the following is excerpted from Twyla Tharp’s book
The Creative Habit: Learn It & Use It for Life.
"When choreographer Jerome Robbins created a dance,
he was always accumulating details about the roles -
from what the characters would wear to whom they
were sleeping with - and out of these details of life
he would construct an engaging narrative. This is why
he had such a crowd-pleasing career in the theater.
This is a giant gift.
"Mike Nichols tells a story about getting the musical Annie
ready for Broadway. A scene that was supposed to be
funny was failing to get laughs, no matter what Nichols tried.
He asked Robbins to watch the scene with his practiced eye.
Afterward, Nichols asked him how the fix the scene.
Robbins surveyed the stage and pointed to a while towel
hanging at the back of the set. “That towel should
be yellow,” he said. “That’s it? thought Nichols.
“That makes the scene work?” But he made the change
and the scene got a laugh every night thereafter."