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Interview with Broadway Song & Dance Man Noah Racey 

Noah Racey | Broadway Performer | Stated Magazine Interview

Noah Racey



Noah Racey is an award-winning Broadway performer, as well as a director, choreographer, and artistic director. He has been seen on Broadway in CURTAINS, NEVER GONNA DANCE, FOLLIES, and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, among others. His New York Song & Dance Company just returned from sharing the uniquely American art of tap dancing with the people of Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Amman, Jordan.

stated: What is it about performing that first attracted you?

NOAH RACEY: I love music. I also love dancing. I also love drumming. I grew up in a household of music lovers, and was given a drum at the age of 3 which I quickly “understood” in a way that has stayed with me ever since. I got involved in theatre in high school and discovered tap dancing, which led me into a career in musical theatre, the most maligned bastard of the fine arts due to the impossible degree of difficulty many people encounter trying to do it without looking like an ass. (That’s three—count ‘em—THREE different art forms existing in one medium, folks!).

stated: Who are some of your influences or idols?

NOAH RACEY: I have spent the majority of my career as a “Song and Dance Man” in the tradition of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Gregory Hines, and Bugs Bunny (check out his work, he was drawn from the best in the biz). I am also a devotee of physical comedians like Bill Irwin, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and John Ritter.

Noah Racey on Stated Magazine

stated: What do you hope to accomplish in your work and what keeps bringing you back for more?

NOAH RACEY: When it is done just so, the deceptively simple act of singing a song and doing a little dance is so otherworldly in its ability to charm and enrapture an audience, those who can do it with integrity and truth are part of an elite group of men and women that I try my damnedest to live up to with my work.

I try to combine the disciplines of spoken word, singing, drumming, and dance in ways that keep me (and hopefully the audience) interested. The “Song And Dance Man” (or woman) has its roots in so many cultural traditions around the world, but the American Song and Dance (Wo)Men as we know them are rooted firmly in the vaudeville tradition. What I love to do is take the older traditions and infuse them with contemporary energy. Rap and hip-hop, and to some extent tap dancing (which right now is having an unbelievable worldwide renaissance), are really vivid right now in mainstream culture. I try to interpolate them into the traditional format of song and dance using rhythm as the thread to sew the past and future together.

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What ends up happening is that old songs—like “(I’ve Got You) Under My Skin” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street”—are infused with a modern energy and vibrancy and the new styles of movement and spoken lyric get couched in a classic style of presentation that makes for a really wonderful show.

Noah Racey on Stated Magazine

stated: What projects are on the horizon?

NOAH RACEY: I am currently working on some really cool projects that are at different stages of development. One of them is a group I started three years ago called the New York Song & Dance Company. This company does exactly what I described; it is my own personal Petri dish of musical theatre performance. We just visited the Middle East for the second time for back-to-back engagements in Jerusalem and Amman, Jordan. In one sense, it’s just a fun little song and dance troupe. In another sense, I feel—as I feel with almost all of our country’s civic evolutions—the arts lead the way in encouraging people to look outside their differences and righteous indignation toward a deeper level of collaboration and harmony. Performing for people who have never seen a tap dancer, or in some cases have never heard of tap dancing at all, is pretty wonderful. There are times I feel I am playing an active part in that awareness being shared. Watching one of our female members step out onto the floor in front of a very conservative audience—people who have very specific understandings of what women are able to do in their lifetime–and watching that dancer proceed to make the floor sing like they never thought possible. Watching people see this, it’s pretty special.

: Now that you’re back, how was the show received? Did anything about the experience surprise you?

NOAH RACEY: Our company had an amazing time playing to sold-out houses in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Amman, Jordan. It was encouraging to find that no matter what political or cultural differences people may grow up under, the majority of us have the same desire to take a breath and step away from the anger and fear that creates conflict among us. I was really happy to realize that we—open minded, progressive, peace craving citizens of the world—vastly outnumber the constricted minded, fundamentalist, fear peddling few. And…given the chance, EVERYBODY would know how to tap dance!

stated: Sounds like an unforgettable experience.  What’s up next for you?

Noah Racey on Stated Magazine

NOAH RACEY: The next thing I am doing is heading to Bahrain with New York Song & Dance Company in March for a series of concerts and outreach programs, then I am choreographing back here in the states, specifically at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and then in Connecticut at Goodspeed Opera House. After that, I am collaborating with David Hyde Pierce on a new musical he is directing at the George Street Playhouse.

stated: Don’t forget to breathe somewhere in there… That’s fantastic. All the best with it thanks so much for joining us.


Visit the New York Song & Dance Company at and Noah at



Debbie Millman, another featured stated artist, asked Noah the following…

DEBBIE: What’s your favorite Barbra Streisand song and why?

NOAH: I like all her stuff pretty much the same; impressive voice and phenomenal musicality. If I had to choose, I’d say her “Down With Love” is pretty kick-ass.



Noah, who thought fellow stated artist Virginia Elwood’s work was “@#$%ing unreal,” asked her the following about her tattoo artwork…

NOAH: If your pictures could do one thing, what is a (non-realistic) fantasy of what your artwork could do as opposed to simply sitting there as a painting on someone’s body?

Read Virginia’s reply next…

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