Trauma, religion and dancing take center stage in “Kick,” an off-Broadway play directed by Rockville Centre resident Lynne Taylor-Corbett.
Based on star Joanna Rush’s memoir, “Asking For It,” this one-woman play tells the darkly comic story of dancer Bernadette O’Connell, who goes from Catholic school girl to Rockette to single mother to exotic dancer and beyond — all while navigating the dangerous world of men and relationships. “It’s a complex piece,” said Taylor-Corbett. “It spans a long period of time from someone’s life … It’s an extraordinary look for me at the shifting perceptions of women from the late ’60s to now. It’s fascinating.”
Rush, a former Rockette who played Sheila in the original Broadway production of “A Chorus Line,” met Taylor-Corbett through a mutual friend from California. Rush had written a series of monologues based on her life. She and Taylor-Corbett worked together on them sporadically over a number of years, eventually developing them into a one-woman show.
One of the play’s themes is how sexual assault has been handled over the past several decades. “It’s very apparent through her story how life has changed and stayed the same,” Taylor-Corbett said, “with young women having such a hard time on college campuses.”
Funded by Kickstarter, an online fundraising site, the play opened last Sunday at the St. Luke’s Theatre in Manhattan, after many performances on college campuses. According to Taylor-Corbett, one college student said that after seeing the show, he realized he had committed date rape.
The play used to be called “Asking for It,” but its name had to be changed when it turned out there was another production with the same name. Taylor-Corbett and Rush said that the word kick resonated with them, and led to the show’s tagline: “It’s not how high — it’s how strong!”
Taylor-Corbett, who preferred to not give her age, first became interested in show business when she was 5. Her mother was a concert pianist. “At that time, women didn’t get very far in that field,” she said. “She took me to class when I was a little girl. I danced in ballet, worked into dance and then theater. It was just all pretty inevitable.”