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Tappin' Thru Life - A Song & Dance Musical

Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Enchanting, Refreshing, Absorbing
82
Critics
81
61 reviews
Members
81
67 reviews
 

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

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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.

 

Cast & Creatives (10)



Reviews (128)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
81
Avg Score

85
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

80
BroadwayWorld

"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

90
Theatermania

"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

60
The Hollywood Reporter

"The show has its problems. Despite its title, it features more music than dance...Although he has a swinging vocal delivery and easy way with a tune, singing is not really the performer's strong suit...And despite the plethora of anecdotes about the many stars with whom Hines has worked, the evening is surprisingly short on dish...But for all its awkward or routine moments, the evening is still terrific fun, thanks to Hines' prodigious energy, enthusiasm and winning personality. " Full Review

60
Time Out New York

"If this sounds like 90 minutes of sweet, unfocused nostalgia, it is (not that there's anything wrong with that)...While director Jeff Calhoun attempts to shape the material into a full-fledged show, there's no discernable structure, and Hines rarely drops his ain't-life-grand persona...Hines prefers pizzazz to introspection, and why not? For 72 years, it's gotten him 'Thru Life' with happy feet and feelings." Full Review

85
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

85
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

80
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

35
Talkin' Broadway

"'Tappin' Thru Life,' is a weird show, and, let's face it, not a particularly good one. It combines the worst of late-night talk with the worst of supper-club cabaret...Hines does a lot of name-dropping, and, in isolated cases, makes them come alive...Much of the rest of what he does is cheesy to the point of artery-clogging...For his myriad abilities and virtues as a performer, Hines can't convince you that he's a writer, and that makes his life story rather unconvincing." Full Review

90
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

100
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

95
Deadline

"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

65
CurtainUp

"Though rather thin and heavily sugar-coated, his long career on club and theater stages and in movies provides plenty of celebrity name dropping opportunities with which to enliven and musicalize his reminiscences...'Tappin' Thru Life' never really sheds its Las Vegas variety act aura. Yet Maurice Hines' joy at being on stage is contagious enough to probably make the audience to enjoy this up close visit with a man born to entertain." Full Review

85
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

80
CitiTour

"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

85
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

90
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

75
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

90
NY1

"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

75
TheaterScene.net

"A pleasantly entertaining look at the personal and professional life of Maurice Hines...Although the all-dance finale feels a bit tacked on, it is also expected. This is after all a show about the life of a tap dancer...The life story might have been a bit less slick, the emotions deeper, but 'Tappin’ Thru Life' is still a delight, a portrait of a show business that no longer exists and, sadly, a tale of personal loss, as well." Full Review

90
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

85
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

90
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

95
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

85
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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
81
Avg Score

87
Original, Absorbing, Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining

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

72
Entertaining, Nostalgic, Surprisingly emotional, Well choreographed

See it if you like classic showtunes and standards sung in a cabaret-style. You love fast, energetic tap dancing.

Don't see it if you have no nostalgia or affection for this music or era. You are expecting a play/story. This is a more of a cabaret show with asides.

72
Funny, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if You tap dancing and stories about the old days.

Don't see it if You don't like memory pieces.

88
Funny, Delightful, Enchanting

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.

80
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

85
Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Entertaining

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.

75
Cliched, Slow, Dated, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if You want to take a stroll down memory lane. Maurice Hines is a great dancer but it was more for my parents than for me.

Don't see it if If you are there to see tap dancing, he talks and sings more than he taps. Still he is fantastic.

100
Original, Absorbing, Delightful, Must see, Entertaining

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.

90
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.

80
Delightful, Must see, Resonant, Entertaining, Great staging

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

85
Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

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.

77
Slow, Entertaining

See it if you know the work of the Hines family

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

80
Happy, Delightful, Dated, Entertaining, Old standards

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.

88
Funny, Original, Refreshing, Slow, Entertaining

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.

45
Boring, Indulgent, Slow, Old school, Concert

See it if you're a big Maurice Hines fan and want to hear him tell name dropping stories and don't want to see him dance for 90% of the show.

Don't see it if you are expecting a tap show--it's mostly a retrospective and he sings a lot of standards and then there's a smattering of dance at the end.

80
Clever, Delightful, Resonant, Entertaining

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.

72
Original, Quirky, Refreshing, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You like jazz or big band

Don't see it if You need plot

85
Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting, Quirky, Entertaining

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

75
Funny, Dated, Entertaining

See it if Hines & Hines may mean lil to many, but since the death of his brother a dozen yrs ago singer-tapper Maurice Hines has kept the dance alive

Don't see it if If names like Sinatra, Garland, Tallulah! mean lil to U then U may b 2 young to enjoy this trip down memory lane. Segregated Vegas stories?

79
Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great music, Great dancing

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.

40
Disappointing, Excruciating, Torturous

See it if ...... um .... don't see it

Don't see it if you're expecting something special

80
Delightful, Refreshing, Riveting, Entertaining, Great staging

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.

88
Original, Delightful, Refreshing, Great singing, Great staging

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.

70
Cliched, Entertaining

See it if enjoy learning about the Hines brothers life. Some really fine dancing too.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy nostalgia. It's a little like a Vegas show

85
Original, Delightful, Enchanting, Slow, Entertaining

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.