Chloe Arnold Ends 2018 With a 22-Musical Role Call on 'James Corden'
Chloe Arnold had a year she will never forget. She was nominated for her first Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for The Late Late Show With James Corden for The Greatest Showman, Crosswalk the Musical On Broadway routine. She continued her work the Syncopated Ladies and she choreographed for John Legend and Chrissy Teigen's holiday special, A Legendary Christmas With John and Chrissy.
That's just the tip of the iceberg because Chloe is ending the year with James Corden's Role Call — and for the first time, they added a dance element to the segment. The special guests for this segment on Tuesday night were the stars of Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Not only did Chloe have the opportunity to choreograph for these talented artists, but she had only two hours to teach movement to them for 22 musicals – from Cabaret to a Fame nod to Chloe's mentor, Debbie Allen — in 12 minutes in one take. No big deal.
Dance Dish spoke to Chloe about creating this hilarious and unique take on Broadway's best shows. It was an epic challenge, not only for the performers, but for the entire James Corden team.
"It is incredibly hard what they are doing. It's one take. They change their outfits, the song, the dance movement, the staging from scene to scene and they only had two hours to learn it all," explained Chloe. "It is miraculous because they had the courage to agree to do this mega, mega work."
What we also have to remember is that Lin-Manuel and Emily are in the middle of a huge international press tour for their film, so there are a lot of daily expectations placed upon them from for interviews, photos and promotional spots.
"Lin-Manuel was so enthusiastic and came in saying, 'I love this! This is why I do what I do.' Emily was so kind and excited," she shared. "It was so wonderful. They are who they are because they are great at what they do. They knocked the socks off the audience."
Because of the actors' busy schedules, the segment was shot several weeks ago, but it finally aired on Tuesday night in time for the Mary Poppins Returns' release on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Chloe found Lin-Manuel to be "incredibly down-to-earth" during the rehearsal process, but it was Emily who surprised her the most.
"First of all, she has a beautiful first position," Chloe laughed. "Honestly, I did not understand the depth to which she is a triple threat. Her understanding of musicality, rhythm and movement — she tells stories through her body and her voice. She moves as a storyteller."
The entire process wouldn't be possible without James, though. Chloe explained that "he is the glue for the team because the Role Call segment is such a huge undertaking. He is the coach and the cheerleader to keep everyone encouraged."
Chloe also pointed out how technical Role Call is because it requires the expertise of not only the talent and the choreographer, but set design, lighting, hair, makeup, wardrobe, props team.
"The James Corden team are superstars. The amount of understanding of timing that they had to have for just the props alone," she shared. "The talent didn't have anything to worry about because everyone behind the scenes is a master at their jobs. They knew where everything went right on time. They were choreography in and of itself."
It was the teamwork of the show's cast and crew that helped to propel Chloe to an Emmy nomination this year for her incredible work on Crosswalk the Musical with the cast of The Greatest Showman in Times Square. After three years working on the show, this was a sweet victory for her.
Another victory for the entire dance industry is the recent Emmy news that the Choreography Peer Group is getting two categories for the 2019 Emmys cycle — Variety/Reality Programming and Scripted Programming. It's something that excited Chloe because it means that dance is moving in the right direction.
"The two categories allow for people to be celebrated in ways a choreographer can express themselves. It's so paramount for our field to gain the respect that it deserves and it's long overdue," she said. "It helps people to see choreography from a multi-dimensional perspective. I am so appreciative of the leadership at the Television Academy — Mandy Moore, Eboni Nichols and Barrie Nedler — for fighting for this."
Chloe, who is also a huge advocate for equal opportunities in dance education for inner-city kids, understands why this fight is so important. It's about paving a better path for the next generation following in her footsteps.
"We are in a time where dancers and choreographers are smarter and we are working together as a team. Mandy and Ebonie don't have to do this, but they do it because they have a greater vision and love for our field, and they want to see our craft flourish. They are pulling everyone through the door — and that's the difference between being successful and having a legacy."
And Chloe Arnold's legacy is just getting started.