Dance instructor brings tap-infused mystery to stage

May 23, 2019 / by / 0 Comment

By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

Dance Department faculty members at Grand Canyon University orchestrate numerous performances over the course of the academic school year, but for some instructors the work of putting on a show doesn’t stop when summer starts.

“Murder at the TAP’Ocho” will debut Sunday at Mesa Community College Theatre.

Suzy Guarino-Hall, a tap instructor who has taught in the Dance Department for 3 1/2 years, produces a concert every year in conjunction with her production company, Tap 24.7. This year’s show, a blend of theatre, music and dance scheduled for noon and 4 p.m. Sunday at Mesa Community College Theatre, is a murder mystery titled “Murder at the TAP’Ocho.”

“It’s a story,” Guarino-Hall said. “It’s not quite like musical theatre where everybody’s singing, but there’s a lot of tap in it, there’s some singing in it and it’s a whole storyline, a ‘whodunnit’ murder mystery.”

Several GCU students and alumni will perform in the show.

But Guarino-Hall isn’t the only GCU connection to the production. Director of Dance Susannah Keita and students and alumni from multiple majors within the College of Fine Arts and Production will be performing as well. 

“I love it because it brings together hoofers (tap dancers) from Phoenix and Tucson as well as visiting cities like Detroit and Denver,” said Keita, who will be part of the show for the fifth time. “It’s also multi-generational.  We have some young dancers who blow us away every year and geriatric folks like me that everyone puts up with.”

The show will feature more than 100 tap dancers and singers from various parts of the country and will showcase several original songs by Ryan Ardelt of GCU’s theatre program.

The show will debut one day after what would have been tap icon Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s 141st birthday. Performances also are scheduled for Detroit and Seattle.

“This is literally going to be the best show we’ve ever done,” Guarino-Hall said.


What: “Murder at The TAP’Ocho”

When: Noon and 4 p.m. Sunday, May 26

Where: Mesa Community College Theatre

Tickets: $25 without service fees ($27.24 with service fees)

Singers from GCU: Abbi Cavanaugh, Christina Ward, Brandon Bell, Trustan Adams

Narrator: Gustavo Flores

Choreographers: Suzy Guarino-Hall, Gregg Russell, Karen Callaway-Williams, Kelsey Rose Young, Brendan Kellam, Rachel LiPuma, Charlie DuHadway, Sarah Boice, Jenefer Miller, Jeffrey Bird, Chrissy Jones, Kiana Guarino

Contact GCU staff writer Ashlee Larrison at [email protected] or at 602-639-8488.


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