Out of Her Dreams: De Mille Choreography Recreated in NY Theatre Ballet's Dance/Speak

News   Out of Her Dreams: De Mille Choreography Recreated in NY Theatre Ballet's Dance/Speak
Some of the most famous work of Broadway choreographer Agnes de Mille will be recreated in the unique biographical "dance drama," Dance/Speak, a production by New York Theatre Ballet, premiering in Manhattan April 17-25.
Agnes de Mille
Agnes de Mille Photo by courtesy Anderson Ferrell

Patricia Conolly (Broadway's Is He Dead?, Enchanted April, The Heiress) stars as the woman who gave kinetic, wordless life to such musicals as Oklahoma!, Carousel, Brigadoon and more. Subtitled The Life of Agnes de Mille, the hybrid show uses scenes, music and de Mille's signature dances — including the Dream Ballet from Oklahoma! — to show her singular style and her struggle for success. A performer, director and choreographer, de Mille lived 1905-1993. She was nominated for three Choreography Tony Awards; she won for Brigadoon.

Dance/Speak is inspired by a famous 1977 concert piece, Conversations About the Dance, at New York City Center. De Mille appeared and reflected on her career in that exploration of her work.

Dance/Speak was conceived and written by Anderson Ferrell, a novelist and director of The de Mille Working Group, with dances staged by renowned de Mille interpreter and veteran dancer Gemze DeLappe and choreographer Liza Gennaro, a de Mille expert. Scott Alan Evans, artistic executive director of The Actors Company Theatre/TACT, directs.

Dance/Speak reveals "Miss de Mille's childhood influences, early attempts as a solo artist, and her eventual success as a groundbreaking theatrical innovator known throughout the world for her choreography during the golden age of musical theatre, along with her incalculable contribution to ballet," according to NYTB notes.

Dance/Speak: The Life of Agnes de Mille will include celebrated dances from the musicals Oklahoma!, Goldilocks, Carousel, Bloomer Girl, One Touch of Venus and Brigadoon. Her ballets Fall River Legend, Three Virgins and a Devil, Dust, The Other, Rodeo and Debut at the Opera are also represented. The production features actors Sean Dougherty, Jeffrey C. Hawkins, James Judy, Brandy Zarle, plus dancers from New York Theatre Ballet, including Terry Duncan, Amanda Garrett, Cary Hamilton, Yuki Kashiki, Mitchell Kilby, Carmella Lauer, Derek Lauer, Eddie Lawrence, Francis Lawrence, Young Wha Lim, Dan Renkin, Sandra Ross, Melissa Sadler and featured dancer Elena Zahlmann.

The creative team of Dance/Speak includes musical director-pianist Ferdy Tumakaka, lighting designer Aaron Copp, costume designer Sylvia Nolan and scenic designer Gillian Bradshaw-Smith.

The April 17 performance of Dance/Speak coincides with a celebration of New York Theatre Ballet's 30th anniversary. With this production, New York Theatre Ballet "extends beyond its usual repertory of small classic masterworks." NYTB will be performing Dance/Speak throughout the country following the New York premiere. Details will be announced.

Performances of Dance/Speak take place on April 17 & 18 and April 24 & 25 at 7:30 PM at Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street (between Park & Madison avenues).

Tickets are $25 (plus a $1 Florence Gould Hall facility fee). Reservations can be made online at www.nytb.org or by calling Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100. Tickets can also be purchased at the Florence Gould Hall box office (212) 355-6160) Tuesday through Friday from noon–7 PM and on Saturday from noon-4 PM.

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