Savion Glover is serious.
Serious talent. Serious about upholding tap history. Serious about having a good time and making the audience feel joy. Serious is the only way to describe the man after seeing the second performance of his new show STePz at The Joyce Theater in New York on Wednesday night.
With Marshall Davis Jr. and 3CW (3 Controversial Women: Ayodele Casel, Robyn Watson and Sarah Savelli), Glover tore up the stage, his feet going for 32nd-note rhythms at times, but often appearing to barely move. The ensemble showed their stuff to a blazing opener from John Coltrane, “Miles Mode,” and went from there to Prince and on to Charlie Parker, Shostakovich and Miles Davis in the first act. The musicality of the group was mind-blowing, as they matched complicated jazz and orchestral runs note for note in unison.
One of the big highlights of the first act saw Glover and Marshall Davis in a face-off set to the “Mission Impossible” theme. Two sets of stairs were unveiled and the duo syncopated their way all over them, smiling the whole time in friendly competition. (Glover and Davis formerly worked together in Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk on Broadway, and the chemistry showed.) Later, in the second act, they got together again for an a cappella number, “Gregory Mode,” an homage to their mentor, Gregory Hines.
The ladies were no slouches either, with feet flying up and down their own staircase to open the second act to Benny Goodman’s “Bugle Call Rag,” before being joined by the men later in the set. Glover took off on his own to the slow title number, “STePz,” set to Sammy Davis Jr. singing, what else, “Mr. Bojangles.”
When the group came out to close the show with “Stevie,” set to Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke,” the crowd was thrilled. Again, Glover and associates matched the horn section’s lines note for note with their feet. Pretty impressive.
That’s two performances down, 19 to go. The show runs until July 6 at The Joyce, with July 4 the only break in the action. See joyce.org and saviongloverproductions.com for more info. Tickets start at just $10.
Photos by Elijah Paul