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'Come Fly' with dancer Julius Anthony Rubio
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

This article shared 8438 times since Wed Jan 18, 2012
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The song "Come Fly with Me" was written for Frank Sinatra back in 1957. Who knew all these years later people would still be dancing to it?

Tony Award winner Twyla Tharp created, directed and choreographed the show Come Fly with Me—currently in Chicago—that shows that Ol' Blue Eyes is back.

We tracked down one of the dancers, Julius Anthony Rubio (who's openly gay), to hear how he did it his way.

Windy City Times: Hi, Julius. How was the cast party last night?

Julius Anthony Rubio: It was cute. The venue, Jilly's on Rush, is an historic place [that] Frank Sinatra frequented a lot. The owner was friends with Frank and wanted to throw it for us. When we realized the liquor was flowing for free, it turned into a free-for-all!

WCT: What is your nationality?

JR: I am Dominican/Israeli. I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Miami. After I graduated high school I worked a cruise ship for about six months. I wanted to get out and about to try something new. I lived in L.A. for four years and did commercial work. I worked on a pre-Broadway show after, for two years off and on. I moved to New York for it and, unfortunately, it closed after three weeks. It definitely gave me a kickstart to moving to New York with a Broadway show.

WCT: What was the name of it?

JR: Wonderland.

WCT: I thought that production did better than that. Sony sent me the cast recording.

JR: You know Regina George in the [movie] Mean Girls? If there is anyone that is a mean girl, then it is the Tony committee. The music was composed by Frank Wildhorn. Broadway has a huge thing against him for some reason. He also did Jekyll & Hyde and Bonnie & Clyde. There was also so much competition on Broadway this past season, with Book of Mormon.

WCT: Have you always loved Broadway?

JR: I started theater when I was 10. I think I was dramatic from the day I was born. I realized I was the only one that got attention from my mom after a while. I didn't start dancing until I was about 15, so 10 years ago.

WCT: How does the Sinatra song go? "You Make Me Feel So Young?" I mean old! You took classes in school?

JR: I went to a performing-arts high school. I only had six solid months of training before I was accepted. I went to a competitive dance studio also to get the best of both worlds. I studied classical; then at the competition studio I would learn ballroom, jazz or tap. I had a very honest dance teacher that told me to kick it up a notch. He influenced me greatly.

WCT: How is it performing Twyla's choreography?

JR: When we were in St. Paul, she showed up to see the show and check up on us. That week that she was there somebody was sent home. We each had to have a separate conference with her. I told her about studying her in dance history class and couldn't believe I was sitting five feet away from her.

If Wonderland hadn't closed then I wouldn't have been as hungry to book this job. Twyla Tharp is getting older so it is so nice to have a chance to do her work while she is still around. She is one of the most intimidating people I have met for sure.

WCT: Everyone gets naked in the show, which audiences are probably not expecting with Frank Sinatra.

JR: The funny story about that is when we were in Atlanta, people would get up and walk out.

WCT: Oh, no—some of the older people?

JR: Yes, some of the older and more reserved people. They watch it, then get up and go. That is upsetting because "My Way" is towards the end and one of my favorite numbers. With the spacing and couples it is so classic to me. It is a shame for people to leave when we get sassy on stage. They had to tone it down a bit for one place with the crazy stuff they were doing but Twyla loved it. I guess because there is a modern touch to the show but it is still stylized.

WCT: How do you warm up as a dancer?

JR: They offer class every day. There is a voluntary ballet class everyday. I am hitting seven to eight shows a week because the principles only do five. I cover two of the leads: Sid who dances with the girl in the red dress, and the drunk guy. So I can't take class every day because it wears me out. I will do a 45-minute warm-up before a show. I always go to the gym before so that begins my warm-up. If I take class then I feel exhausted by the time the show comes.

WCT: I noticed you get sweaty up there.

JR: Last night was so hot. We were all sweating our asses off.

WCT: Has your family always been accepting of you being gay?

JR: I never really had to say anything when I was growing up. I was very eclectic and outgoing. I liked girls and boys so I teeter-tottered between my flavor. I never really like labels.

WCT: Well, you come off very straight on stage.

JR: That's because it is what I get paid to do! [Both laugh.]

WCT: Are there many gay dancers in this cast?

JR: There is one other one from the cast last night. In the dance world there are many straight men but in the musical-theater world, well, good luck!

Fly over to the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., before the show disappears like "Witchcraft" Sunday, Jan. 22. Visit for tickets.

This article shared 8438 times since Wed Jan 18, 2012
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