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CHERI by Martha Clarke

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NB: if specific ticket selling releases belong elsewhere on the site, i trust the mods will feel free to move, etc. any of this info..

$25 TICKETS NOW ON SALE

FOR SIGNATURE THEATRE’S WORLD PREMIERE OF

CHÉRI

Conceived, Directed & Choreographed by MARTHA CLARKE

Academy Award Nominee AMY IRVING Joins Previously Announced HERMAN CORNEJO and ALESSANDRA FERRI in the Cast

PERFORMANCES BEGIN NOVEMBER 19; OPENING NIGHT IS DECEMBER 8

IN THE IRENE DIAMOND STAGE

AT THE PERSHING SQUARE SIGNATURE CENTER

TICKETS ON SALE AT WWW.SIGNATURETHEATRE.ORG

Signature Theatre (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) is pleased to announce that tickets are now on sale for the World Premiere of CHÉRI, conceived, directed and choreographed by Martha Clarke. All tickets for the initial run of the production are $25 as part of the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access. The production runs November 19 through December 22, 2013 with a December 8 opening night in The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues).

Inspired by the classic 1920 novella by controversial French author Colette, CHÉRI is Martha Clarke’s newest interdisciplinary work, an exciting fusion of theatre, live music, and dance featuring American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Herman Cornejo, prima ballerina assoluta Alessandra Ferri, Academy & Golden Globe Award nominee and Obie Award winner Amy Irving, pianist Sarah Rothenberg, and text by Tina Howe. This tragic story of forbidden love between a young man and an older woman in Belle Époque Paris is a timeless, powerful exploration of sensuality, love, and our preoccupations with youth and age.

The creative team includes David Zinn (Scenic & Costume Design), Christopher Akerlind (Lighting Design), Arthur Solari and Samuel Crawford (Sound Design) and Sarah Rothenberg (Music Supervision). Terri K. Kohler is the Production Stage Manager. Casting by Telsey + Company. Piano by Steinway & Sons.

To purchase tickets for all Signature productions, call the Signature Theatre Box Office (212-244-7529) or visit signaturetheatre.org.

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I know from prior purchasing history with the Signature that the $25 tickets sell VERY quickly, no matter what the play or who is starring in the production. If it sells well, they extend the production by adding additonal performance weeks, but the tickets for the extension period are NEVER $25. The extension tickets are usually $75 or $80. So buy now or pay three times the price later. (This is not a "dynamic pricing" issue. It has to do with the fact that corporate sponsors provide a subsidy to the Signature for the initial period of the run, so that they can offer cheap tickets to the public. However, the corporate sponsorship money is not available for any extension periods.)

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I know from prior purchasing history with the Signature that the $25 tickets sell VERY quickly, no matter what the play or who is starring in the production. If it sells well, they extend the production by adding additonal performance weeks, but the tickets for the extension period are NEVER $25. The extension tickets are usually $75 or $80. So buy now or pay three times the price later. (This is not a "dynamic pricing" issue. It has to do with the fact that corporate sponsors provide a subsidy to the Signature for the initial period of the run, so that they can offer cheap tickets to the public. However, the corporate sponsorship money is not available for any extension periods.)

Great point abatt, thank you for the advise. I just bought tickets for a Nov. 23 matinee. There were still some tickets available for all performances that weekend but few - maybe anywhere from 6 to 20 per performance. It's a great deal, but you're right - don't wait.

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Cheri has extended for one additional week, until Dec 29. However, the tickets for the extension period are priced at $75.

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Abatt, have you seen it? Worth trying to fit into a busy December calendar? I'm tempted since I never managed to see Ferri dance live (I know, crazy!). The one time I was in the audience, can't remember if it was to be her final performance or an anniversary performance, she was injured but did come onstage after the performance to massive applause. I know this won't be Giselle but still.... And then of course, there's Herman!

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I have not seen it yet. I'll be going in mid-December. Has anyone seen Cheri yet? It started previews this week.

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I saw it on Thursday and I'm sad to report that, as a theater or dance piece I found it really boring. It didn't move me at all. Its only an hour long (which in this case is a blessing). Ferri is not on pointe and Cornejo mostly dances in shoes and a suit. He has one solo at the very end where he really dances but the rest is a series of pas de deux that, to me, seemed very repetitive.

Fortunately, I could spend an hour in rapt fascination watching Ferri point her toes (those arches!) so all was not lost. Also I was happy to see how well they both acted (silently), as I have never found Cornejo to be a convincing actor. And although there were really no overhead lifts he partnered her very well and they had great chemistry. So hopefully this experience will contribute to his growth and it will make him a better ballet dancer.

There was one speaking actor, Amy Irving, who was very good. I'm not sorry I went as there are so few opportunities to see Ferri these days, but I don't know that I'd pay $75 to see it...

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I went last evening and also spent an hour in rapt fascination watching Ferri, her toes, her bare legs showing through the slits in her nightgown, her extraordinary ability to convey emotion while standing in absolute stillness. I found Cornejo a less credible actor, but then I would pay to see him walk down the street. There is a moment when he is rolling on the floor downstage really fast, and I was sure he was going to roll right off the stage into my arms in Row A (I suggest seats further back for a more panoramic view), but he came to a dead stop with only a coattail draping off the edge. They are both extraordinary artists, performing in an intense "theater piece," neither a ballet nor a play, and I'm very glad to have seen it, but I can't recommend it unless you're someone who takes pleasure in seeing the details of dancers performing out of their natural milieu, not to mention their gorgeous bodies in underwear.

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I too saw it. I went this afternoon. I agree with Angelica that Ferri is amazing in her ability to convey emotion in stillness, as well as in motion. Expression pours from her face and every part of her body, every moment she is on stage. The character's inner life is fully revealed to us. Cornejo was credible, but his was more "ballet acting" than the natural fullness brought to us by Ferri. I'd recommend it, particularly for Ferri. Also, on the whole I felt the drama of the story is well presented. $25 dollars and an hour of my time to see great artistry, to my way of thinking is quite a deal.

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I too saw it. I went this afternoon. I agree with Angelica that Ferri is amazing in her ability to convey emotion in stillness, as well as in motion. Expression pours from her face and every part of her body, every moment she is on stage. The character's inner life is fully revealed to us. Cornejo was credible, but his was more "ballet acting" than the natural fullness brought to us by Ferri. I'd recommend it, particularly for Ferri. Also, on the whole I felt the drama of the story is well presented. $25 dollars and an hour of my time to see great artistry, to my way of thinking is quite a deal.

I found "Cheri" to be beautifully conceived and executed by everyone involved. I can only add that the raw emotions displayed by both Ferri and Cornejo were deep and affecting. The choreography was quite complimentary to these emotions and was gorgeously performed by both dancers. For me it was interesting to see these two "classical" dancers expanding their repertoire with no trace of falseness or pretense. Story telling at it's best and most creative. My only wish was that the program could have listed the various works performed by the elegant pianist, Sarah Rothenberg. I recognized a few works of Ravel and Poulenc, but wished for a more complete listing. But kudos to all!

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I too saw it. I went this afternoon. I agree with Angelica that Ferri is amazing in her ability to convey emotion in stillness, as well as in motion. Expression pours from her face and every part of her body, every moment she is on stage. The character's inner life is fully revealed to us. Cornejo was credible, but his was more "ballet acting" than the natural fullness brought to us by Ferri. I'd recommend it, particularly for Ferri. Also, on the whole I felt the drama of the story is well presented. $25 dollars and an hour of my time to see great artistry, to my way of thinking is quite a deal.

I found "Cheri" to be beautifully conceived and executed by everyone involved. I can only add that the raw emotions displayed by both Ferri and Cornejo were deep and affecting. The choreography was quite complimentary to these emotions and was gorgeously performed by both dancers. For me it was interesting to see these two "classical" dancers expanding their repertoire with no trace of falseness or pretense. Story telling at it's best and most creative. My only wish was that the program could have listed the various works performed by the elegant pianist, Sarah Rothenberg. I recognized a few works of Ravel and Poulenc, but wished for a more complete listing. But kudos to all!

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I saw Cheri last night. Although the choreography was repetitive and often felt derivative, I thought it was a cohesive and interesting dance drama. Ferri still moves those gorgeous limbs exquisitely, although as noted above there is no pointe work in this production. I have never fully accepted Cornejo as a "romantic" lead, and have always found his acting somewhat wooden. Last night convinced me that he has more acting ability than I have ever given him credit for, but perhaps the gigantic Met is too large a venue for his acting to register to the audience. He was much more impressive in this intimate space. Amy Irving provided important narration. The piano accompanyment was lovely. (Our programs had an insert with a complete list of the piano works that were played.) I felt it was certainly worth an hour of my time, and at $25 it was a major bargain.

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I went to this Saturday night (in a blizzard) and as others have said, $25 is pennies to spend to see Ferri and Cornejo. Granted they didn't "dance" much but their acting was superb. Cornejo, in what I'd call "the second half" of the show, nearly broke my heart; I felt he beautifully showed his torment between duty and love and the emotional aftereffects of war. I've always felt he was a good actor, but as abatt mentioned above his portrayals sometimes get lost on the huge Met stage. I was sitting in the 2nd row and could see every nuance. The choreography was not always impressive though (too many embraces and vertical lifts). Amy Irving was lovely. The scenery was impressive including the effect with the mirror.

One embarrassing note: I got to meet Cornejo after the show (very briefly) and gushed like a giggly teenager. But, totally worth it!

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Blizzard? There was a few inches of snow, at most, depending on where in the area you live.

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For those of you who are still interested in seeing Cheri but not for the price tag of $75, I received a discount code from the theater..

SPECIAL OFFER: Use Code Cheri55 for $55 tickets (reg. $75) for performances beginning December 26

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I went last evening and also spent an hour in rapt fascination watching Ferri, her toes, her bare legs showing through the slits in her nightgown, her extraordinary ability to convey emotion while standing in absolute stillness. I found Cornejo a less credible actor, but then I would pay to see him walk down the street. There is a moment when he is rolling on the floor downstage really fast, and I was sure he was going to roll right off the stage into my arms in Row A (I suggest seats further back for a more panoramic view), but he came to a dead stop with only a coattail draping off the edge. They are both extraordinary artists, performing in an intense "theater piece," neither a ballet nor a play, and I'm very glad to have seen it, but I can't recommend it unless you're someone who takes pleasure in seeing the details of dancers performing out of their natural milieu, not to mention their gorgeous bodies in underwear.

I went to this Saturday night (in a blizzard) and as others have said, $25 is pennies to spend to see Ferri and Cornejo. Granted they didn't "dance" much but their acting was superb. Cornejo, in what I'd call "the second half" of the show, nearly broke my heart; I felt he beautifully showed his torment between duty and love and the emotional aftereffects of war. I've always felt he was a good actor, but as abatt mentioned above his portrayals sometimes get lost on the huge Met stage. I was sitting in the 2nd row and could see every nuance. The choreography was not always impressive though (too many embraces and vertical lifts). Amy Irving was lovely. The scenery was impressive including the effect with the mirror.

One embarrassing note: I got to meet Cornejo after the show (very briefly) and gushed like a giggly teenager. But, totally worth it!

Hello, Everyone,

I wish I could have seen this performance, but as I live in Albany, I'm down for my NYCB subscription every few months and last week for Nutcracker so no time to see. Angelica, are you sure it wasn't wishful thinking, your point about Cornejo rolling into your armsflowers.gif - he's so gorgeous and his dancing is just so lovely - only kidding, of course, but I wouldn't mind if he rolled into my arms! And ABT Fan, I'd have gushed, too. He's just a love. Thanks for your posts! ~ Karen

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I went last evening and also spent an hour in rapt fascination watching Ferri, her toes, her bare legs showing through the slits in her nightgown, her extraordinary ability to convey emotion while standing in absolute stillness. I found Cornejo a less credible actor, but then I would pay to see him walk down the street. There is a moment when he is rolling on the floor downstage really fast, and I was sure he was going to roll right off the stage into my arms in Row A (I suggest seats further back for a more panoramic view), but he came to a dead stop with only a coattail draping off the edge. They are both extraordinary artists, performing in an intense "theater piece," neither a ballet nor a play, and I'm very glad to have seen it, but I can't recommend it unless you're someone who takes pleasure in seeing the details of dancers performing out of their natural milieu, not to mention their gorgeous bodies in underwear.

I went to this Saturday night (in a blizzard) and as others have said, $25 is pennies to spend to see Ferri and Cornejo. Granted they didn't "dance" much but their acting was superb. Cornejo, in what I'd call "the second half" of the show, nearly broke my heart; I felt he beautifully showed his torment between duty and love and the emotional aftereffects of war. I've always felt he was a good actor, but as abatt mentioned above his portrayals sometimes get lost on the huge Met stage. I was sitting in the 2nd row and could see every nuance. The choreography was not always impressive though (too many embraces and vertical lifts). Amy Irving was lovely. The scenery was impressive including the effect with the mirror.

One embarrassing note: I got to meet Cornejo after the show (very briefly) and gushed like a giggly teenager. But, totally worth it!

Hello, Everyone,

I wish I could have seen this performance, but as I live in Albany, I'm down for my NYCB subscription every few months and last week for Nutcracker so no time to see. Angelica, are you sure it wasn't wishful thinking, your point about Cornejo rolling into your armsflowers.gif - he's so gorgeous and his dancing is just so lovely - only kidding, of course, but I wouldn't mind if he rolled into my arms! And ABT Fan, I'd have gushed, too. He's just a love. Thanks for your posts! ~ Karen

Hi AlbanyGirl, It was truly an OMG moment. I had my arms outstretched. But actually I was greatly relieved when he came to a dead stop, because, after all, what do you say to one of the greatest dancers of all time when he misjudges the stage and essentially falls off it? "Buenas noches, Senor Cornejo"? And probably my arms would not have been strong enough to hold him up and we would both have tumbled to the floor, audience gasping. It would have been a grand fiasco. Happily, artist that he is, he did not misjudge. (But you're right, one can dream.... innocent.gif )

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Hi AlbanyGirl, It was truly an OMG moment. I had my arms outstretched. But actually I was greatly relieved when he came to a dead stop, because, after all, what do you say to one of the greatest dancers of all time when he misjudges the stage and essentially falls off it? "Buenas noches, Senor Cornejo"? And probably my arms would not have been strong enough to hold him up and we would both have tumbled to the floor, audience gasping. It would have been a grand fiasco. Happily, artist that he is, he did not misjudge. (But you're right, one can dream.... innocent.gif )

You're too funny, Angelica. Yes, that indeed would have been a sight! I'm chuckling as I sign off......

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Following her review of "Cheri," Marina Harss published excerpts from an interview with Cornejo which she translated from the Spanish:

http://dancetabs.com/2013/12/martha-clarke-takes-on-colettes-cheri-herman-cornejo-interview/

I was particularly struck by his comment,

"[Ferri] mentioned at some point how surprised she was by our chemistry, because even though she knew I was a great dancer, she still thought of me as the sixteen-year-old I was when I first joined the company.

That's a perfect set-up to the story, at least as Collette wrote it.

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I saw this lovely, if choreographically slight piece on December 11th. There was a talk-back afterwards with the cast.

First of all, the music chosen is lovely. Poulenc, Debussy, a little Massenet and a lot more Mompou - all beautifully played by Sarah Rothenberg. A lovely evocative set and effective lighting. Basically there are four pas de deux's on different stages of a relationship - love's happy fulfillment, sad parting of the ways, joyous reconciliation and morning after regrets/separation. In between there is narration by Amy Irving as Chéri's mother and moody solos by the two protagonists. Cornejo's final solo as Chéri shows off a few pirouettes and ends in suicide. Just over an hour long.

One of the newspaper critics described the choreography as watered down pas de deux's by Kenneth MacMillan without pointe work or bravura steps for the danseur. True - however Alessandra Ferri was a definitive MacMillan stylist and this role shows off much of what made her Juliet or Manon magical. There are also big echoes of her Marguerite Gautier in Neumeier's "La Dame aux Camellias" though I never saw her in the part since she retired from ABT by the time they did it. (Imagine her with Julio Bocca in that piece, I think at La Scala?). Ferri still has an amazingly flexible back and high extensions and when she is lifted (which is often) she points those arched feet like a ballerina. Ferri also changes in appeance remarkably without any makeup. In the joyous early love scenes, she can look like a teenager and later on like a careworn older woman. Every inch of her communicates deep emotion. Cornejo gives it right back to her and if he seems more callow and less complex that is true to the character of the younger feckless Chéri. He is moving as the broken man in the last scenes.

However, the stage is small and the seating area intimate so you are very close to the dancers which is good. But not a lot of room for big jumps or barrel turns - that is not Clarke's style anyway.

A few gems from the talkback: Ferri mentioned that every step was grounded in a dramatic motivation - there were no steps that were for pure technical display or abstract form. So if Herman put his arm around her waist it was to caress her and the lift that followed was their mutual response. Ferri said it was different from ballet where you do the steps and then try to inject human feelings and motivations into them. Each gesture or move was part of a conversation between the two dancers. Clarke mentioned that when Ferri was in her prima ballerina peak, her vocabulary was too simple for her. However, now Ferri was "ready". Also she mentioned that the big barrel turns and leaps that Herman Cornejo, in his prime, specializes in would not work for this character or the slice of life story. Cornejo charmingly interjected that he sometimes does do bravura leaps and turns at home... Amy Irving said that she was amazed at the acting of both Ferri and Cornejo and if they ever wanted to stop dancing that they could shine on the dramatic stage.

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