Music of Michael John LaChiusa and Nellie McKay Fuel Two New Dance Pieces by Chase Brock Experience

News   Music of Michael John LaChiusa and Nellie McKay Fuel Two New Dance Pieces by Chase Brock Experience The Chase Brock Experience, the company run by former Broadway dancer Brock, offers the world premiere of two new pieces in Manhattan — one of them featuring music by Tony Award-nominated composer Michael John LaChiusa — July 8-11.

Michael John LaChiusa
Michael John LaChiusa

Mirror Mirror, set to a commissioned piano score by Broadway and opera composer LaChiusa (Marie Christine, The Wild Party, Giant), and Whoa, Nellie!, set to Nellie McKay's album "Obligatory Villagers," are "as different as night from day," according to production notes. "Obligatory Villagers" is "a wildly witty and carnival-spirited response to McKay’s hit concept album," while Mirror Mirror is "a contemplative look at sexuality, intimacy, self-love and loneliness."

The pieces play the Connelly Theater in the East Village. Choreography is by 26-year-old Brock.

Whoa, Nellie! serves "a mash-up of styles and cultural references. A band of irrepressible pranksters, the dancers joyfully move chameleon-like from the Caribbean-tinged hip hop of 'Identity Theft' to the disco-inflected whacking and voguing inspired by the refrain 'Saturday Night in the Mens' Ensemble Dressing Room' from 'Galleon' to a symphony of hands suggested by McKay's gospel-inspired 'Testify.' The dancing plays with and against the thematic material of McKay's punchy, always surprising score."

In Mirror Mirror, "a uniquely spare work for Brock," the characters emerge from LaChiusa's specially created score. "The mirror reflects the realities and fantasies of three male characters who, together and apart, struggle with their sexual and emotional identities."

The music for Mirror Mirror is played live by pianist Jamie Schmidt. The company’s associate artistic director, 2010 Drama Desk nominee Dane Laffrey, designed the sets and costumes for both works. Scott Zielinski is the lighting designer. The four-year-old company features Dean de Luna, Ashley Eichbauer, Erica Furst, Drew Heflin, Yukiko Kashiki, Connor Kilian Weigand, Micki Weiner and Michael Wright, many of whom have danced with CBE for at least two years.

Following the show, audience members are invited to have their own fun dancing in the Connelly lobby where there will be stations featuring the recently released Wii game, "Dance on Broadway," which Brock choreographed. Ticket holders are encouraged to learn the dances and compete with each other by mimicking the moves of the avatars on the screens.

The Chase Brock Experience dancers served as models for the game's avatars.

Brock has created more than 20 dances for The Chase Brock Experience, the Brooklyn-based contemporary dance company he founded in 2006. He began his career at age 16 in the Broadway revival of The Music Man. His choreography for opera includes Bartlett Sher's production of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette for the Salzburg Festival in 2008 and 2010, and his theatre choreography includes the world premiere of Yank!, Mark Lamos' revival of A Little Night Music and Jeff Calhoun's revival of Shenandoah.

The Chase Brock Experience's Connelly Theater performances are July 8, 9, 10 at 8 PM and July 11 at 7 PM. General admission tickets are $25, reserved seating tickets are $35, and VIP opening tickets are $75 including reserved seating and access to the post-performance reception. Tickets can be purchased online at www.smarttix.com or over the phone by calling (212) 868-4444.

The Connelly Theater is located at 220 East 4th Street (between Avenue A and B).

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