Taye Diggs, dancer? Well can he tap? 'Cuz he can tap my as..., er, nevermind.
The foot traffic in Midtown Manhattan didn't come to a complete standstill as Taye Diggs strolled up Ninth Avenue, but the actor still managed to turn a few heads on a brisk weekday afternoon. "Just recently white people are starting to notice who I am," said Mr. Diggs, as he walked past a pair of middle-aged white women, both of whom did double takes. "In the black community of actors that's the gauge of how big you are, your real crossover appeal."
Since appearing in the Broadway phenomenon "Rent" nearly a decade ago, Mr. Diggs, 33, has moved easily between films ("The Best Man," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"), stage ("Carousel," "Chicago") and television ("Ally McBeal," "Kevin Hill").
Audiences will be seeing even more of the genre-hopping actor in the near future. He's currently starring in the revival of "A Soldier's Play," Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a murder at a Louisiana Army base during World War II. And he is again playing the role of Benny, the slumlord, in the film adaptation of "Rent," which opens on Nov. 23. Four more films are already in the can.
As if that weren't enough, he recently helped found a modern dance troupe called dre.dance, in which he is the principal choreographer - a fact that is sure to surprise many of his fans.
"Nobody knows that between singing, acting and dancing, I enjoy dance the most," he said, beaming, while sitting in a lounge at the Second Street Theater (where "A Soldier's Play" is running) a few hours before he was due at dance rehearsal.
Mr. Diggs said he discovered a love of dance as a teenager at the Performing Arts High School in Rochester and had continued to take classes over the years, studying with the likes of Timothy Traper and the Garth Fagen dancers.
Until his movie career took off, he was quite serious about dance, said Andrew Palermo, a choreographer and high school buddy, the other founder of the troupe, which now has seven members and is being financed by the Dance Theater Workshop.
Posted by ronn at November 13, 2005 05:31 PM