Meet the Artist

Meet The Artist

Choreographer Peggy Hickey

Choreographer Peggy HickeyHow old were you when you knew you wanted to be a dancer and choreographer?

I took my first dance lesson when I was four. I was one of those kids that always knew what I wanted to do. I was staging musicals in my garage with the neighborhood kids from about eight-years-old.

Is there a particular musical, opera or film from your childhood that was your greatest inspiration?

When I was little my parents took us to see Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music in the movie theater, and I was smitten! I especially loved “Step In Time” from Mary Poppins!

When did you first work with Darko?

Michael Price from the Goodspeed Opera House put us together for A Little Night Music 14 years ago. We’ve been happily busy with musicals, opera and Shakespeare ever since. 

What’s unique about working with Darko?

Darko is an incredibly generous and supportive collaborator. He includes me in all of his planning, and we work far ahead of production dates planning and designing. Darko’s spectacular and unique sense of the visual and emotional underpinnings of a production always inspires and teaches me. I think the fact that we have become dear friends through it all has added greatly to our ability to work well together. 

Peggy Hickey (center) talks with James T. Lane and Director Darko Tresnjak
Peggy Hickey (center) talks with James T. Lane and Director Darko Tresnjak

What’s your favorite work you have done with Darko and why?

There are so many, but of course, I will have to say that A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder has been one of our most gratifying collaborations as it has gone on to win so much acclaim. It has been a thrill seeing our work reach such a wide and appreciative audience!

What was your experience working with Darko on The Ghosts of Versailles in LA? Have you ever worked on a piece so large?

As I live in Los Angeles, LA Opera has been my artistic home for the last 25 years. Working on The Ghosts of Versailles was terrifying and thrilling all at once! We had over 100 people, 15 of whom were dancers on stage, and 72 in the pit. We had only two weeks in the studio and limited tech time. Somehow, we managed to get it all on stage, and the results were glorious. Though I have worked on many pieces this large, this opera had the rare advantage of a living composer. 

Do you have any gems you want to share about The Brady Bunch or Patrick Cassidy with our audiences?!

One quick funny Brady Bunch story is that in order to create a dance on a moving escalator I took all six Brady kids to an Ikea parking lot where I had found an escalator that I thought was mostly deserted. We didn’t have a permit or any permission, but I was desperate to rehearse so we risked it and had to run away several times when we saw the security guard . . . kind of silly considering we were doing a great big Paramount feature film! Luckily it all turned out well. I also had the pleasure of working here in Hartford at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center with Patrick Cassidy and his Mom, Shirley Jones. We did The Music Man here in town and had a ball. Shirley had been pregnant with Patrick during the filming of The Music Man movie!

What part, or plans, for Kiss Me, Kate are you most excited about?

I have to say I am so excited about all of it. Of course the number Too Darn Hot is a highlight as well as Tom, Dick or Harry. The dancers are the best in the business, and it is always a thrill to work with this amazing level of talent! I am also looking forward to working with the two gangsters on Brush Up Your Shakespeare, what a treat!

What’s your next project?

The day after we open here, I go on to Bellport, New York, to start Nice Work if You Can Get It at The Gateway Playhouse. Gershwin! I feel so lucky to be able to do two iconic composers in a row. That production will also go on to the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine, ah summer stock! Also, Darko and I have the national tour of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder coming up in August.