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ksk04

Jan 2019 - SCFTA Harlequinade Casting

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Finally here!

Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Isabella Boylston
James Whiteside
Gillian Murphy
Thomas Forster

Friday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Sarah Lane
Alban Lendorf
Stella Abrera
Calvin Royal III

Saturday, January 19 at 2 p.m.
Skylar Brandt
Daniil Simkin
Hee Seo
Alexandre Hammoudi

Saturday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Cassandra Trenary
Tyler Maloney
Christine Shevchenko
Blaine Hoven

Sunday, January 20 at 1 p.m.
Isabella Boylston
James Whiteside
Gillian Murphy
Thomas Forster
 

 

Luckily I have Friday night tickets already!

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Casting change for three performances, with Murphy replaced. I'm guessing she has had another obligation come up. She's still scheduled to dance in the Nutcracker and Pierrette in DC the week after LA.

 

Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Isabella Boylston
James Whiteside
**Stella Abrera (replaces Murphy)
Thomas Forster

Friday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Sarah Lane
Alban Lendorf
**Misty Copeland (replaces Abrera)
Calvin Royal III

Sunday, January 20 at 1 p.m.
Isabella Boylston
James Whiteside
**Stella Abrera (replaces Murphy)
Thomas Forster

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Oh come on, that's just cruel substitution on Friday evening!! I mean I'm happy for Stella to get an additional performance but...🤐

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I agree, ksk04, I have my season seats for Fridays, so I will need to move to Saturday evening.  

 

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Thank you everyone for keeping this thread updated. I am glad I haven’t booked my airfare yet. As much as I love Sarah Lane I wouldn’t be able to sit through another Copeland’s performance after her disastrous Gamzatti in Los Angeles this past summer. This latest cast change is going to keep my attendance to only two performances.

Edited by Dreamer

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Misty Copeland was originally supposed to dance Columbine last Spring but was replaced late in the game by Skylar Brandt who sparkled in the part.  From what I can see Misty is now dancing Pierette and that is a very different role - not much demanding pointe work or hops and lots of sass and mischievous charm.  Misty is excellent in soubrette parts and can handle the choreography in this secondary role - frankly I wouldn't cancel or switch your tickets.  The part is not so large that she will wreck the evening and I suspect Misty will be funny and adorable and dance more than adequately as Pierette  - it is right up her alley. 

 

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8 hours ago, FauxPas said:

Misty Copeland was originally supposed to dance Columbine last Spring but was replaced late in the game by Skylar Brandt who sparkled in the part.  From what I can see Misty is now dancing Pierette and that is a very different role - not much demanding pointe work or hops and lots of sass and mischievous charm.  Misty is excellent in soubrette parts and can handle the choreography in this secondary role - frankly I wouldn't cancel or switch your tickets.  The part is not so large that she will wreck the evening and I suspect Misty will be funny and adorable and dance more than adequately as Pierette  - it is right up her alley. 

Thanks for your feedback, FauxPas. It’s good to know that Copeland may not necessarily be a deal breaker in this role.

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17 hours ago, FauxPas said:

Misty Copeland was originally supposed to dance Columbine last Spring but was replaced late in the game by Skylar Brandt who sparkled in the part.  From what I can see Misty is now dancing Pierette and that is a very different role - not much demanding pointe work or hops and lots of sass and mischievous charm.  Misty is excellent in soubrette parts and can handle the choreography in this secondary role - frankly I wouldn't cancel or switch your tickets.  The part is not so large that she will wreck the evening and I suspect Misty will be funny and adorable and dance more than adequately as Pierette  - it is right up her alley. 

 

 

7 hours ago, Dreamer said:

Thanks for your feedback, FauxPas. It’s good to know that Copeland may not necessarily be a deal breaker in this role.

I'm going to second the recommendation Faux Pas made. Had Copeland danced Columbine as originally cast I think it would have been disastrous. However Pierette is a much less technically demanding role that really requires a lot of charm and Copeland should be great in it.

Lane is a wonderful Columbine and I'm sure Lendorf will be a great partner for her. This is the cast I'd choose If I was going.

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11 hours ago, nysusan said:

I'm going to second the recommendation Faux Pas made. Had Copeland danced Columbine as originally cast I think it would have been disastrous. However Pierette is a much less technically demanding role that really requires a lot of charm and Copeland should be great in it.

Lane is a wonderful Columbine and I'm sure Lendorf will be a great partner for her. This is the cast I'd choose If I was going.

Thank you. I decided to keep my Friday subscription ticket.

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I agree Misty will be an excellent Pierrette.  As others have mentioned, she excels in comedic roles.  (She was terrific in Coppelia with Cornejo.)  It really doesn't make sense to avoid her in *everything* because she can't meet the intense technical demands of Swan Lake.

Although Harliquinade is Petipa, it doesn't make the technical demands on the principal dancers of say a Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake.  Still I loved it so much, and can't wait to see it again.  I think much of the genius in the reconstruction is in what Ratmansky does with groups, but it's also just a lot of fun.

Gabe Stone Shayer and Cassandra Trenary were my favorite cast (I saw 3) last Spring.  I'm surprised he isn't cast on tour.  He's tailor-made for this role.

Edited by DeCoster

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15 minutes ago, DeCoster said:

Gabe Stone Shayer and Cassandra Trenary were my favorite cast (I saw 3) last Spring.  I'm surprised he isn't cast on tour.  He's tailor-made for this role.

I think he might still be out from the injury he suffered onstage in Whipped Cream at the Met in July, so that may be a factor. Has anyone seen him dancing in the fall season? Off the top of my head, I can't recall seeing him in any rehearsal or performance photos from the season. 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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30 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I think he might still be out from the injury he suffered onstage in Whipped Cream at the Met in July, so that may be a factor. Has anyone seen him dancing in the fall season? Off the top of my head, I can't recall seeing him in any rehearsal or performance photos from the season. 

If he's not cast in Harlequinade in January due to injury, then I hope he's better soon and is back on stage for Whipped Cream in April (and the Met season).

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Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Isabella Boylston
James Whiteside
Stella Abrera
Thomas Forster

Friday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Sarah Lane
Carlos Gonzales
Misty Copeland
Calvin Royal III

Saturday, January 19 at 2 p.m.
Skylar Brandt
Daniil Simkin
Hee Seo
Alexandre Hammoudi

Saturday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Cassandra Trenary
Tyler Maloney
Christine Shevchenko
Blaine Hoven

Sunday, January 20 at 1 p.m.
Isabella Boylston
James Whiteside
Stella Abrera
Thomas Forster
 

As this is (hopefully) the final cast list, after quite a few changes, I need to choose two casts to see. I’m definitely seeing Boylston/Whiteside/Abrera/Forster. For the second, I’m leaning toward Brandt/Simkin/Seo/Hammoudi. There are still a lot of unsold tickets. I wonder if it’s because It’s coming so quick on the heels of Nutcracker. 

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12 minutes ago, AB'sMom said:

Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Isabella Boylston
James Whiteside
Stella Abrera
Thomas Forster

Friday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Sarah Lane
Carlos Gonzales
Misty Copeland
Calvin Royal III

Saturday, January 19 at 2 p.m.
Skylar Brandt
Daniil Simkin
Hee Seo
Alexandre Hammoudi

Saturday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Cassandra Trenary
Tyler Maloney
Christine Shevchenko
Blaine Hoven

Sunday, January 20 at 1 p.m.
Isabella Boylston
James Whiteside
Stella Abrera
Thomas Forster
 

As this is (hopefully) the final cast list, after quite a few changes, I need to choose two casts to see. I’m definitely seeing Boylston/Whiteside/Abrera/Forster. For the second, I’m leaning toward Brandt/Simkin/Seo/Hammoudi. There are still a lot of unsold tickets. I wonder if it’s because It’s coming so quick on the heels of Nutcracker. 

Harlequinade is much of a soubrette-driven ballet, deprived of the technical fireworks that people usually look forward to. I found it charming, but I wouldn't necessarily travel again to see it. And then....it has been only some months since they put it, so ...

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Skylar Brandt just posted that she and Daniil Simkin are going on tonight instead of Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside. I’m not sure why. Isabelle and James were here rehearsing yesterday. I already have tickets for tonight and planned to see Brandt/Simkin Saturday afternoon. They are still doing that show as well, so I may go Sunday afternoon for my second show instead. 

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Thanks for the info. Good news for me for tonight then! Brandt was the one person I was sad to not to fit in, but I did not want to do two shows on Saturday. However, I hope Boylston and/or Whiteside aren't injured as that is not nice.

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According to Isabella’s instagram,  James is ill and unable to dance tonight. Not enough time to rehearse with another partner. Gotta be disappointing for both of them.  I have tickets for Sunday’s performance, so hopefully  he’s feeling better by then. 

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I was there tonight.  I thought the announcement before the performance was that Whiteside was injured and therefore Simkin and Brandt would be dancing. Maybe ksk04 heard the announcement differently. The dancing from the leads was excellent.  

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The announcement said James Whiteside was ill and the kids in the show confirmed it. 

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I did hear illness or something like that regarding Whiteside, as well.

I've been to Thursday (Simkin/Brandt and Forster/Abrera) and Friday (Gonzalez/Lane and Royal/Copeland). I think, in general, all four couples have acquitted themselves really well. I thought the opening cast, especially Brandt since the solos are SO difficult, were pretty much ideal and worried about the next night, if it would match the quality. To compare, Brandt was very solid technically and quite cutesy, in a good way. I think Lane was better at making the Lark section a bit more expansive in breadth and carrying the fluttering hands throughout, but also very strong technically. Both got applause in the middle of their solos for the terrifying hop sequence. Simkin was also ideal. He seems much more solid now partnering and he had a great rapport with Brandt. I also thought he handled the characterization of Harlequin quite well; he has a great little signature Harlequin excited-hop. I believe you all mentioned Gonzalez was a debut and he was also excellent. He was a very solid partner for Lane (happy to see after the Nutcracker with Gorak) and also did well with dancing/acting. I wish I could see him and Simkin without masks though! I think Gonzalez could handle more assignments during this ABT-leading-man crisis. Is he cast for anything else at the Met?

Abrera was excellent. She brings a great wit and comedienne's touch to the role. I thought Copeland was fine the next night and it is a good role for her technical skills (also on opening night they were giving away posters from her Nutcracker movie to everyone). Forster and Royal both played Pierrot well. Royal did not do his face with the white paint; instead he used some silver highlighter and red sparkles. I had read an article that said he was talking with the makeup artists about what to do because he didn't want to paint his face white. I thought it was fine. I did, however, feel like the optics of the opening mime (and much of interaction between Pierrot and Cassandre, Columbine's father) had a really uncomfortable racial undertone that veered toward the minstrel, though of course commedia dell'arte is its own stock-character genre. Obviously, I am happy for Royal to get this opportunity and he was excellent. I just felt that a white man threatening to beat a black man, his servant, is maybe not the greatest curtain opener.

Hammoudi and Hoven were Pierrette's pdd partners (Abrera and Copeland respectively) in the first act. Both were fine. I preferred the bitchiness of Duncan Lyle to Keith Roberts as Leandre. I felt, in general, both casts were very strong and the ballet showcases the talents of the company well. It is a very light ballet, overall, and could use more ADULT dancing (sorry--the children, though well drilled, went on for a long time, and yes, I re-read the thread about this issue from the Met season and I understand their purpose within the context of Petipa, etc. etc.). The Lark scene is beautiful; I hope that if this ballet goes away after a few runs that ABT keeps it as an excerpt. The costumes are also to die for, and I spent a lot of time looking at all those details through my binocs.

On the opening night, the Good Fairy (T. Ratmansky) got to borrow some heavy-duty Chopard per the program leaflet. Not so lucky for Friday, though.

One more show to go tonight!

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Thanks for the awesome report ksk04. To answer your question, Gonzalez is also cast as Lankendem in Le Corsaire at the MET.

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Thanks for the reply; I think he would be a candidate for something else in the vacancies. He was a great and attentive partner.

Saturday evening the cast was Maloney/Trenary and Hoven/Shevchenko. Though this is nitpicky (but what do you want after 3 consecutive nights?), I did feel this was my least favorite cast. No one was horrendous or anything, but that special something was not as present for me. First, I was nagged by the feeling the entire time that Shevchenko is wasted as Pierrette in a way I did not feel watching Abrera and Copeland. She was charming and excellent, and for me the strongest of this set of leads, but I wanted to see her in something more challenging, especially coming off of the triumphant Nutcracker I saw last month. I thought Maloney made a decent debut. He was not fairy-impish like Simkin, or as cavalier and joyous as Gonzalez, but a bit more mischievous. He had some moments where I was really taken aback by his ballon and height in jumps, and other times where he was a bit more leaden and heavy in his landings (weirdly enough, more ballon in Act 2). He and Trenary seemed comfortable with each other, though one of the lifts where she jumps to pose vertically on his shoulder in the Lark pas went awry and he had to bring her down into the cradle pose immediately. Not sure if it was just a mistiming or something else; nothing else seemed particularly problematic between them the rest of the time, though I thought the supported grand jetes that leap behind Harlequin's body (Lark pas) were sketched in comparison to the previous couples. I think a debut that suggests there is something good there that needs to be developed (which ABT is great at...). Trenary for me was a little disappointing next to Brandt and Lane; I felt some of the choreography and poses that I had come to be familiar with over the previous evenings were a bit muted and smaller scale. She was good, and I'm sure if I hadn't seen the other two it wouldn't be as apparent. There were no technical issues or anything. So I think also room to grow for her in the role. Hoven was fine; I think the Pierrots have all been about equal with different strengths here and there. Hoven did a very good Lady Capulet over the Harlequin dummy.

 

Much of the supporting cast was the same as Friday night, with the biggest exception that Aran Bell was Pierrette's cavalier. I though Keith Roberts was more effective Saturday evening as Leandre.

 

Other note/questions:  I thought it was interesting that Misty Copeland was the only Pierrette to wear the "shoe jewelry" as the program called it. I can see that it would be really annoying and potentially disruptive to a tight sous sous or quick footwork. AND I forgot to ask--was anyone else there on Friday? I swear I saw Zhong Jing Fang in the corps of the lark section but I don't see her name on casting. I was surprised because she is now a soloist so I wouldn't think she would be performing in the corps?

 

Looking forward to anyone else's impressions.

 

Edited by ksk04

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I was there Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening.  I was in the loge on Thursday and then in the orchestra section's third and fourth rows on the other nights. 

I love this ballet. It is utterly delightful.   I even enjoyed the children all three nights.  I thought the Saturday night cast as a whole, meaning the ensemble, was the most relaxed on stage and having fun.  My favorite Harlequin was Maloney.  For me, he was expressive in his torso, impish, and the most musical of the three, but each Harlequin was excellent.   There was a lapse, as ksk04 stated, on the traveling fourth lift going from stage left to right, but the save was okay and  these things happen to every performer for a variety of reasons.  

I understand what you mean, ksk04, about Shevchenko being wasted as Pierrette - we both saw her in The Nutcracker and I also saw her dance a glorious Gamzatti in L.A. last summer.  She danced beautifully but I longed to see her in something with more weight.  Having seen Forster in The Nutcracker and then as Pierrot, I can say the same thing about him - yeegods, let this man dance principal roles and the classics.  Enough already.  

 I liked Trenary very much, though some of the choreography was altered: in the first act solo, she took the hops on pointe in attitude devant with the raised leg lower than Brandt and Lane executed, and Trenary also came down in a controlled  fondu after those hops instead of staying on pointe, which changed the phrasing and musically of the combination.  She also came down in a fondu in attitude derriere croise that I did not recall from the other two Columbines. But I find her stunningly natural on stage with a beautiful presence.  

I found Copeland's dancing small and tidy and with no elevation where required; her acting was one-dimensional, which was not the case with Shevchencko and Abrera.  Abera was gracious and effervescent in all ways, and danced with great beauty.  

Brandt actually made portions of her solos look virtuoso in  choreographic intent due to holding balances, particularly in the last act solo where she does a releve twice on each leg from a tendu devant to passe to tendu derriere.    Lane danced with all her heart, and her phrasing in her solos was wonderful to behold.  I enjoyed all three Columbines and their uniqueness in the role. 

It was great fun seeing Aran Bell having a good time with his colleagues in the corps, where he will probably not be for much longer. 

1 hour ago, ksk04 said:

I swear I saw Zhong Jing Fang in the corps of the lark section but I don't see her name on casting. I was surprised because she is now a soloist so I wouldn't think she would be performing in the corps?

 

Looking forward to anyone else's impressions.

 

Yes, that was Zhong Jing Fang, and I had the same reaction. 

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I attended Friday (Lane/Gonzalez/Copeland/Royal), Saturday matinee (Brandt/Simkin/Seo/Hammoudi) and Saturday evening (Trenary/Maloney/Shevchenko/Hoven) performances.  My initial plan was to attend just one performance as I was not sure if this would be my cup of tea. After Wipped Cream I didn’t think that another full length Ratmansky’s ballet can be something I woul’d thoroughly enjoy. But I was up for a big surprise as I absolutely adored this ballet that had a flair of the old world with its acrobatic free, pure choreographic delights. 

All three Columbines and Harlequins were excellent in their own right. But perhaps, the two corps members superseded the star power of Simkin, who, to my eyes, had a hint of complacency and lacked that joyful freshness exhibited by the younger dancers. I liked Gonzalez and Maloney equally well as each dancer had unique qualities and style but I would probably give Maloney a slight lead in this “contest” because I found his Harlequin to be more mischievous and sly, although Gonzalez was stronger technically.  Tyler Maloney first caught my attention in the Saturday matinee performance in the minor role of one of Leandre’s servants. He struck me as someone with an incredible expressive face, like a silent film actor. He was so funny that he even upstaged the hilariously comical Duncan Lyle’s Leandre.  

The ultimate Columbine for me was Sarah Lane. In Act II in those supported grand jetes with the change in direction, Lane looked like a bird flying around her partner. And in her passé releve she was going so high up on pointe as if pulled up by an invisible string. A view of breathtaking beauty and grace. Brandt was a charmingly cute and adorably sweet heroine. She was technically flawless but I still felt a bit underwhelmed by her performance. Maybe because I expected more, a bit of a miracle she was capable of judging from a few rehearsal videos of Harlequinade in her Instagram feed. 

Copeland unsurprisingly got the loudest ovation but did not bring anything particular to the role of Pierrette dancing it with a plastered grin throughout. Seo and  Royal did not leave a mark on me. Hammoudi and Hoven did a commendable job. I agree with others about Shevchenko—this girl is destined to be a star and should be given all support necessary by ABT to achieve her stardom.

A big bonus of this trip was the always glorious Southern California sunshine. It was hard getting back to the rain soaked Bay Area but I guess I shouldn’t complain. Dancers have to go back to a snow storm and freezing temperatures of NYC and I’ll take rain over snow any day.

Edited by Dreamer

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I’m so happy to hear that Gonzalez and Maloney had successful debuts. I look forward to seeing them featured more in the upcoming Met season. Thank you to everyone who reported. 

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