- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 23, 2002

Ted Levy, who plays the Mikado in Ford's Theatre's "Hot Mikado," says he's got the best job in show business.
Not only does he get to tap dance and sing his way through the musical he also gets to enjoy the first act from the wings, since his character doesn't appear until the second act.
"It's great to do a show [when] the whole show is about me," Mr. Levy jokes. "I come in the middle of the second act, I do one number, tear the town apart, and then I'm on my merry way."
Aside from tearing apart the town, he also mesmerizes the audience when he appears in his gold-embroidered suit and patent leather tap shoes.
His tap dance number lasts only a few minutes, but is furiously fast and has great flare. Tappin' Ted jumps, turns, glides and slides faster than most people can tap their fingers.
Among Mr. Levy's mentors were Finis Henderson (Sammy Davis Jr.'s former manager) and tap luminary Gregory Hines, with whom he collaborated on "Jelly's Last Jam," for which he was awarded the 1993 Outer Critics Circle Award.
Mr. Levy also won an Emmy Award for the PBS special "Precious Memories" and made his film debut in Spike Lee's "Malcolm X."
When he is not performing on Broadway, in films or television, Mr. Levy works as the artistic director of the Sammy Dyer School of the Theater in Chicago.
He hopes his work as a tap teacher, dancer and performer will help further what he calls "America's premier art form."
"Tap dancing is my love," Mr. Levy says. "America has a wealth of tap dancers, but so many of them are unknown."
When asked to do the Mikado role, Mr. Levy didn't hesitate for a second. He'd read that tap legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson had played the part of the Mikado many decades ago and saw that as an inspiration.
"He's such a legend," Mr. Levy says. "The fact that he did the role is kind of intimidating."
Judging from the thunderous applause from the audience, Mr. Levy fills the tap shoes well. Although the musical is mostly choreographed by David Bell, Mr. Levy did its electrifying number, "The Mikado Song," himself.
Mr. Levy says part of why "Hot Mikado" is a good fit for him is the music. He loves the big band, and swing-era sound.
"The big band era really did open up a wealth of musical growth," says Mr. Levy, who most recently performed in "Thou Shalt Not" on Broadway.
"You could sit there and tap your fingers and bob your head to it," which is what he hopes Washington audiences will do at "Hot Mikado," too.
"Come and experience a wonderful music of a wonderful time," Mr. Levy says. "This cast is slamming. No one will be disappointed."


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