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Showing posts from April, 2017

New York City Ballet: All-Christopher Wheeldon

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Helping to kick off New York City Ballet's Here and Now Festival, which celebrates modern choreographers' works, was an all-Wheeldon program. During the evening, fans got to watch four ballets by the Tony-winning choreographer, who was the company's first resident choreographer.


The evening began with Mercurial Manoeuvres, which, notably, is the last ballet Wheeldon choreographed for the company while still one of its principal dancers. A ballet for 21 dancers (set to Shostakovich's "Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Opus 35"), this has a decidedly militaristic feel in the ensemble moments. (Watch, for example, the dancers' arms—they move with precision like the hands on a clock. It's exact and clipped.) That's beautifully juxtaposed with the grace and softness of the utterly impressive pas de deux (danced on Saturday by Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle).

Both types of dancing—ensemble and pas—are mercurial. The ensemble keeps changing formation, like a m…

New York City Ballet: All-Justin Peck

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History was made at New York City Ballet on Thursday (April 27) night as the venerable dance company presented its first–ever all–Peck program, an evening dedicated to ballet's golden boy, Justin Peck, a soloist with the company and its resident choreographer.

It was a momentous occasion for the toast of the town, who, still under 30, is seen as a ballet wunderkind and, perhaps, the superhero who is going to bring ballet back to popular culture. Peck has been choreographing for NYCB (and others) for just five years, yet he's already created 13 ballets for the company (with a 14th set to premiere in May), including one that was the subject of the documentary Ballet 422, his ode to his hometown, Paz de la Jolla.

Peter Martins had his pick of Peck's many creations, but for the first all–Peck program, he chose four works: In Creases, the first ballet Peck made for NYCB; The Dreamers, a pas de deux; New Blood, one of Peck's collaborations with fashion designer Humberto Leon…

Week in Review 4.28.17

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Tony Awards
Lots of Tony Awards news.
In a long-overdue decision, the Tony Awards Administration Committee  has decided to reinstate the Best Sound Design categories, which had been eliminated after the 2013-2014 season. The categories, as well as a new voting process for that and the Best Orchestrations category, will be effective starting with the upcoming 2017-2018 season. Broadway.com has more. Tony Award nominations for this season will be announced May 2.

Baayork Lee, a member of the original A Chorus Line company, will receive the honorary Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award in recognition of her humanitarian work. Playbill has more.

James Earl Jones (You Can't Take It With You) will receive the 2017 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. Broadway.com has more. Additionally, the final round of eligibility rulings were announced. Unless noted below, eligibility is consistent with opening night credits. That means that actors billed above the title are eligible in the Lea…

A Doll's House, Part 2

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In 1879, Nora slammed the door on Torvald, and it shocked Victorian readers and, soon thereafter, audiences world-wide. A Doll's House catapulted Henrik Ibsen into the international spotlight, and solidified his position as a subversive writer. Nearly 140 years later, Lucas Hnath, a subversive and gifted writer in his own right, imagines what happened after the door slammed.

Details reveal themselves naturally so I won't give too much away (especially not the 100% perfect, A++ first and final moments of the show). Suffice it to say that A Doll's House, Part 2 picks up 15 years after Nora (Laurie Metcalf) left her husband, Torvald (Chris Cooper), and young children. The doll returns to her house, which Miriam Buether has cleverly designed to suggest a boxing ring. The metaphor continues in the direction (by Tony winner Sam Gold), as actors brace themselves on and grasp at the walls like a boxer working the ropes. Toward the end, we find both Nora and Torvald on the floor, w…

Week in Review 4.21.17

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CarouselRevival to Hit Broadway in 2018
A revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel will bow on Broadway in spring 2018, officially opening at a theatre to be announced on March 23. The production will be directed by Jack O'Brien (Catch Me If You Can) and choreographed by NYCB resident choreographer Justin Peck (Everywhere We Go, The Times Are Racing). Peck's fellow NYCB dancers Amar Ramasar and Brittany Pollack will be among the company, figuring prominently in the act two dream ballet. The production will star Tony winnerJessie Mueller (Beautiful, Waitress) as Julie Jordan and two-time Tony nomineeJoshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, VioletShuffle Along...) as Billy Bigelow. (Now this photo of Justin and Joshua has been demystified.) Opera diva Renee Fleming will also appear in the production. In the Playbill announcement, Peck promises "an even more dance-and-movement-focused production." Keep an eye on this one!

Second Stage Announces Season
The ven…

Week in Review 4.14.17

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New York City Ballet 2017-2018 Season
NYCB teased the 2017-2018 season, which will be headlined by a centennial tribute to Jerome Robbins, one of the company's founding choreographers. 19 Robbins ballets will be featured, including favorites Fancy Free and the West Side Story Suite. Resident choreographer Justin Peck (Everywhere We Go, The Times Are Racing) will create at least two new ballets for the company, including one set to a Leonard Bernstein score, an homage to Robbins, who famously collaborated with Bernstein on the aforementioned ballets/shows. (2018 marks the centennial for both Robbins and Bernstein; the NY Phil's 2017-2018 program includes lots of Bernstein.) The season will also include new works by company members Lauren Lovette (For Clara), Troy Schumacher (Common Ground), and Peter Walker (ten in seven), as well as a new piece by 18-year-old SAB student, Gianna Reisen. (She'll be the youngest person to choreograph for the company.) Several friends of the …