Preview: The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play At ACT Theatre

jazzercise at seattle's act theatre on equality365.com

Breaking news: An aerobic crisis unfolds during the production of The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play, now playing in The Bullitt Cabaret at ACT Theatre through April 29th.

The situation? Kelsea’s high school nemesis, Chelsea, has just been hired as athletic director at the community center. And she’s taking over with her more popular Zumba class, robbing Kelsea of her students and her greatest achievement in life.

Written by Megan Hill and directed by Margot Bordelon, with choreography by Sarita Lou, The Last Class tells the faux-tragic comedy tells the story of a Jazzercize instructor dealing with the decline of Jazzercize in favor of Zumba. Set in the frame of a single class, it is, of course, an hour-long show. Playwright Hill also stars as Kelsea, the class’s manically devoted instructor, supported by her mild-mannered assistant MJ Fray, played by Amy Staats. Both are Seattle natives.

Meanwhile, at the Chikatawnee Valley Community Center, Jazzercize is out; Zumba is in. But instructor Kelsea Wiggan (Megan Hill) is not going down without a fight. Armed with pep, a petition, and her keep-the-peace co-instructor MJ, Kelsea is determined to keep Jazzercize alive and well at the Center. But it may be a lost cause.

So, it’s Kelsea’s last stand. Devastated but not yet downtrodden, she prepares to teach her Jazzercize class one more time–she wants to make sure that this final class is nothing but amazing. She and her assistant, MJ Fray (Amy Staats) are going to give the two people who have arrived for this final session a workout to remember.

Over the course of the play, a hurt and angry, woe-is-me Kelsea laments her life, choices, and loneliness, while MJ struggles to keep the room together with positive thinking. All of this goes on simultaneously during the jazzercize class. Lift and lift becomes lines and lament which becomes squat and sweat. As the workout music bangs out the beat, spandex expands, and bosoms bounce, you’ll hear smarty-pants sass like, “Do you know what Zumba is? Jazzercize’s slutty little sister.”

Although many types of aerobic exercise incorporate elements of dance, Jazzercize is one of the oldest and most successful. As its name suggests, Jazzercize grew out of the jazz dance tradition, whereas Zumba was born out of Latin music and dance. FYI: Zumba has spread worldwide since its founding in 1999. However, it is banned in Iran.

The Last Class is a real aerobics class happening in real time. Along with standard audience seating, two tickets will be made available each performance for audience members wanting to take the class. No need to panic, couch potatoes, you’re not in danger of being drafted. The two “students” were signed up before the production opened.

The slots are all taken . . . unless someone drops out to take a Zumba class.

The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play runs through April 29th in The Bullitt Cabaret at ACT Theatre, 700 Union Street, in downtown Seattle. Tickets start at $20 (Student discounts available). For tickets and more information, call 206.292.7676 or visit www.acttheatre.org.

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About Starla Smith

Starla Smith is a career journalist, writing features for such publications as The New Yorker, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily News, The Des Moines Register, Vibe and a prize-winning Gannett Newspaper. She helped launch Theater Week Magazine and eventually became its publisher. As a regular contributor to Playbill, her interviews and photos were featured in Playbill and Playbill-on-line. Smith was featured in the New York Times "Style" section for her "Word Portraits," specialized tributes, speeches, and presentation profiles. And she covered theater and features for City Search, Digital City, and the Tena Duberry WOW! Radio show. She previously served as astrology guru for Out Magazine, and she hastens to assure her readers that "Starla" is indeed her real name.

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