A New Twist Launches Dodger Stages With Sept. 16 Opening of Symphonie Fantastique

News   A New Twist Launches Dodger Stages With Sept. 16 Opening of Symphonie Fantastique
The new Dodger Stages complex has its first opening night Sept. 16 when Basil Twist's underwater puppet spectacle Symphonie Fantastique opens.

Performances of the one-time, sold-out Off-Broadway hit began anew Aug. 31 at a 199-seat theatre at Dodger Stages. The unique experience features the wet creations of the puppeteer who provided Off-Broadway's The Long Christmas Ride Home with its handheld characters last season.

Crowds filled the tiny 78-seat HERE Arts Center in SoHo to witness the Basil Twist work set in a 500-gallon water tank when it debuted in 1998. Now, for its new run, Symphonie Fantastique, which "combines the magic of puppetry with the powerful suggestions of dance, film and art, set to the five movements of Hector Berlioz's hour-long 19th-century classic composition," will be performed in a 1,000-gallon water tank.

A cast of puppeteers — Matthew Acheson, Oliver Dalzell, Sophia Michahelles, Lake Simons and Kevin Taylor — handle fabrics, feathers, vinyl, plastic, dyes, bubbles, flashlights and more to create the underwater ballet that Twist terms his "attempt to explore this question: What would an abstract puppet show be?"

The show originally earned Twist an Obie Award then went on to play in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Montreal, London and Munich.

The new run will also offer patrons the option to view the production from backstage, gaining a behind-the-scenes look at the magical display. "Since Symphonie started in 1998 — and as people have asked us over and over again, 'How do you do that?' — we've always had the idea to let people watch the show from back stage," creator-director Twist said in a statement. "This is the first time, though, that we've had the time and space to do it. Viewing the show from that perspective, as it is happening in real time, should be a very different experience." Dodger Stage Holding presents the Tandem Otter Productions work. Dodger Stage Holding — currently represented on Broadway by 42nd Street and Dracula — is comprised of producers Michael David, Robin de Levita, Rocco Landesman, Des McAnuff and Edward Strong.

For tickets ($25, $45 and $65) to Symphonie Fantastique at the new Dodger Stages (at Worldwide Plaza), 340 West 50th Street (between Eighth and Ninth Ave.), call (212) 239-6200. For more information on Dodger Stages, visit www.dodgerstages.com.

A scene from <i>Symphonie Fantastique</i>
A scene from Symphonie Fantastique Photo by Carol Rosegg
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