Enter the era of the business office circa 1950, filled with those ambitious, modern career gals in pumps and fishnet stockings gossiping at the water cooler or sipping martinis over happy hour. From our pencil-pushing working girl, to the boss' stay-at-home wife, to the mingling socialite, watch the girls that have made it through one day at the office.
Group Choreographer: Knox Harter
Producer: Knox Harter, Anna Jaeger, Laura Furtado, DivaGirl Entertainment
Costumes and Styling: Knox Harter
Media and Marketing: Knox Harter
Friday April 25th, 2014; 9pm
Saturday April 26th, 2014; 9pm
Location: Parlour 270, 270 Adelaide St. W, Toronto
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door
A new agreement was made between High Society Cabaret and DivaGirl Entertainment. Shows would be presented by both the Chic-A-Boom Room and DivaGirl Entertainment. While Anna was on maternity leave, Knox would take over as a temporary operations manager, but would still regularly consult with Anna on the artistic direction of the company. Knox would be responsible for creating any promotional media content for the production, where Laura would be responsible for the production’s promotions, networking, ticketing and ticket sales. Laura was also collaborating with Parlour’s kitchen to incorporate a dinner service as an option before each show. A second show was added to the production to alleviate crowding on the venue while also providing the opportunity for more ticket sales. Going forward, each production would be given an assigned budget solely to pay for the flat rates for each performer in the show, paid for by DivaGirl. The show would need to make this performer budget with ticket sales to break even, and any profit gained after that would be divided three ways between Laura, Anna and Knox.
Meanwhile, Back at the Office was inspired by Mad Men and 1950s office culture, specifically women in the workplace. Knox’s specific inspirations for group choreography were Jerry Lewis, Carol Burnett as Mrs. Wiggins and old mid-century informational workplace videos. In an attempt to set a new standard of quality she wanted to see, Knox would begin investing her own personal finances into costumes and styling for each production. The goal was to accumulate both costuming and choreographic content that could be reused for corporate entertainment booking either with High Society Cabaret or DivaGirl Entertainment.
Rehearsals were held at City Dance Corps at Queen West and Spadina twice a week for two hours, for four weeks. Learning from their last production, Knox specifically created choreography for the space in Parlour, incorporating the use of chairs and more gestured movements. Creating dynamic choreography proved to be a challenge with the limited space, and tech rehearsal was used to troubleshoot the small raised stage and any choreography that would prove to be too difficult to execute. Knox’s choreographic style would adapt to having shortened arms, a tightly held trunk, and hard stops so the dancers could ground themselves.
Due to scheduling and logistical challenges, booking an opening act for the show was scrapped, however Knox was thrilled to bring on Charlie Quinn as a guest burlesque artist. Knox would also encourage the dancers to explore and incorporate elements of burlesque into their solos at their comfort level as she aimed to make it a distinguisher of the company.
Performing two shows proved to be beneficial as it made the work more rewarding to the cast to do more than one performance, and it gave audiences more flexibility to attend the shows.