review


"Under the fleet direction of Jeff Calhoun, and to the accompaniment of the Diva Jazz Orchestra, 'Tappin Thru Life' is another tonic for the winter blues. Hines proves himself a thoughtful singer with a light baritone, and his tapping is undiminished by age…What makes ‘Tappin Thru Life’ positively soar is the brilliant arrangements played by the gifted Divas on such standards as 'I’ve Got You Under My Skin' and 'I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face'...Don't miss it.'" Full Review

Broadway Blog

"My only words are ones of praise, awe, and admiration...The Off Broadway show flows effortlessly from one fascinating showbiz tale to the next. In true song and dance fashion, his stories are interspersed with fine standards, each accompanied by the impressive Diva jazz orchestra. As soon as this 15-piece ensemble begins to wail, the 'wow' factor skyrockets—and it only increases throughout the next 90 minutes." Full Review

Theater Life

"A good part of what makes 'Maurice Hines Tappin’ Thru Life' so memorable is the great generosity Hines shows toward those who helped him on the way to becoming such an iconic song and dance man...This nostalgic revue takes us back to the time when a performer’s best friends were his tappin’ shoes and his smile." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"It's 85 minutes of a show that looks like the highest quality Las Vegas revue…Over the years he's turned himself into more of a first-rate jazz singer than he already has been…Talk about getting your money's worth. The generous Hines and energetic associates give it to you--and then some." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"Hines can still deliver a battery of appealing tap steps, but for the really heavy stuff, he has the dazzling Manzeri Brothers, plus a younger set consisting of sisters, all of whom can ignite and audience...At the close on the night I attended, many in the process of departing up the aisles stopped in their tracks as the band played on, regaling the audience with a new barrage of solos and ensemble work. Those who had left don’t know what they missed. Take the hint." Full Review


"One of the most delightful and ego-free evenings of theater, straight from the golden age of entertainment. Don't be mistaken, 'Maurice Hines Tappin' Thru Life' is exactly what it sounds like: A musical revue of old-timey tunes coupled with virtuosic tap breaks, and stories from the now 72-year-old Hines...But, aside from his God-given charm, ageless body, and finely tailored suits, the thing that sets this memoir apart from the rest is its intangible air of class." Full Review


"It features celebrity-filled anecdotes, classic tunes accompanied by a fabulous all-female band, and of course, that thing that put them on the map...Under Jeff Calhoun's excellent direction, the show moves beautifully with songs that complement the stories, both poignant and funny." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Maurice Hines sings and taps, with masterful showmanship…At the tender age of 72, those tappin’ feet, that seem to float on air, can do no wrong as he sings and dances his way through the heart and soul of a family act that made headlines for many years…If you love tap dancing and great tunes from the American Songbook, you’re gonna be very happy." Full Review

Musical Theater Review

"At age 72, Maurice Hines radiates an impeccable showmanship that makes his Off-Broadway autobiographical show a non-stop pleasure. The production offers generous helpings of Hines’ skilled, nimble dancing, expressive jazz singing and his warm and ingratiating personality, as he skips blithely over his life and his career…The narrative, written by Hines, stays pretty much on the surface…Nevertheless, the show has a goodly share of emotional moments." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Hines is an entertainer at heart, and 'Maurice Hines Tappin’ Thru Life' is entertaining the whole way through...Hines is a radiant presence onstage...In the only mild disappointment of the evening, Chekhov’s stairs never get used to their full potential, but the full ride of the evening was more than enough excitement and impressive tapping to make up for it. The show closes with all four dancers onstage, and a rousing standing ovation from the audience." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"It's a lively tale, crowded with thumbnail portraits of many mid-20th-century show business greats...'Tappin' Thru Life' is pretty smashing, too, thanks to Jeff Calhoun's seamless staging and the fine work of his design team...'Tappin' Thru Life' is loaded with swing. Also, heart. Also, entertainment. I had a very, very, very good time." Full Review

The New York Times

"A singing, dancing showman extraordinaire, Mr. Hines is in very fine form, but he is, after all, 72. 'Tappin’ Thru Life' is cleverly constructed, almost variety-show-style, to let its star catch his breath once in a while...What makes 'Tappin’ Thru Life' more than a vanity piece is its willingness to speak of pain. Mr. Hines can be an amusing storyteller, and he wows us with his footwork as he sings classic song after song." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Through a series of delightful monologues, Mr. Hines – through tap numbers and songs – highlights the places and the individuals that provided inspiration and opportunity…Mr. Hines is a skilled and gifted interpreter of song lyrics and provides his own thoughtful phrasing and vocal modulation...'Tappin’ Thru Life' is a well-crafted and well designed show directed by Jeff Calhoun that celebrates the life and career of Maurice Hines." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Hines proves a charming presence…It's not just the celebrities or anecdotes Hines invokes. The beauty of this show is the song-and-dance numbers selected to punctuate his singular life…What's most wonderful about 'Tappin' Thru Life' is the joy Hines gets in retelling his career. His humor and warmth are infectious...The show is a celebration of tap, as well as a time and place in American history when true giants ruled the entertainment business." Full Review

Simon SEEZ

"This show may not be more than a gussied up Las Vegas styled lounge act, but its centerpiece Maurice Hines is a consummate song and dance man, an entertainer with a winning personality and an incomparable style that harks back to an era that has sadly disappeared...The band stand and setting gives the show a sense that we are back at the fabled Paramount Theatre on Broadway. A really good feeling for a really good show." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"Tap dancing is about joy and you can feel his joy when Maurice Hines steps onstage. He hits every mark with high energy and style in a seamless performance that transports the audience to his world for 85 toe-tapping minutes." Full Review


"'Maurice Hines, Tappin’ Thru Life' is billed as a show, but the performance has more of a concert feel to it, with Hines shining his million dollar smile while playing with the audience. But with his seasoned showman skills, this is not necessarily a bad thing. There is never a dull moment in the 85 minutes, and audiences leave the theatre in a visibly happy mood." Full Review


"Charming, elegant, confident, delightful, and engaging: pick an adjective that basically says, 'How Cool Was THAT,' and it’ll apply to Maurice Hines in 'Tappin’ Thru Life'...A feel-good evening of song and dance." Full Review

American Theater Web

"Directed with smoothness by Jeff Calhoun. Oftentimes resembles the sort of loosely constructed one-man performance one might find in a cabaret venue...Further setting the show apart from cabaret is Hines’ backing, not just some small three to five piece combo, but a thrillingly brassy nine-piece ensemble...Ultimately, the headliner needs only his innate charm to capture audiences’ hearts, but for any holdouts, these other dancers cinch the deal." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Mr. Hines's revue...breaks no new ground and is like many others of its type, but it's consistently entertaining and its star is loaded with talent and good will...Mr. Hines actually spends more time singing than tapping, getting the most out of his not especially memorable voice by excellent phrasing and the expressive use of gestures and classy body movements...'Maurice Hines Tappin’ Thru Life' will have you tappin’ your toes, boppin’ your head, and singin’ along." Full Review


"Scrapbook photos flash before the audience in director Jeff Calhoun's high-energy production. And oh, how he dances. The clean, rapid-fire taps are presented with a sleek, panther-like gracefulness...It's also a show about helping other performers get a break...Watching the young talents wrap up their acts, Hines can be seen beaming like a proud poppa. 'That's our future,' he reminds the audience...With mentors like Maurice Hines around, the future looks very bright, indeed." Full Review


"Any January blues you may have will immediately disappear during this delightfully easy-breezy entertainment...The stories seem occasionally a bit exaggerated, and the chronology is a bit jumbled, but he spins his yarns with such enthusiasm it doesn’t matter...what is best in some ways about the show is that Hines willingly shares the stage – and even gives the spotlight over – to some spectacular young talent." Full Review

Epoch Times

"At 72, Maurice is a remarkably spry dancer, and he is also a likeable singer and entertaining raconteur…To prove that the future of tap dancing is secure, Hines brings on a brother act, John and Leo Manzari, and they are later joined by two sisters, Devin and Julia Ruth. All are impressive, but none of them managed to outdo Mr. Hines…The show benefits from an onstage top-flight jazz band…'Tappin’ Thru Life' is a class act all the way." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"The show is basically a cabaret act disguised as a musical memoir…This 90-minute revue is a link to those days when performers considered it a priority to give the audience a good time. Still, this isn't a show for everyone. People looking for an edgy evening or some sense of where musical theater is headed should look elsewhere. But others will, like me, enjoy this trip back to the past." Full Review

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining, Must see, Original

See it if You love feeling like you are in nightclub with a little bit of everything-- Singing, and tap dancing, intertwined in a biography.

Don't see it if Do not enjoy tap dancing, biographical stories or musicals in general.

Masterful, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if you are a fan of hoofers and the history of tap.

Don't see it if you dislike entertainment!

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy showmanship and storytelling. Maurice Hines tells his and brother Gregory's life in show business. Entertaining, funny & poignant.

Don't see it if you want 100% dance. A lot of storytelling and singing involved, but exceptionally entertaining.

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if You like tap dancing and seeing history on stage. Worst let was that the show was so short. Loved hearing his life story.

Don't see it if You don't like song and dance shows.

Delightful, Entertaining, Refreshing, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if You like dance. Wonderful connection to the journey of the Hines brothers career

Don't see it if You do not like tap DANCE

Great staging, Original, Refreshing, Delightful, Great singing

See it if you enjoyed tap dancing. Learned how the Hines brothers started in show biz was interesting and funny. small peek into the lives of the Hin

Don't see it if you dont enjoy tap dancing and reminiscing.

Enchanting, Delightful, Funny

See it if you want to see the dapper and amazingly energetic Mr. Hines share moving and charming memories of his brother and life in the business.

Don't see it if you don't like fabulous tap dancing by a veteran and by wildly talented young siblings and a rockin' all female jazz band.

Entertaining, Funny, Original, Slow, Refreshing

See it if you want to see masters at their craft. The other tappers he brings with him are really worth the price of admission.

Don't see it if you need non-stop action. It opens and is fairly slow. The last bit of it is action packed, but it's a slow start.

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining, Original, Refreshing

See it if You like tap dancing and the life story off the Hines brothers as told by Maurice Hines. I was thoroughly entertained and charmed by him.

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows

Delightful, Entertaining, Masterful

See it if You love tap dancing and great female band.

Don't see it if you don't like tap.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Delightful, Slow, Original

See it if you like personal stories told by a very charming older gentleman that may make you emotional; you know who the Hines family is.

Don't see it if you want a play with a plot, you don't like live music, a little tap dancing; don't care to know about an influential entertainment family.

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You are a fan of the Hines brothers and tapping. Want to see old school meets new school. Like a show with class.

Don't see it if You don't know who Maurice and Gregory Hines were. Don't like tap.

Delightful, Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if You like tap dancing and great storytelling!

Don't see it if you're looking for something modern - this is an old time sort of show.

Dated, Entertaining, Delightful, Enchanting, Great staging

See it if you love tap dance, old-school music, and great storytelling by Maurice Hines.

Don't see it if if the "old school" nature of shows and performing is not your thing. Or if you hate tap dance.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful, Quirky

See it if You enjoy amazing tap dancing, great stories about amazing stars, amazing musicians, and Maurice Hines (the king of charisma).

Don't see it if You want just tap dancing (wanted more), wish Mr. Hines had a better singing voice, don't appreciate nostalgia, or dislike musical standards

Refreshing, Great staging, Delightful, Entertaining, Riveting

See it if You love tapping, old musicals, and jazz. Bonus points if you like Gregory Hines.

Don't see it if You want an actual story with a plot and characters. This is more of a showcase.

Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You are a fan of old Hollywood or the career retrospective type shows.. Mr. Hines is so charming and talented-- this show is like a big hug

Don't see it if You are expecting all out tap dance extravaganza

Entertaining, Must see, Resonant, Great staging, Delightful

See it if You like a good story well told, exciting big band sound & tapping, & an old pro doing what he does best, & stay to hear all women big band

Don't see it if You're spiritually dead

Entertaining, Dated, Happy, Old standards, Delightful

See it if You don't expect a plot, but enjoy a song and dance revue by a joyous, masterful entertainer with occasional autobiographical anecdotes.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy song and dance, or expect a play with plot.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Resonant

See it if you enjoy tap dance and are a fan of either of the Hines brothers.

Don't see it if you enjoy a plot since the show is stories from Maurice Hines life.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Refreshing

See it if a dancing biography w/diva band

Don't see it if if tap dancing doesn't interest you

Great music, Great dancing, Delightful, Entertaining, Refreshing

See it if You enjoy jazz & swing music. You enjoy tap dancing. You're familiar w/Maurice & Gregory Hines + performers from the '50s & '60s.

Don't see it if You hate jazz & swing. You don't like tap dancing. You aren't familiar w/the Hines Brothers or performers from the '50s & '60s.

Resonant, Entertaining

See it if You are interested in dance, civil rights and/or cultural history.

Don't see it if You have an aversion to talent or you are looking for a show with a plot.

Entertaining, Dated, Classic

See it if you love old time songs, biographies, and tap dancing.

Don't see it if If you are looking for something flashy, modern or are under 12 years old.

Entertaining, Slow

See it if you know the work of the Hines family

Don't see it if you are expecting a lot of tap dancing

Cast & Creatives (10)