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Showing posts from May, 2022

Amar Ramasar's Farewell Full of Joy ... And Forgiveness

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On Sunday, May 29 (the last day of the NYCB's Spring Season), the auditorium was packed with audience members and NYCB alumni. The occasion was to celebrate Amar Ramasar's retirement. The performance (one of Midsummer's Night Dream ) had some creative role splitting -- Amar is  injured , so for the second act divertissement Andrew Veyette danced the more demanding allegro opening, while Amar only danced the adagio pas. When Ramasar made his first appearance, the ovation was thunderous. His partner Sterling Hyltin broke character and giggled.  If Amar was dancing through pain, he didn't show it. (Or he might have popped some extra-strong painkillers and decided he could hack it for eight minutes of dancing). The dancing was beautiful, but (as is the case with all farewells), it barely mattered. At the end of the performance Amar got the kind of loving, boisterous send-off that he deserved. So many people from the past came back -- Joaquin de Luz, Zachary Catazaro, Maria

A Lucia Made of Rust Belt Despair

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Bloody bride, photo @ Marty Sohl The first thing you need to know about Simon Stone's new production of Lucia di Lammermoor is that Stone absolutely respects the basic foundations of the opera. Yes, the action is moved from 17th century Scotland to a Rust Belt town in Midwestern America, but the basic story is unchanged.  Set and video projections, Photo @ Jonathan Tichler The second thing you need to know is that even if you're a conservative when it comes to modern/updated productions, this  Lucia di Lammermoor  is absolutely worth seeing because of the strong musical values. Nadine Sierra (Lucia), Javier Camarena (Edgardo), and Artur RuciƄski (Enrico) all give excellent vocal performances based in classical, bel-canto values. The production might be modern, but the singing is old-fashioned.  Lizzie Clachan's set is striking -- the revolving set shows a Rust Belt town is conveyed by a pawn shop, drive-in theater, drugstore, cheap motel, some dingy looking cars (Edgardo h

Encores' Into the Woods Fulfills Every Wish

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  Into the Woods cast, photo @ Sara Krulwich Every once in a blue moon, a performance is so wonderful that the entire evening is an exchange of joy and love between the audience and the performers. In my lifetime of theater-going, I can count the times this happened on the fingers of one hand. Last night was one of those times. The sold-out two-week Encores! production of Into the Woods fulfilled every wish anyone could have had for this musical.  Harada, Thompson, and the amazing puppet Milky White Where do I start? The amazing cast was pitch-perfect. Encores! only allows for a very brief rehearsal period, but all the performers displayed such comedic timing that all the jokes landed, and the three-hour evening flew by. Director Lear deBossenet created a simple yet well-planned production that was obviously meant for people who love this musical. The sets were simple -- a few white birch tree drops for the "woods," with the costumes providing most of the ambience. The show c