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“I love the D.C. audiences. They’re very, very warm,” Maurice Hines tells Metro Weekly. “Certain cities are not. You have to warm them up…I don’t have to do tricks here. I just come out and I say, ‘Hi!’ And they say ‘Hi’ right back! It’s wonderful.”
Hines has been a regular presence on the D.C. theater scene for the past 15 years or so, ever since he starred in a production of Guys and Dolls at Arena Stage. He’s now back at Arena with the autobiographical show Maurice Hines Is Tappin Thru Life, which starts its regular run tonight after a week of previews. The show features Hines center stage recounting his many memories of tap-dancing with his late younger brother Gregory Hines and all the celebrities they worked with along the way, from Judy Garland to Frank Sinatra to Lena Horne. It also features two new sets of tap-dancing brothers — and D.C. area natives — whose careers Hines has helped to advance, John and Leo Manzari and Max and Sam Heimowitz. Dancing with them helps Hines feel a little less lonely now that his only sibling and both of his supportive parents have all died. “It’s less lonely when we’re all onstage together,” he told Metro Weekly in a cover feature a couple weeks ago. “Oh, it’s just heaven. I can feel my brother there.”
Maurice Hines Is Tappin’ Thru Life runs to Dec. 29 at Arena Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $50 to $99. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.