Monday, November 11, 2013

(*) Profile by Deborah Martin: Chet Walker Directs Pippin at Trinity University

San Antonio Express-News

Quick on his feet for 'Pippin'

By Deborah Martin : November 7, 2013

Chet Walker
Jonathan Moore, Chet Walker, Alberto Moore (photo: Robin Jerstad, Express-News)

Broadway director and choreographer Chet Walker is all about saying yes.

Would he be willing to come to Serbia to work with autistic kids? Yes. Would he like to come to Tel Aviv to choreograph “The Producers”? Absolutely. How about spending a few weeks at Trinity University as part of the Stieren Arts Enrichment Series, directing and choreographing a student production of “Pippin”? Why not?

The musical, which follows a young man's quest for fulfillment, opens Friday at Trinity.

Directing and choreographing weren't the only tasks Walker fulfilled during his stay here. He also gave a lecture about his career, and saying yes to things was the big take-away from it.

“I told them how (whether) you're coming up, you're coming down, you just don't know where you're going to be,” said Walker, 59. “So you kind of have to be open to anything.”

Saying yes has worked out pretty well for Walker. He started dancing on Broadway when he was a teenager; the original run of “Pippin” was his second professional credit. Most recently, he choreographed the circus-themed revival of “Pippin” on Broadway, a big-buzz show for which he received a Tony nomination and a slew of other awards. (His favorite is the Fred and Adele Astaire Award for Choreography “because that's why you do the things you do, is because of that man.”)

His decision to come to Trinity while “Pippin” is still wowing crowds on Broadway owes something to serendipity. The university's theater department had lined up someone else as part of the Stieren series this fall; when that deal fell apart in May, there was some scrambling to find a replacement.

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