Duo breathes life into classic numbers

Rarely does Crescent City get to see live, simultaneous singing and tap dancing as made popular by early silver screen couples such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

However, the music and dance of that era will fill Crescent Elk Auditorium when Two on Tap performs next Thursday, March 20, for the Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness.

Two on Tap - featuring celebrated musical theater performers Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano - breathes new life into classic song-and-dance numbers with clever arrangements, strong voices, high-energy routines and a meaningful connection with the audience.This creative collaboration debuted in February 2010, and has entertained tens of thousands at concerts across the United States, at galas and onboard luxury cruise liners.

Giattino began her professional performing career at the age of 17 in the national tour of "A Chorus Line" and hasn't looked back since. While appearing in the all-Gershwin musical "Crazy for You" at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia, she auditioned for the Hal Prince/Susan Stroman production of "Show Boat" and soon found herself singing and dancing alongside an all-star cast on London's West End.

Her talents as a true "triple-threat" performer (in singing, dancing and acting) eventually led her back to her home state of New York, where she made her Broadway debut as an original cast member of the revival of "42nd Street."

Giattino has been featured as a member of the most well known kick-line in history - the Radio City Rockettes - and she has assisted and dance-captained for some of the most famous tap choreographers in the business, including Tony award winner Danny Daniels and Tony nominee Randy Skinner.

DeStefano has garnered rave reviews and awards for his performances around the world, from the cabaret venues of New York City to the opera houses of Europe. Originally from South Florida, DeStefano spent his college years balancing classical vocal performance studies at Florida State University with professional musical theater roles at Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach.

Following graduation, he made his way to Manhattan, began auditioning for the Broadway stage, and only months later found himself making his international debut with the Tony award-winning musical "Evita."

Since then, he has crisscrossed North America, singing and dancing at some of the most historic venues in the United States, including New York City's Lincoln Center ("Babes in Toyland"), Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House ("No, No, Nanette") and New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse (Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella").

"A charming pair of performers, Giattino and DeStefano create a song-and-dance act that may have roots as deep as vaudeville, but together they add a kinetic flair that gives it a lively currency.The resulting show is simply adorable," wrote the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Two on Tap is "a drink of cool, clear water in the midst of what so often seems in present times to be a cultural drought devoid of romance and lofty matters of the heart," heralded the Delta Independent.

The performance series of the nonprofit DNACA is made possible by its underwriters: Caldwell and Sund Family Trust, Lodolini Family, Bill and Kathy Maffett, Physicians of Sutter Coast Hospital Fund, Gene and Carol Schach, Smith River Rancheria, Sutter Coast Hospital and Wild Rivers Community Foundation.

DNACA is also a funded in part by the California Arts Council. This performance is also funded in part by the Western States Arts Federation and the National Endowment for the Arts.