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Little Dancer - the musical, starring Tiler Peck (NYCB)

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Thanks, Lisa. Looking forward to your impressions!

A family member who saw the Thursday matinee (30 Oct) loved it. He said that Tiler Peck is on stage almost 100% of time and absolutely carries the show, not just dancing but singing and acting commendably. William Ivey Long costumes also superb. It flows very well with musical numbers melding together very well. It should be Broadway bound, he thought.

I hope that yours & other impressions may also be positive. I should be back home in time for last weekend of the run. I didn't want to buy tickets if it was a 'dud' but it doesn't seem to be that at all. In other words, it sounds like a real hit.

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My best friend from work went last night (Wed., Nov 5) to both the "Look-in" at 5pm and to the performance at 7:30pm. She LOVED-LOVED-LOVED the show. Said that it received an instant, enthusiastic, LOUD standing-o at the end. Gorgeous sets and costumes, lovingly evoking the Paris Opera Ballet of Degas' time. All three leading stars are excellent but Tiler Peck positively outstanding as Young Marie. Beautiful ending 'Dream Ballet' which neatly tied together all themes of the show; Peck begins by performing four long 'slides' - one to each corner of the stage, then dances with each of the groups of personages encountered in her life, e.g., ballerinas, the gentlemen-subscribers, hookers, can-can girls, laundresses, etc. There's even a brief little homage to Agnes DeMille, as the can-can girls form a carousel!

Her only complaint: the 2nd act is a bit too long and draggy. It could use some gentle excising, perhaps of a long scene outside the Von Goethem's apartment, involving Marie's mother and the laundresses, that adds little to the story. Otherwise, the shows moves along very well. Maximum use of music and dance; short spoken sections.

My colleague also enjoyed the Look-in, in which the top-3 stars (Peck, Rebecca Luker, and Boyd Gaines) participated as well as director/choreographer Susan Stroman, author/lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty. Someone asked if a CD of the soundtrack is available, to which someone answered "Stay tuned...in the works." Someone else asked if the show is going to Broadway, to which Stroman answered, "Right now we're doing all of this only for the Kennedy Center..." but seemed to leave the door open to more.

Finally - here is a nice clip of the big opening number: "C'est le Ballet"! Killer fouettes from Tiler Peck included. Courtesy of the Kennedy Center.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?vOuzoq83T4#t=13 (if someone has a more direct link, please provide)

p.s. My friend said that this show is in a full month of previews (since Oct. 20) and doesn't officially open until Nov. 20...then closes on Nov 30. Very odd: so many preview shows just for 10 days of the 'true' show? So we won't be reading reviews from official critics until after the 'opening' on Nov. 20. Crazy!

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I hope this gets some very good reviews, especially from the NY Times and Washington Post. That will be key to whether this can move to Broadway.

Imagine if Tiler, husband Robbie Fairchild and sister in law Megan Fairchild all end up in Tony nominated shows in the Spring! Keeping it all in the family.

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Look out for the other wonderful ballet dancers in the musical. For example, among the four little singing/dancing corps gals - les petit rats - is recent SAB graduate Lyrica Woodruff as 'Chantal,' who is featured in a solo...without giving away too much of the plot. Lyrica is a fantastic dancer. She attended SAB as Lyrica Blankfein, I believe, winning the May Wein award at the 50th-Anniv graduation last spring.

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Sorry for the delayed report I actually attended this past Saturday instead of the previous one as I thought. (Guess I really really wanted to see it.) Anyway, Natalia, I also LOVED LOVED LOVED the show. I don't have the playbill in front of me so I can't identify individuals and credits, but there is a lot of solid training and performing experience on that stage and it shows. I particularly enjoyed the the dancer playing the Opera choreographer. He graduated from Julliard and danced with both the Merce Cunningham and Mark Morris companies.

Visually it is the most gorgeous thing I've seen on stage recently. The dappled colors of the scenery and the lighting made me feel as though I was looking through Degas' eyes. The deterioration of his vision is one of the major plot lines. I could easily believe that these were people living by gaslight.

My one very very tiny annoyance came when Young Marie's best friend-side kick made some overly obvious comments on the action. Very short moments that just made me grimace. The play is full of well-realized characters that feel like real people execpt for these few comments by the best friend. Major themes were aging, coming of age, friendship, the desire for freedom and art, family, identity and survival.

It's not fair that Tiler Peck is so talented. She is a convincing actress and singer, as well as the magnificent dancer that we know from her years on the stage. In interviews she seems very grounded and intelligent. All I can do is be impressed. The rest of the cast is very fine and convincing.

In addition to the dance sequences set in the ballet studio and theater there is a short burst of waltz clog in a scene where Young Marie is busking on the street with the rehearsal violinist and a cafe scene where Marie is taken for a night out by her older sister that has the first appearance of the cancan and a polka is danced as well.

I think I like the score, but I wouldn't want to pass judgment without hearing it a few more times. I can say that the score works.

My recommendation is that if coming to Washington is a reasonable day trip for you, get your tickets before the reviews come out. It plays through Nov. 30th. There is a performance on Thanksgiving night as well. Washington tends to empty out at Thanksgiving because a large proportion of the population are transplants and they fly home for their turkey (I'll be back in NY). You might even be able to find a deal at an in-town hotel. If you want to really treat yourself, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet is performing 11/28-11/30 in the Opera House with this program: 1951 version of Swan Lake, Allegro Brillante, Monumentum & Movements and The Concert.

The only thing to fear is the traffic on I-95. biggrin.png

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I'm way behind on this report, having seen it two weeks ago today. Loved it - such an imaginative production - sets, costumes, acting - music not particularly memorable..... Tiler Peck was magnificent. We already know she lights up the stage as a dancer, but she held her own while appearing with three Tony award winning actors ( a chance to hear the glorious voice of Rebecca Luker again!). Rather surprised by the mixed reviews from Washington Post and NY Times. I SO hope this transfers to Broadway and finds an audience - it's such a unique show. I realize passion for ballet is VERY limited, but who would have foreseen the great success of Billy Elliott on Broadway - seen by many with no interest in seeing soccer players become ballet dancers or any interest in the plight of miners in the UK. So, my hopes are high for Little Dancer.

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I really enjoyed it (Nov. 29 matinee). But I have to admit that I was far more impressed with the cast than with the play itself. The range of skills required of the actors was amazing, and they all nailed it. As far as the play goes, I thought that the music was in general bland and generic and that the first act dragged on too long. Many of the plot elements weren't particularly original. I would say that it was the performers rather than the creators that made the play enjoyable.

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I returned from Australia in time see this for myself on the final show (Nov. 30 matinee). I have to agree with my friends whose reports I presented earlier, as well as fellow reviewers. This is an extraordinarily lovely show for the eyes and soul, replete with top-notch performances, not least Tiler Peck. If the show doesn't eventually go to Broadway it will be due to the sophomoric - almost Disneyesque - score. I hate to say it, but I sometimes felt as if we're watching a preview for an animated feature film, aimed at "Tweens." That should NOT be, in a mature and touching story.

I'm still rooting for this show to make it to Broadway. Hey, any stage show that takes place at the Paris Opera Ballet and includes choreographer Louis Merante as a featured character earns my vote!

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Cutting & pasting's Drew's comments in the NYCB forum:

meunier fan, on 03 Aug 2014 - 09:19 AM, said:

And just think of the new audiences that will potentially follow his (and Tiler Peck's) happy NYCB return just a tad up on Broadway. A public service in deed.

I hope you are right, but I have decidedly mixed feelings about two of the best American ballet dancers--which is to say, two of the best ballet dancers in the world--taking off a year (or even a little less) to do Broadway. Peck and Fairchild are a big part of NYCB's current "renaissance" with fans and critics (I say "renaissance" because even Martins' naysayers have been taking note of how well the company is dancing) and ballet careers are short and unpredictable. Nor am I persuaded Broadway is the best way for them to develop as ballet dancers, even though they will presumably learn a lot from these projects.

Obviously, they want to do the shows and I wish them all success etc.. I may even try to see at least one (though with limited budget for ballet trips to NY, I usually prioritize...well, ballet), but I have very mixed feelings about seeing Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck depart for Broadway even temporarily.

Judging from Little Dancer's reviews, it may not be Broadway bound, at least right away. And from what I can glean from reviews and comments from both productions to date, Peck (and Fairchild) are both appealing performers, but may not be ready/able to carry a show.

I agree that the best way for them to develop as ballet dancers is to stay home and dance ballet, but I also understand their wish to branch out, and I do believe that they will learn useful things.

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I forgot to mention that, for me, the exception to the poor simplistic score is Boyd Gaines' (Degas) solo "In Between" during the clever scene in which Tiler (Young Marie) and the four other Little Rats are auditioning for a solo in Merante's new ballet. On the other hand...we have a bunch of tunes that can best be described as Dumbed-down Sesame Street.

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There is an interview in the NY Times about Stroman's next project, the Merry Widow at the Met Opera. In passing, she mentions that the next stop for Little Dancer is a run during the summer of 2015 in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson Theater.

The Washington Post reports this morning that

Stroman may have jumped the gun. Neither the Kennedy Center, which produced the “Little Dancer” premiere, nor the Center Theatre Group would confirm her statement.

“We are in discussions,” a spokesman for the three-theater complex in Los Angeles said Monday.
The Center Theatre Group has a recent history with Stroman, having staged her revival of the Kander and Ebb musical “Scottsboro Boys” last year. . . . four-time Tony winner Boyd Gaines, who plays Degas, said he was keeping his schedule clear of long-term projects to be available for “Little Dancer.”
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Thanks for the updates. I really hope that rumors, etc. are true.

I'm curious if any ballerina would/could ever substitute Tiler Peck as Young Marie? Marie is tailor-made for Tiler, so I wouldn't really want to see anyone else. Does Misty Copeland sing and act, for example?

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