It's easy to write off a Broadway musical's dancing chorus. They're just moving scenery on stage to make the star look good, right?
However, be sure to keep your eyes peeled on those talented dancers who might rise in the ranks to become the next generation of Broadway choreographers. And if they're extra-talented, those dancers may even become director/choreographers like the late Broadway legends Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett, or current-day Tony Award-winners like Tommy Tune, Susan Stroman, Jerry Mitchell and Rob Ashford.
Hoping add his name to that distinguished list is out choreographer Sergio Trujillo. As a Broadway dancer, Trujillo performed in dance-heavy revues like Fosse and Jerome Robbins' Broadway, before he worked his way up to become choreographer for current musical hits like Jersey Boys, The Addams Family and Memphis.
But now for the first time Trujillo is wearing both hats of director and choreographer for White Noise, a new Broadway-aimed musical currently playing at Chicago's Royal George Theatre.
"I've been ready to do this for a long time," Trujillo said about his new elevated dual job. "As a director/choreographer, you have to find the right tone and right style for the show to move in and the right concept."
White Noise was conceived by Ryan J. Davis when he was inspired by a true incident about white supremacist singer-songwriters who started becoming mainstream pop sensations. Though White Noise was previously produced in New Orleans, the show has been revamped by playwright Matte O'Brien with twin brother composer-lyricists Robert and Steven Morris with Joe Shane.
White Noise fascinates Trujillo because it deals so heavily with pop culture and politics. And since many of the musical's characters just by their nature are unlikable, Trujillo knows he has his work cut out for himself on the show.
"That is challenging, we all want to go to the theater and identify with a character," said Trujillo, adding that the showbiz and rock concert nature of the show should be entertaining in itself. Trujillo describes White Noise as "A musical set against the backdrop of the record industry so it's a modern day Dreamgirls if you want to call it that, but with anti-heroes."
Trujillo is particularly pleased with the work of Tony Award-nominated star Douglas Sills ( The Scarlet Pimpernel, Little Shop of Horrors ) as the unscrupulous record producer in White Noise.
"He's just brining the absolute right colors and instincts about his performance," Trujillo said. "It's going to be quite a star turn. He's really doing phenomenal work."
Though there hasn't been any word yet whether White Noise will transfer to Broadway, hopes are high not only for Trujillo, but the shows famous producer who is none other than Academy Award-winning star Whoopi Goldberg ( who already has a Tony Award to her credit for co-producing the 2002 Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie ) .
Trujillo is out to prove himself with White Noise, and to please his famous producer.
"It was [ Whoopi Goldberg's ] blessing that allowed me to get this job."
White Noise is now playing at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 5 p.m. Sundays through June 5. Tickets are $54.50-$64.50 with $25 student tickets. Call 312-988-9000 or visit www.whitenoisebroadway.com .