April 11, 2009

Sergio Trujillo Reflects on Jersey Boys Choreography

April 11th, 2009

Sergio Trujillo Chicago Tribune’s Sid Smith has a feature on today’s Broadway choreographers and asks, “Do we live in the age of the incredibly shrinking Broadway choreographer?”

One of the choreographers Smith speaks with is JERSEY BOYS choreographer Sergio Trujillo:

“We don’t seem to get the chance to create our own pieces of theater, we do seem more limited,” Sergio Trujillo, choreographer of “Jersey Boys,” now at the Bank of America Theatre, admits. “The movement is so often dictated by the music or concept of the show.”

For now Trujillo, 45, who came to dance relatively late, is content to bide his time: “I’m finding my own way and my voice, and I can only do it with the material given to me.”

His task in “Jersey Boys” illustrates the choreographic challenges of the jukebox musical. At first blush, there doesn’t seem to be much choreography. The movement is mostly the shoulder and leg thrusts that evoke the real-life quartet at the heart of the story, the Four Seasons.

But to suggest Trujillo isn’t hard at work misses some sublime strokes of minimalism. Trujillo engages in a kind of sleight-of-hand probably anathema to Bennett or Fosse.

Consider “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)” late in Act I, a party scene in which the performers, seated mostly in a row of furniture, tease Bob Gaudio as he prepares to lose his virginity.

The actors largely sway in almost naturalistic responses to the music, until one key segment, where they pass a flask down the line, a minutely staged bit that gracefully dots the music and then slips by—as deftly timed as the fall of a ballerina into the arms of her prince.

“I didn’t want to be a caricaturist, I didn’t want to simply echo the period,” Trujillo says. “The Four Seasons didn’t do much movement themselves. They stood in formation, facing front. So it was important to come up with choreography that didn’t seem like choreography, that seemed spontaneous.

“Even the way the tables and chairs are moved on and off stage, the placing of a microphone,” Trujillo adds. “The idea is not to get in the way.”

The invisible choreographer is deliberately invisible


  1. The subtle intricacies are where the magic lies. Sergio obviously gave a lot of thought to the overall concept, as well as to the smallest details. This article was short, but rather enlightening. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    Comment by Audrey — April 12, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  2. I knew Sergio in jr. High school. We won the best dancers of our school when we danced together to Ring My Bell. If anyone can pass this along to him and let him know that Kathy King says, congrats on your successful life, I always knew you would do what you love and be all that you could be. You prove that dreams come true and hard work pays off.
    Be well always,

    Comment by Kathy King — April 20, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment