Broadway veterans coming to Minot for a toe-tapping performance

Two on Tap brings its tap and song performance to MSU

dancers

Two on Tap is coming to perform at Minot State University for guests to enjoy classic song and dance performed by Broadway veterans Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano.

The duo has been performing together for around nine years now in Two on Tap. They dance and sing songs from 1920s to the 1950s to give a fun, classic performance.

“Audiences have changed throughout the decades. In a world filled with television, on-demand video, reality TV and virtual reality, a standard song-and-dance review seems less relevant than in previous years. We fill our show with a never-ending parade of variety to keep the audience interested and hold their attentions over the course of our two-act performance. We’ve never met (or heard of) another couple who perform the volume of material that we do in one evening, so when we created this show we had to break the mold and do something new and relevant,” DeStefano said.

The performance will take place Nov. 14 at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall. It starts at 7:30 p.m. and typically lasts around two hours. During their performance, the variety they offer is tap dancing to classical music, a country number, multiple costume changes, a vaudeville section, softshoe numbers, and improvised jazz, but that isn’t what they like to leave the audience with.

“At the end of each show, the audience doesn’t remember our dance steps or even the lyrics to our songs. They remember the way they feel when they watch us. They remember smiling from ear to ear as we bring them back to a time when life seemed a little simpler and their worries seemed a little less burdensome. We regale them with funny stories, keep their attention with fun twists and turns on familiar tunes, and most of all focus their attention on our long and full friendship that has stood the test of time over two decades of travel around the world,” DeStefano said.

In their performance, DeStefano describes himself as the kooky, goofy, do-anything-for-a-laugh kind of guy and Giattino is more elegant, heartfelt, and soulful. Together he says it’s a winning combination.

The duo first met back in 1996 while DeStefano was looking for a fun summer between his undergraduate and his graduate work and Giattino was looking for a fun summer job. They both ended up onstage at The Mac-Hadyn Theatre in Chatham, NY.

“It was there that our longtime friendship began, and she was instrumental in convincing me to defer my schooling for a year and to try the audition circuit in the Big Apple. We had separate careers for many years, but around 2009 we got the idea to turn her fun song-and-dance musical creations into a real headliner show,” DeStafano said about how the duo first met.

Giattino has always been performing. Her parents owned a dance studio and growing up she performed and trained at a regional theater near her home in Long Island, N.Y. By the time she reached high school she was already starring in Broadway national tours.

For DeStefano, his path to performing was quite a bit different. Though he liked to play piano and sing, it wasn’t where he saw his career going, so he went to college for a degree in chemistry at Florida State University. While there he decided to audition for their music school on a whim and got a full-ride scholarship to get a music degree alongside his chemistry degree. After that, he went to New York for a sort of sabbatical before continuing his education, got in to performing and never looked back.

The Two on Tap duo do more than just perform though. They have many different education outreach programs that allows them to reach students and hopefully spark an interest in the arts. In the mini-concerts they perform for elementary and middle schools, instead of just performing as they do for adults, they use their performance to teach the students the seven fundamental elements of music. They offer training programs at performing arts schools in some cities as well. Their favorite program they have though is their “Tea for Two Outreach.”

“We send a teaching video in advance to local dance studios of a quintessential softshoe routine to the 1928 classic “Tea for Two.” On the day of the show, we meet with the dance studio(s) onstage for a one-hour rehearsal to integrate them into the performance, and then we sing and dance alongside them in the evening program. It’s so much fun for the students, parents, and us,” DeStefano said of the program.

Tickets for their Minot performance are $30 for adults and $15 for students. They can be purchased at the door or at www.minotconcerts.org.

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