Summary and commentary by Roberta Zlokower
Part I -- A scene from a 1768 Fragonard painting, "The Swing", from the Rococo period. One lover sits on the ground, gazing upwards with desire. In this production, two lovers gaze in desire, and compete in a sexually charged aerobic dance, with acrobatic features, over and through the swing, as the petticoats flutter and the porcelain-doll temptress teases one lover, while accepting from him jewels and champagne, and seduces the other lover, during the swinging acrobatics, as an amusement, while her apparent fiancee acquires more champagne. Shannon Hammons, who also appears in a bar scene, in Part III, is a splendid substitute in this physically and dramatically, demanding role. The semblance and sensuousness of this Rococo scene exemplify the Rococo spirit, as described in The Art Book (Phaidon Press), "all powder, perfume, and artifice, with a highly polished finish". (p.162) One is not sure, at the end of this scene, which relationship is actually requited, as the men suddenly change roles.
Part II -- An extremely dysfunctional marital relationship in the 1950's plays itself out in the midst of strangers, lovers at another table, actually becoming engaged in the middle of mayhem, a pregnant wife and her husband at another table, discord turning to near murder, surprises galore, the husband disappearing, presumed shot, re-appearing, around scenes in which the abused wife actually dances in ballets with the headwaiter. An unrequited relationship (wife/headwaiter), superb role changes, wife in a dream sequence reminiscent of the Kelly/Caron ballet scene in "American in Paris".
Part III -- A Cleo winner in a cool, but spartan, Manhattan apartment, alienated and near suicide, makes "Contact" with the woman of his dreams, on the same night, in a bar called Vinnie's, with a bartender (Danny Mastrogiorgio) who has completely switched roles from abusive husband to therapeutic bartender. Alan Campbell is perfectly typecast, an "enthusiastic" (his self-description) dancer. Colleen Dunn has a delicious demeanor -- sophisticated, sly, seductive, sultry. Adorable as a pajama-dancing neighbor, "girl of my dreams", and wild and wanton as the queen of the bar dancers, the one who reduces all men to their knees. Some of the bar dancers, in swing scenes (a play on the original swing scene), have been seen in the after-hours swing and hustle scenes around NY.
Choreography was sensational, with a touch of Tango togetherness. Susan Stroman deserves endless accolades for the Direction and Choreography of "Contact". John Weidman also deserves accolades for writing "Contact".