The multi-talented Michael Damian said that he’d been spotted on AMERICAN BANDSTAND before being hired by THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS’ creator, William J. Bell, who “wanted to bring a younger demographic to the soap’s audience.” Damian recalled his time on the soap playing rocker Danny Romalotti as being “The greatest and most amazing experience… It helped launch my music [career].”
Now, he’s writing, directing, and producing movies, the latest of which, High Strung Free Dance, is about how the hard work of some other young artists pays off. Opening nationwide on Friday, October 11, the movie is the follow-up to his 2016 release, High Strung. However, instead of featuring two students, Damian said that this time, it’s about two aspiring pros: a dancer (played by two-time Youth American Grand Prix gold medalist Juliet Doherty) and a pianist (played by actor Harry Jarvis) who “have the training and the talent, but just need the break… it’s about not giving up and doing whatever it takes to get that shot.” How might Broadway’s hottest choreographer (played by Thomas Doherty from Disney’s Descendants 2) help or hurt their achievement?
The result is drama, romance, an exploration of honesty, and a spectacular performance of the show within the show. But along the way, is a whole lot of inventive dance facilitated by head choreographer, Tyce Diorio from FOX’s SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE! Speaking of his wife and co-writer (and former SOLID GOLD dancer) Janeen, Damian explained, “We were raised with the classics, but we also love the modern sound. So we wanted to infuse them into each other and break some boundaries with dance where you have a ballerina en pointe being partnered by a hip hop dancer in boots.”
In addition to providing entertainment, Damian said that their goal for the film was to inspire young people and remind them that, “If you put in the time and effort, and if you really want to pursue your dream, it is possible.” As for their own dream? Damian revealed: “Janeen and I have already been working on a story” for a third High Strung film.
For more from the multi-talented man, including his thoughts about bringing rolling stone Danny back to Genoa City, pick up the current CBS issue of Soaps In Depth, on sale now.