Introducing Meri Bobber, choreographer for “Glory”

Meri Bobber watching the cast dance

Last weekend, Brad and Will asked me what I’d do if Ms. Figg let me choreograph a number in the musical. I said I’d pretty much die of excitement, and maybe they just wanted me to die, but the next day Ms. Figg agreed to give me my favorite song of the whole show—Glory. This one is traditionally pretty heavy on the dance side, so I got right to work.

I’ve never choreographed for more than seven people, and I think our cast has nearly forty, maybe more. Thankfully, I had a little something done for my Leading Player audition back in November, so I had a starting point. From there, I checked out countless versions of different choreographer’s perspectives of the number (and just a lot of Bob Fosse concepts in general) on YouTube. After deciding I wanted a powerful, intimidating feel for our version of Glory, I found the steps coming easily and was ready for the cast on Thursday.

Everyone grabbed flimsy substitutes for the classic black canes we’ll actually be dancing with and got to work. Nick, Grace, Lineik, Mia, Kristyn, and Jonathan are dancing with me earlier in the number. They were the first to make me jump around like an idiot out of excitement, and when the rest of the cast joined us, I only got crazier. Sorry for being dumb, it’s just awesome to see big ideas that previously only existed in your mind come to life.

Teaching the dance.

When you’re trying to get through to forty people, sometimes you really don’t know what’s coming out of your mouth. For example, all I was doing was mixing the lyrics with my movements in an attempt to keep everyone on track, and out came, “blood is warmer than head.” Later, when worried that we’d have some problems with colliding canes, I asked if anyone had “penetrated their neighbor.” Whoops.

I got to start working with Haley, Jordan, and Lindsay Friday on the “Steam Heat 2.0” (credit to Joe) part of the dance. Though originally a trio, I love how things look with all of us. So Cassidy will also be joining us when she gets back.

Day two of "Glory"

I never really realized what Ms. Figg deals with on a daily basis. It’s hard to change your mind on the spot when a move that seemed perfect in your head just doesn’t look right in actuality, and it’s hard to find the right words to describe what you want to see when it feels like no one is even listening to you. I know the talking is just out of habit, and if I were on the other side, I’d most likely be doing the same thing. But things were a lot more under control on Friday than on Thursday, and I can’t even say how much I appreciated that. We had less time, but got more done. So a big thanks from my vocal cords to the quiet people.

So far, not a lot has looked the original way I thought it would. I like some things that have turned up in reality even better, and sometimes seeing everything in person sparks ideas that never would’ve come to me alone. So thanks to everyone for their cooperation and patience. I’m so excited about what we have so far and I hope you are, too. My goal is to see this baby on the Ass Platter.

Written By: Meri Bobber

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