Joe Orrach stars in the autobiographical play "In My Corner." (Ana Orrach)
Former US Air Force Welterweight champion and tap dancer extraordinaire Joe Orrach is presenting his newest production, titled “In My Corner,” on May 31 at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse.
“It’s a tremendously physical play,” says Orrach, who constantly prepared with specific workouts to be in top shape. “Not only am I getting my timing back, but I’m also getting my endurance back.”
Orrach admits that it can all be a little exhausting.
“I don’t like to prepare too much in advance. I put the play away until it nears,” he says.
Orrach, originally discovered by Gregory Hines, has shared the stage with greats like Hines, Bob Hope, the Smothers Brothers and Joan Baez, among others. He has also appeared in “Teatro ZinZanni” in San Francisco and in Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You.
Lizbeth Hasse is the playwright of “In My Corner,” while Jeremiah Chechik is the director.
“Orrach has created a very powerful, emotionally charged piece that taps into universal themes of fathers and sons,” comments Chechik. “What’s so extraordinary is the way that dynamic creeps up on you because it’s played out in such an entertaining way.”
Elizabeth Doran, the Executive Director of the Pasadena Playhouse adds, “We have been looking for the ideal way to re-open the Carrie Hamilton Theatre after renovating it into a new and intimate black box theatre … we are very happy to be showcasing Joe Orrach and his engaging and dynamic play ‘In My Corner.’”
“In My Corner” tells the autobiographical tale of a half Italian, half Puerto Rican kid and his life growing up with an abusive former boxer for a father. The show explores how his discovery of dance helped him escape that life of chaos and violence.
“It’s a story about fathers and sons,” says Orrach. “Many come up to me and tell me how emotional they get. It’s a universal story; we are just trying to tell it in a very unique way.”
The show is very dynamic and fast-paced, and it’s full of fantastic tap dance numbers accompanied by a phenomenal jazz ensemble.
It was most recently seen at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles in 2013.
Orrach hinted that “In My Corner” turns out to be emotionally riveting in some ways.
“It’s a very physical and emotional play,” concludes Orrach. “The play is a dramatic piece synced to music.”
What: “In My Corner”
Where: The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena 91101
When: Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Contact: (626) 356-7529 or Pasadena Playhouse