The joint is jumpin'.
Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre's season 2000 begins with the 1999 Tony Award-winning revival of Death of a Salesman starring Brian Dennehy and ends with the 2000 Tony Award winning new musical, Contact. In between, the house plays host to Broadway's Swing!, Sir Peter Hall's production of Romeo and Juliet and the David Henry Hwang adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, Flower Drum Song.
Dennehy won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Willy Loman, the embattled salesman of Arthur Miller's most famous play. This staging, recreated for the Ahmanson by Robert Falls, took home three other Tonys, including Best Revival and Best Director. Salesman runs Sept. 12-Nov. 5.
The Tony-nominated Broadway musical revue, Swing!, follows Salesman on the Ahmanson stage with a run Nov. 20-Jan. 14. Directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Swing! features a mix of swing dance styles from Lindy Hop to Latin to West Coast to Country, all set to a selection of classic and new dance tunes sung by a vocal ensemble and played by an onstage neo-swing band. Jerry Zaks (Smokey Joe's Cafe) serves as production supervisor.
In a new staging, Hall brings William Shakespeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, to the Ahmanson Feb. 8-April 1. The British director recently helmed productions of Measure for Measure, A Midsummer Night's Dream and the Broadway revival of Amadeus, which ran first in America at the Ahmanson. Hwang (M. Butterfly, Golden Child) revises the classic musical Flower Drum Song with an updated vision of Chinese heritage and the struggle for its preservation in America, while making no alterations to the well-known score, which includes "I Enjoy Being a Girl," "Love, Look Away" and "A Hundred Million Miracles." The Ahmanson production, running April 19-June 24, will be the first major revival of the musical since its 1958 Broadway run and 1961 Academy Award-nominated film.
The 2000-01 season ends on with a swing -- quite literally. While the swing dance section of Contact (called "Contact" and featuring the now famous "girl in the yellow dress") is the most famous part of the three piece "dance play," the Tony Award winner for Best Musical features two other sections:"The Swing," an acrobatic dance between an aristocrat, girl and a servant, and "Did You Move?", the Italian restaurant set piece that won Karen Ziemba a 2000 Tony Award for playing an abused woman who escapes into fantasy. Tony Award winner Susan Stroman directs a cast of more than 20 actor/dancers. Contact runs June 29-Aug. 26.
Subscriptions are $333 to $96. For ticket information, call (213) 628 2772. The Ahmanson Theatre on the web at http://www.TaperAhmanson.com.
-- Christine Ehren