Jared Grimes and his superior dance skill have been the highlights in the New York productions of After Midnight and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. He was the associate choreographer of the Tupac musical Holler if You Hear Me, and now he and Derek Hough (backed by The Rockettes) are legit stopping the show at Radio City Musical Hall with their duet of “Singin’ in the Rain” during the New York Spring Spectacular.
BroadwayBox caught up with Grimes to talk about the NYC-centric extravaganza, his new music video and working with Derek Hough.
1. This show is a love letter to Manhattan and I want to know, what’s your New York City happy place?
Currently, my New York City happy place is Radio City—you can do anything there. I can’t remember a job where I wake up in the morning and get excited to actually go to the theatre. I go there and I have an awesome dressing room with a TV, rehearsal space on the upper floors to practice before or after a show; I feel like it’s Disney Land.
2. As a fan of Gene Kelly’s, is performing “Singin’ in the Rain” the biggest pinch me moment of your career so far?
It’s surreal. I grew up watching that movie with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor and never in a million years thought I would have the opportunity to perform that number on this stage while it’s actually raining. Not to mention doing it with my main man, Derek Hough. Feeling the energy of the audience and the Rockettes behind us, and seeing those 6,000 people out there, it feels magical and really transcendent. It’s a once in a lifetime feeling.
3. Jumping to the new music video for “So In Love,” what was the ultimate music video for you growing up? Which one nailed it?
Oh man, you know it’s so easy to say almost any Michael Jackson video so I’m going to go away from the expected and hit you with “Opposites Attract,” with Paula Abdul tap dancing with a cartoon cat. That was my jam; that was the first time I saw an artist tap dance in a video. That is still one of my favorite videos ever.
4. So you worked with Kenny Leon on Holler, is there a hope/dream/chance that you’ll be dancing up a storm in Kenny’s upcoming revival of The Wiz? ‘Cause you’d be pretty perfect.
I’ll tell you a funny story: I’ve known Kenny before Holler and After Midnight and months ago I sent him a video of me singing “You Can’t Win” from The Wiz. And I told him, ‘It’d be amazing if me and you can find a way to bring this project to life again.’ Then I look online the other day and see that he is directing it so I text him immediately. I’m so excited for him. The Wiz, to me, is so important—it’ part of history.
5. Let’s bring it back to Derek for a minute, what’s one thing you’ve learned about dance from Derek and one thing you’ve imparted onto him?
The first day I met Derek, we knew we were going to be trouble makers; we are built on the same energy to create and grow every second of every day. Since Derek is a really talented drummer, I have given him the confidence to translate what he knows about the drums down to his feet. A lot of tap dancing has a lot to do with drumming, so every time we work on certain steps, we make the connection to drumming skills. And what he’s given me in this process is the professionalism. He’s accomplished so much and I like to learn and absorb what makes another dancer work, and I’ve put it in my pocket. We’re a team, like Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan.
Bring the whole family to see Jared Grimes, Derek Hough and The Rockettes singin' and dancin' in the rain at Radio City Music Hall, now extended through May 7.