- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2006

“He’s pure genius,” volunteered young Samantha Pollin of Hampstead, Md., talking about working with Maurice Hines, the creatie mind behind the new dance musical “Hot Feet,” which is having its pre-Broadway run at the National Theatre. Mr. Hines, last seen locally as a star of Arena Stage’s “Guys and Dolls,” also directed and choreographed the new show, set to the music and lyrics of Maurice Whitecqof Earh, Wind & Fire.

Out of the mouth of babes comes the wisdom of the ages. Samantha is all of 11 years old and is one of the leads in the production, which features the terpsichorean talents of 19-year-old Vivian Nixon, who got her early training at Washington’s Kirov Academy of Ballet. The California-based Miss Nixon, a rail-thin torrent of muscle and grace, just happens to be the daughter of Mr. Hine and Miss Allen starred together in “Guys and Dolls” at Carter Barron Amphitheatrested Theater here about 30 years ago, Mr. Hines said during the celebratory cast party of “Hot Feet” at the Old Ebbittcq sted 1 t Grill Atriumcq following Tuesday’s official opening. The show, which he gleefully called “the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” opens on Broadway April 30. Coming next out of his creative bag is a hip-hop version of “Alice In Wonderland,” but this show has plenty of hop and hips as well.

The evening brought together old friends and new. a Powell, a Kennedy Center trustee, greeted Miss Allen, whom she said she had known for “ten or twelve years,” most especially because of her dancer-director-educator’s role in crafting children’s productions at Kennedy Center. The two stood together under the marquee before curtain time, surrounded by admirers such as Donn B. Murphy—,cq president of National Theatre’s board of trustees, who mentioned plans to host the theater’s first major benefit gala in 20 years on June 8.

Mr. Murphy, no neophyte in such matters, declared later how “happy” the dancers’ buoyant enthusiasm made him feel.

The secret of their ferocious energy? “I just eat a lot and dance,” Miss Nixon said before joining her mother for dinner in the restaurant.

Ann Geracimos

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