New York City Ballet's casting for the first week of Nutcracker was posted earlier this week. How exciting to see Rebecca Krohn and Amar Ramasar featured during the first week of the run - Saturday matinee and Sunday evening. Their performances last year were the highlight of NYCB's Nutcracker season. Haglund will be catching the Sunday evening performance as well as the opening night with Sterling Hyltin and Andrew Veyette. He may be able to work in Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz as well. It's hard to believe that our little mother-to-be is going to squeeze in a couple of Dew Drop performances, but everyone stay calm. Lauren Lovette finally returns after a long injury layoff and will be testing her recovery with an opening night Marzipan. Great to see that!
During this brief ballet layoff, Haglund has been hanging out on Broadway.
What a terrific show The Gin Game is at The Golden Theatre on W. 45th with 91-year-old Cicely Tyson and 84-year-old James Earl Jones. It’s a limited engagement that will end in January.
The makeup crew really had to do a number on Ms. Tyson to get her ready for the Home for the Aged, which is the setting for the play. Off stage she looks half her age. The little, meek but mighty Tyson with her little Granny Clampett voice challenging and manipulating the huge James Earl Jones with his booming bass voice was – well – in perfect harmony. Tickets have been on TDF for $41 - money well spent.
On Tuesday night Michael Flatley was wound- up like no 57-year-old dancer should be. His new Broadway Lord of the Dance - dangerous games show at the Lyric Theatre on 42nd Street, which is also a limited run* into January, is a little like a two hour Super Bowl halftime show with a little circus mixed in and a whole lot of powerful step dancing which they should rename Bullet Dancing just for this –– a clip from the end of Tuesday night's show (you have to turn on the sound of the bullets).
Flatley didn’t come out until the very end to dance a very few steps before bows and then an extended encore. But it’s not like he was sitting around with his feet up for the rest of the show. He was the principal flautist in the orchestra, who as you know gets a very big workout in Irish music. In addition, he painted the artwork for a special souvenir poster that was being sold at the souvenir stand. He’s a dancer, a musician, and a painter. Oh, and a choreographer, of course.
A lot has changed in stage entertainment since Flately first starred in Riverdance over twenty years ago. That production was quaint in comparison to the current one which uses a story of the good Lord of the Dance versus the bad Dark Lord, both of whom have huge teams of fierce-tapping, handsome thugs. Massive video, massive filmed pyrotechnics, swarms of butterflies, and prancing unicorns overwhelm the outstanding dancing. There is a central Little Spirit character in a sparkly unitard who threads through most scenes - like the Jester in some Swan Lakes - who never dances but engages in some basic acrobatics.
The soloist singer, Sophie Evans, had a lovely voice, particularly in the more Irish song selection.
The two fiddle players, Giada Costenaro Cunningham and Valerie Gleeson, were tall leggy blonds in blue sequined mini-dresses and spiked heels. They were fantastic — and when they started dancing and skipping all over the stage in perfect unison while playing their fiddles, Haglund thought how easy Maestri Delmoni and Nikkanen have it in the dark pit for Concerto Barocco. What if they had to actually get up and boogie to the Bach in six inch stilettos while playing it?
All of the dancers in the production were astonishing. The discipline and synchronization was such that at times on stage the 20 or 30 pairs of shoes sounded like one dancer’s. Every finger was identical. Every arm was placed at precisely the same angle. The Lord of the Dance, James Keegan, won most of the awards that can be won for Irish dancing early in his career and has a good deal of stage charisma that compliments his tornadic tapping. But there is only one Michael Flatley in Irish dancing, and it was his appearance late in the show that brought the Super Bowl atmosphere to a frenzy. Yeah, he can still do it all. He just needs a little rest every sixteen counts or so. He’s earned it.
* Michael Flatley only performs on stage on certain dates. You may have to get that info from the Lyric Theatre. Tickets on TDF.