We’re excited to have Christopher Page-Sanders back at COCA to choreograph two of our summer musicals: Pippin, our mainstage musical, and Mean Girls JR., our summer camp youth musical. Both productions are sure to captivate audiences and provide an opportunity to engage with live theatre. Tickets are on sale now.
Between rehearsals, we had a chance to sit down with Chris and ask him a few questions about choreographing for the musicals:
Tell us about your involvement with COCA.
I began my formal dance training at COCA and have had the opportunity to return to COCA to teach and choreograph for a multitude of classes, camps, and productions. This summer marks 19 years that I’ve choreographed for COCA’s summer musicals! Back in 2004, COCA created its musical theatre program, which started in the summer arts camp structure. Today, it has developed into COCA’s Pre-Professional Division Theatre and Voice Programs. I’ve enjoyed being a part of this program since its inception.
When choreographing for musicals, how do you approach the creative process?
With joy. Text analysis and the emotional statements surrounding the text; understanding the director’s vision and how to visual that story; snapshots that sometimes juxtapose the text; and movement that reflects the music and emotions that are created from it.
What has been your favorite piece to choreograph for Pippin? And for Mean Girls, JR.?
I can’t choose just one! I like the different styles that we get to explore in both.
Anything specific that you must take into consideration when choreographing for our mainstage musical vs. a camp musical?
Both musicals are educational opportunities. With Pippin, the musical has multigenerational aspects that are important to inform the work and build community with our students. The musicals provide mentorship for the artists as well. My hope is to help the artists reach their highest potential through joy.
What advice would you give to aspiring musical theatre students?
Let your light shine, and you don’t have to dim your light to make others comfortable. Your light will attract other light—you are always someone’s inspiration.
Who is your biggest influence?
The people around me. My village. My community. Chosen or biological. They are my biggest inspiration. And when I am working, the cast.
What’s next for you?
I am currently finishing the run of Triple Threat (Off-Broadway) as the Associate Choreographer. Next, I’ll be choreographing Lone Tree Arts Center’s production of Dream Girls.