Over the last decade, Kelly Devine has been one of the most prolific choreographers working on Broadway. From Rock of Ages to Come From Away and the upcoming Diana, she continues to push contemporary stories forward with her movement. She's also been honored with two Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations for work on Come From Away and Rocky.
Devine's latest project takes her to broadcast TV with The CW's Riverdale spin-off, Katy Keene, starring Lucy Hale. The series follows the lives of four young artists looking to achieve their dreams in New York City. The element of music and dance brings their aspirations to life set against the backdrop of the Big Apple.
For Devine, the show has been a dream because the entire cast is up for anything she throws at them, even though many didn't know the job would require their triple-threat talents.
"Lucy told me, 'I didn't know I was going to sing, I thought I was just the fashion designer,'" laughed Devine. "She's amazing. She was totally game and she has sung before. I don't know if people know that and she's got a gorgeous, incredible voice. It's impressive."
The luxury of a long rehearsal period doesn't exist on TV the way it does on Broadway. Devine grabbed any free moment she could with the cast.
"The pendulum swung from... you'll get a rehearsal for an hour and then maybe you get 30 minutes before you shoot it and brush it up… to... we didn't get the song in time and you have been on the other coast doing press, so we're going to meet in New York at 6 a.m. on set and I'm going to dance behind the camera and you're going to mimic me and we're going to pull this off," she revealed. "It's been so wild and we steal time when we can. Sometimes it's just impossible with the schedule, but I feel like we like pull off little mini-miracles."
The colorful world of Katy Keene will be reflected in the fashions, music and dance in each episode. Fans can expect a wide variety of styles represented in the show.
"What's interesting about Katy Keene is that every episode has a different kind of musical requirement," she explained. "Anything the Katy Keene character does musically is different than Josie and the Pussycats. And then there's Jorge/Ginger, he is a drag performer and he's also a striving Broadway performer. So it's always different, a day is never the same."
Devine often has to switch gears choreographically from working on-camera to working on the stage because she's currently in rehearsal for the Broadway musical, Diana. The show begins previews on March 2 at the Longacre Theatre.
"It's just the nature of the business. With Broadway and musicals, you never know when something's going to take off or get a green light or get a life, so you have all these projects bouncing around," she said. "I have to stay present and finish it and then step into the next thing."
Even though Devine is working on both shows like a superhero, she does have a creative hiccup every once in a while.
"I'm deep in Diana right now and I had a rehearsal the other night for Katy Keene. I was working on a new number for Diana all day and then I went into my Katy Keene rehearsal and I felt a little stuck," she laughed. "It made me a little worried that I couldn't flip over to the music of Katy Keene. Ultimately, I got there, but it took me longer. Usually, I can just switch right away, but I think I'm a little tired."
That rest will have to wait a moment since Devine will be juggling the two shows while developing her passion project, which she teased for Dance Network.
"It involves a phenomenally bad-ass rock band," she hinted. "It's their catalog and I think they're going to be in it to start and it's going to be similar to a dance play."
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