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Nicholaw gives ‘Mormon’ smooth, and ‘cheesy,’ moves

Theatergoers of a certain age attending “The Book of Mormon” might recognize a few of the moves on display in Casey Nicholaw’s jaunty and frequently referential choreography.

When asked if it was possible that we spied the sassy “I’m Bernadette!” arm movement from the opening credits of ’70s-era PBS kids’ show “Zoom” in one number, Nicholaw laughed and said, “Of course, yes, did you ever!”

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So we asked him for a list of a few other inspirations for the missionaries’ smooth moves, and this is what he rattled off: “The Donny and Marie Show,” Up With People, “Zoom,” Disney theme parks, and “The Brady Bunch.” (“It’s a Sunshine Day,” anyone?)

“I’m 50 years old, so I totally grew up with all that stuff. It was perfect for this show to use that vocabulary,” said the man who also choreographed “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Spamalot,” and won a Tony Award for codirecting “The Book of Mormon.”

“Cheesy is what I’ve done in the past, and this is sort of cheesy,” Nicholaw said. “I live with this kind of choreography because I was that kind of a kid, really positive, so it was easy for me to find this vocabulary.”

SARAH RODMAN

Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman
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