Tap Program Guest Artist • July 5-11
2011 School Programs
Harold Cromer began his career as a tap dancer on roller skates at the HudsonGuild. As a teenager, Cromer landed a role in Cole Porter's Du Barry was a Lady with Bert Lahr, Ethel Merman, and Betty Grable. He appeared in theater, vaudeville, and film throughout the 1930's and 40's. On the RKO circuit he appeared with such acts as Buck and Bubbles, Chuck and Chuckles, and Moke and Poke. In 1948 he formed the comedy team "Stump and Stumpy" with James Cross and the pair appeared in theatres and nightclubs, often on bills with the likes of Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. Cross and Cromer appeared in Duke Ellington's show Jump for Joy, The Steve Allen Show (radio), The Kate Smith Hour and The Milton Berle Show (television), and This is the Army (film). The pair toured with Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, The Ink Spots, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Benny Goodman. In the late 1950's, Cromer became the Master of Ceremonies to Rock and Roll's The Biggest Show of Stars, introducing such talents as Buddy Holly, Paul Anka, Bobby Darin, Fats Domino, Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, and Marvin Gaye. Cromer returned to Broadway in 1978 as a featured performer in American Dance Machine, in which he performed a twenty-minute chronological history of tap variety acts that was recorded for the Smithsonian Institute. He was presented the Living Treasure in Dance Award by Oklahoma City University in 1996 and the Peg Leg Bates Award at the St. Louis Tap Festival in 2003. He is joined at Jacob's Pillow by his assistant, tap artist Sarah Reich. Described as a dancer "with fleet-footed precision" Cromer represents more than seventy years of tap performance, tradition, and history.