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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student


'Blast' earns professor Emmy

Outstanding Choreography award a reward for hard work

When Professor of Theatre and Drama George Pinney went to bed Saturday night, he was almost sure he had won an Emmy.\nThe Academy of Television Arts and Sciences had nominated Pinney and fellow choreographers Jon Vanderkolff and Jim Moore for an Emmy in Outstanding Choreography for "Blast!," the brass, percussion and dancing extravaganza that has its roots in Bloomington and has gone to London, Broadway and now the small screen, courtesy of PBS.\nThe award was announced Saturday night at the Creative Arts Awards, a ceremony held separately from the main Emmy broadcast this Sunday. The Creative Arts ceremony was given a delayed broadcast on cable channel E! Sunday night, and will be rebroadcast Friday at 10 a.m.\nWithout a live broadcast to watch, Vanderkolff had to check the Emmys Web site to learn they had received the award.\n"Jon called and said 'George, I think we won,'" Pinney said.\nPinney was excited, but he wasn't completely convinced.\n"I went on the Web this morning to double-check," he said Sunday. "It's a huge honor. I guess I never expected to win. This is a huge, huge, big deal."\nBloomington Chancellor Sharon Brehm said this is a nice way for Pinney to be recognized.\n"We're very happy for him and delighted he's on the faculty in Bloomington," Brehm said.\nThis is not the first national award for "Blast!" The show's Broadway production, which opened in April, earned two Tony nominations this summer; one for Best Choreography, which it lost to "The Producers," and a Special Theatrical Event award, granted to "Blast!" by the nominating committee.\nThe genesis of "Blast!" was Star of Indiana, a drum corps founded in Bloomington in 1984 by Bill Cook, president of medical equipment manufacturer Cook Group Incorporated. The young corps won the Drum Corps International World Championships in 1991, and a year later Cook contacted Pinney about spinning off Star of Indiana into a stage production -- the production that would be "Blast!" It took a few years to get off the ground, but once it got going, there was no stopping "Blast!"\n"Nothing has ever been staged like this before," said Jim Mason, former Star of Indiana director and the producer and artistic director of "Blast!", in an interview on the "Blast!" Web site. \n"We're truly creating a new musical genre with "Blast!" he said. "Being able to shrink what Star of Indiana did on a football pitch to a theater, and stage it with the bold, theatrical lighting, set design and sound enhancement that a modern theater has, is really a challenge. \n"But it's one we're very excited about attempting."\nThe TV production was filmed in London last year and edited together from live performances and additional footage.\nVanderkolff had no doubts "Blast!" would go as far as it has. \n"You've got to have dreams," he said. "You have to believe in it that much. I knew that people would really enjoy it."\nPinney also had a feeling "Blast!" would be a success.\n"It was always my gut feeling that "Blast!" was something very very special."\nVanderkolff and Pinney haven't had time to celebrate yet -- they spent the weekend in St. Louis, where "Blast!" opened its first full-size national tour Friday night.\nWith a production on Broadway, a national tour getting under way, and a video of the now Emmy-winning TV production for sale, the feeling in the "Blast!" camp is that the sky's the limit. The next stop could be back overseas.\n"There's been a lot of international interest in this show," Vanderkolff said. "Who knows how this will spin off."\nVanderkolff hasn't heard yet when he's getting his trophy, but he's ready for it.\n"I'm going to put it on the old mantle," he said.\n

For more information, visit the following sites:

Official Blast! site
Web site of the Emmys

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