Tommy Tune — one of the tallest and most imaginative directors and choreographers on Broadway — loves to button a scene, but he also takes the idea of a button one step beyond by needing to create a proper “Guzinta” that dramatically leads one scene into another.  “Guzinta” is Tommy Tune shorthand for “goes into” and the idea behind the ideal is quite necessary, precise and well-reasoned.

“A Guzinta,” Tommy told me one day during a rehearsal break, “Is the ending action that stops a scene from stopping with a beginning.”

“Guzintas start something,” Tommy said wryly.  “A good Guzinta is seamless, meaningful, and connective.”

A Guzinta could be a musical passage, a lighting change, sound effect or — most effective — a movement of bodies from one location to another under the watchful, and expectant, eye of the audience.

“The opposite of a Guzinta,” Tommy smiled, “Is the Getoutzah.”

My blank look pleased him.

“A ‘Getoutzah,’ — a ‘get out of’ — ” he shared, “Is how you get out of a scene with bang.  Every scene must have a Getoutzah.”

I was confused and asked, “So the Getoutzah becomes a Guzinta?”

“No, they’re separate.”  Tommy held up two hands and plunged one forward into the air before him.  “A Getoutzah concludes while the Guzinta starts something else.”  His other hand followed the same plunging path as his first until they met in front of his chest as clasped hands.

I smiled and nodded.

“See?”  Tommy asked.  “They separate, but they end up together in the end.  We need more than just ‘lights up, lights down’ to move between scenes.  The Getoutzah and the Guzinta help you think how to make transitions between thought and idea recognizable and comfortable for an audience.”

I took one hand and moved it before me just as Tommy had — “Getoutzah,” I said as he nodded and smiled — “Guzinta,” I whispered as my second hand swooshed in the path of the first and each hand ended clasped in front of my chest. 

Tommy laughed and clapped his hands.  “Yes, that’s it!”

Hands still clasped, I smiled back, and bowed a bit to the master in thanks.

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