10 to watch: Tod Kubo
10 To Watch
Job title: Freelance Director and Choreographer
Where do you live: Charlotte, N.C.
Reaction to making the list: “I think it’s exciting, and I’ve been very motivated to work more in that community because I’ve seen it grow so much.”
If you won $1 million: “Probably set up a foundation, I’ve always wanted to set up some sort of foundation that would secure work for actors and dancers. That’s something I think is lacking.”
Favorite hobby: Kayaking.
Who should play you in a movie: The Rock.
What would you choose for your last meal: “Probably like lobster and a filet and a side of sushi.”
Biggest challenge: “My schedule’s very tight and there’s a lot of overlap with shows I’m working on. So at any one time I could be working on three productions — choreographing or directing. So juggling everything and getting enough sleep.”
Biggest hope: “For it to be a significant year. You always hope that the work that you do really sends a message out to people, makes them think. So that whatever I’m working is able to stir up a conversation and people will leave with questions in their heads about what is possible, and looking at themselves and what they’re able to improve in their own lives. A lot of times you go into shows and see something you never seen before. So I guess my biggest hope is to show people something new — show audiences something new.”
Who will you watch in 2016? Bernie Sanders.
Tod Kubo, a new director and choreographer working with Piedmont Players Theater, is making productions there shimmer and shine. Originally from Los Angeles, Calif., Kubo currently lives in Charlotte.
“That’s more of my hub,” he says.
But Kubo is a freelance director and choreographer, and has worked all over the world. He’s had productions on five continents and in all 50 states. Currently, he says, he has a production of “Rent” showing in Prague.
But he didn’t start out that way. Kubo says that he’s been in the entertainment industry since he was 12, and started out dancing.
“I had a very supportive family that told me that it was OK to dance when I was a boy,’ he said.
He says that support was crucial to a young boy in the entertainment industry, and played a big role in his success. Currently, society views dancing as unmasculine, but it wasn’t always that way— Kubo cited stars like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.
“The way that people met was dancing, and we’ve gotten away from that as a society . . . that was a way to get closer to someone that you were interested in,” Kubo said.
Kubo signed with Disney when he was 15, and started choreographing when he was 19. Since then, it’s been a wild ride.
“You blink your eyes and a few decades have passed, and you think, ‘where did the time go,” he said.
Kubo came to Salisbury in 2011 to choreograph a production of Dream Girls — he’d done a similar production in Los Angeles.
“Ever since that show I’ve been involved in that theater,” he said.
He says that he’s seen the support for the Piedmont Players grow and grow in the community, and it’s one of the things that keeps him coming back.
“I can definitely see the difference every year, it seems the audience has increased, and shows are selling out more and more,” he said.