Category: Ballet

Monster Mash: Nick Jonas back on Broadway; 'Book of Mormon' plea

January 24, 2012 |  7:50 am


Climbing the corporate latter:
Pop star Nick Jonas suits up to play Broadway's next J. Pierrepont Finch in "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying," following Darren Criss' popular limited run. (Playbill

Sold out: Lawmaker pleads for Colorado homeboys Trey Parker and Matt Stone to extend "Book of Mormon" run in Denver. (Denver Post)

Money matters: The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society wins in dispute with "Spider-Man" producers. (Playbill

Crystal ball: Leaders in entertainment, academia and marketing gathered to predict what Broadway will look like in 2032 at the one-day inaugural TEDxBroadway. (Associated Press)

Spidey fashion sense: A cape made of spider silk — thanks to artist Simon Peers, designer Nicholas Godley and more than a million hard-working insects — goes on display at London's V&A museum. (The Guardian)

"Follies" follies: Even with a high demand for tickets, the critically acclaimed "Follies" ended its Broadway run without turning a profit. (New York Times)

Save the last dance: Financial woes postpone Oakland Ballet Company’s spring program. (Oakland Tribune)

Common ground: A museum devoted to Civil War, civil rights could come to North Carolina. (Fayetteville Observer

Stage hands: Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton have been tapped to host this year’s Olivier Awards. (Theater Mania

Passing: John Levy, first prominent African American jazz manager, dies at 99. (Associated Press

Also in the L.A. Times: Mark Swed reviews the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra's performance of Mahler "Rescurrection"; highlights from this year’s Hollywood Bowl lineup.

-- Jamie Wetherbe

Photo: Singer/actor Nick Jonas as Link Larkin performs during the 2011 production of "Hairspray "at the Hollywood Bowl. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times


Monster Mash: Larry Gagosian sued; violinist on Costa Concordia

January 20, 2012 |  7:30 am


A Hungarian violinist who helped children into their life jackets aboard the Costa Concordia is the first identified victim of the cruise ship disaster


Lawsuit: Larry Gagosian is being sued for more than $14 million for allegedly selling two works of art that some claim he had no right to sell. (New York Post)

Tragedy: A Hungarian violinist who helped children into their life jackets aboard the Costa Concordia is the first identified victim of the cruise ship disaster. (Toronto Star)

Back to work: New York City Opera's orchestra union has ratified a new contract  that eliminates five months' guaranteed pay and cuts minimum annual earnings. (Wall Street Journal)

Like underwater basket-weaving: Theater is one of the most useless college majors, according to a new ranking. (Yahoo!)

Going abroad: Keenan Kampa, a member of the Boston Ballet, is joining the Mariinsky Ballet in Russia. (New York Times)

Losing its appeal?: Theater audiences in Britain have slumped by 9% in the last two years. (Telegraph)

Longer weeks: The Prado Museum in Madrid hopes its new schedule of opening seven days a week will bring in extra cash and help it survive a reduction in government funding. (Associated Press)

Family-friendly: "Peter and the Starcatcher," a prequel to "Peter Pan," will start performances on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in March. (Playbill)

For real?: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to acquire O.J. Simpson's former home in Florida to turn into a "Meat is Murder" museum. (CNN)

Busted: Child pornography has been discovered in the home of an architecture professor who teaches at the Pratt Institute. (New York Post)

Appointment: The Minnesota Opera has named Michael Christie as its new music director. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Also in the L.A. Times: Theater critic Charles McNulty reviews "Our Town," starring Helen Hunt, at the Broad Stage.

-- David Ng

Photo: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the Italian island of Giglio. Credit: Tullio M. Puglia / Getty Images

Performance review: 'O(h)' at the Actors Company Theatre

January 16, 2012 |  1:00 pm

Casebolt and Smith
Care for a little deconstruction with your dance show?  Wisecracking Liz Casebolt and Joel Smith take you under the tulle in “O(h),” their innovative if uneven hour of choreography and commentary now at the Actors Company Theatre in West Hollywood.

Part lecture, part striptease, part improv, “O(h)” plays like a TED talk with sweat. Smith’s strapping physique is the evening’s eye candy, but the subject matter is dance itself, that sublime, pretentious, elusive art form. If nothing else, Casebolt and Smith are cheeky enough to admit their chosen profession is rife with the ridiculous. That prima ballerina’s penchant for overacting? Running around in circles to indicate a long journey? Martha Graham angst? Lame. 

There’s nothing like hearing dish from experts, especially on their elegant playground of a set, a pristine box mapped with glowing, colored EL  wire created by architects Hadrian Predock and John Frane.

Continue reading »

Inside the dancing life in Los Angeles

January 15, 2012 |  9:00 am

Chisa Yamaguchi

Being a concert dancer takes equal parts talent, skill, and perseverance, particularly in Los Angeles. But ballet and modern dancers say the artistic opportunities are worth it, despite the city’s primary focus on the movie and television business. 

It takes grit to succeed, however. Chisa Yamaguchi, a member of Diavolo Dance Theater, recalled that when she started going out on auditions after getting her bachelor’s degree from UCLA, she was unprepared for just how competitive the process was. She had to learn to steel herself not just for rejections, but for the cut-throat environment.

 “At first, it was really difficult to be happy for the people who were getting the jobs I wanted,” she said. “The audition where they [Diavolo] hired me, was the one audition that I helped people who asked me for help. You need to look at people not as competition but as assets. We need to stick together otherwise we are going to all fail.”

Read the stories of Yamaguchi and other Los Angeles dancers

-- Laura Bleiberg

Photo: Chisa Yamaguchi in "Origin," by Diavolo Dance Theater. Credit: Thomas Vu

Monster Mash: Duchess Catherine charities; Clyfford Still painting

January 5, 2012 |  7:50 am


Royal favors: Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, has announced her charity patronages, which include the Art Room and the National Portrait Gallery. (BBC News)

Drunk?: Officials in Denver say a woman, apparently inebriated, punched and damaged a Clyfford Still painting worth more than $30 million at the Clyfford Still Museum. (Denver Post)

Appointment: The New York Philharmonic has named Matthew VanBesien as its new executive director, replacing Zarin Mehta who is retiring. (New York Times)

Ka-ching: Alex Timbers, artistic director of the New York theater group Les Freres Corbusier, is in talks to direct a movie adaptation of the children's novel "Heck" for MGM. (Playbill)

Audacious: An art student in Poland covertly hung one of his works in a museum in the city of Wroclaw. (Associated Press)

Farewell: Opera Boston, which announced last month that it would shut down, is defending its decision and has provided more details about its financial situation. (Boston Business Journal)

Closing: "Relatively Speaking," the Broadway production of short plays by Woody Allen, Elaine May and Ethan Coen, will end its run on Jan. 29. (

Ambitious: The Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York has plans for a $64-million expansion. (WETM News)

Stepping down: John C. Fry, president of Fry's Electronics, is expected to resign as chairman of Ballet San Jose's board of directors. (San Jose Mercury News)

Jail: A man has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for his role in a plot to sell forged paintings that he claimed to be the work of a renowned Louisiana folk artist. (Associated Press)

Windfall: The Miami Science Museum has received a $10-million matching pledge from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. (Miami Herald)

In the running: A street art rendering of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has appeared in Beverly Hills. (Beverly Hills Patch)

Free money: Atlanta Ballet is receiving a $2-million grant from the Goizueta Foundation. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

In the L.A. Times: A look at ice sculptures at the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China.

-- David Ng

Photo: Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, after a Christmas Day service at the royal country retreat of Sandringham. Credit: Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Merce Cunningham Dance Company concludes

January 1, 2012 |  6:33 pm

The troupe takes its final bows in New York City with a multifaceted ‘Event’ that featured portions of 24 dances representing five decades of the choreographer’s work.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company

Reporting from New York —The Merce Cunningham Dance Company took its final bows on New Year’s Eve, performing a multifaceted “Event” worthy of its innovative founder’s belief in the endlessly fascinating possibilities of the body in motion.

This last of six “Park Avenue Armory Events,” performed for a fiercely devoted audience of about 1,500 that included more than three dozen company alumni, dazzled with its multiplicity of perspectives as the 14-member troupe navigated among three stages placed within the armory’s 55,000-square-foot drill hall — where Cunningham’s 2009 memorial took place.

Daniel Arsham’s suspended cloud-cluster sculptures, and the reverberant newly commissioned scores by veteran Cunningham collaborators David Behrman, John King, Takehisa Kosugi and Christian Wolff, combined to generate an atmosphere of reverent celebration.

“Events,” a distinctly Cunningham innovation — flexible assemblages of excerpts and complete works — were a staple of the company’s performances for decades, often done in nonproscenium settings. This one — selected and assembled by Robert Swinston, the 30-year company veteran who had served as director of choreography — included portions of 24 Cunningham dances representing five decades. From various vantage points — including six elevated platforms that offered a panoramic perspective on all three stages — one could marvel at dances ranging from the wildly feral to the privately meditative.

Many of the dancers performed solos — some of them material they were performing for the first time. In an unusual move, a solo from the 1977 “Fractions” was interpreted by both a woman and a man — Andrea Weber and Rashaun Mitchell. The final work danced on one of the stages was “Cross Currents,” a seven-minute 1964 trio originally performed by Cunningham, Carolyn Brown and Viola Farber. Brown, whose association with the choreographer dated to 1953, was in the audience.

Each company member — representing the final group of dancers trained and selected by Cunningham — gave ample evidence of the precision, daring and mastery they had achieved through their culminating two-year Legacy Tour.

Cunningham would have appreciated the split-second choices the audience was asked to make as 21/2 hours of such demanding choreography was served up in less than an hour. When the “Event” concluded with the lights dimming as each of the three stages emptied, a roar went up and developed into a 10-minute ovation.

The dancers bowed on each stage, then collected and held hands on the central stage for repeated bows. Ultimately, they had to leave us, and with their final exit, a powerfully significant and influential era in contemporary dance had come to a close.


Merce Cunningham company dances to the end

Emotional times as the end nears for Merce Cunningham troupe

Critic's Notebook: Baryshnikov dances into the future of Merce Cunningham's work

--Susan Reiter

Photo: Members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Jamie Scott and Dylan Crossman.        Credit: Stephanie Berger Photography

Faces to Watch in 2012: Theater, art, music, dance and more

January 1, 2012 | 10:05 am

Faces to Watch

As is our tradition at the start of a year, the arts staff has started filling up our calendar with some of the performances and works we are looking forward to seeing in the months ahead.

From there we've selected some of the people we'll be paying attention to in theater, dance, architecture, art, classical music and jazz.

The 2012 lists of Faces to Watch include a mix of newcomers as well as veterans taking new risks, one unknown face and a thousand-plus others.

2012 Preview: The year in arts and culture

Faces to Watch in 2012: Pop music, classical and jazz

Faces to Watch in 2012: Dance, theater, architecture and art

-- Sherry Stern

Photos, from left: Benjamin Millepied, choreographer; Telly Leung, actor; Simone Dinnerstein, pianist. Credits: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times; the Old Globe; Lisa-Marie Mazzucco


Monster Mash: NBC's 'Smash'; Big Daddy Roth museum

December 27, 2011 |  7:30 am

TV to stage? Could "Smash," the coming NBC series about making a musical on Broadway, actually spawn a musical for Broadway? (New York magazine)

Permanent collection: Darryl Roth wants to see his collection of his father's hot-rod art in a museum (Los Angeles Times)

Kennedy Center broadcast: CBS will air Tuesday night the recent Kennedy Center Honors that recognized cellist Yo-Yo Ma, jazz musician Sonny Rollins, singer Barbara Cook, pop star Neil Diamond and actress Meryl Streep. (Playbill).

Going, going, gone: Thursday and Friday are the last chances to see "The Addams Family," "Private Lives" and "Bonnie and Clyde" on Broadway. (

Smart shooting: Phone photography accounts for a growing percentage of the photos taken each year. (Wired)

Role unclear: Founder and artistic director Dennis Nahat will have an as-yet unspecified role with Ballet San Jose under its new arrangement with American Ballet Theater. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Lost, found: A Boston music student was reunited with the $170,000 violin she forgot in the overhead compartment of a bus she rode last week. (Boston Globe)

Passings: Sori Yanagi, a pioneer of Japanese industrial design, at 96, and modern architect Andrew Geller, 87.

Also in the L.A. Times: The Salty Shakespeare troupe brings the Bard to the streets of Los Angeles and Woody Allen talks about his love of jazz.

-- Kelly Scott and Sherry Stern

Image: Poster for "Smash." Credit: NBC

Monster Mash: New Shroud of Turin theory; 'Rent' protest in Idaho

December 23, 2011 |  7:46 am


Sacred cloth: Italian researchers are reviving the idea that the Shroud of Turin's image of a Christlike figure could have been created only by a powerful flash of light. (MSNBC)

"Sets a bad example": A regional production of the musical "Rent" in Idaho that is set for January is already drawing local criticism. (Broadway World)

Called off: A Swiss art prize has been canceled after an artist claimed she was taken off the shortlist for being "too pro-Palestinian". (BBC News)

Accused: A man in Britain has denied ripping a piece of Banksy artwork from a hotel wall and trying to sell it on EBay. (The Sun)

New way of thinking: The financially troubled Colorado Symphony Orchestra has unveiled a new business model that emphasizes earned income rather than donations. (Denver Post)

Resurrected: New York's Dance Theater of Harlem is being revived after having shut down in 2004. (New York Times)

Precautionary measures: Insurers in Britain are advising owners of valuable metal artworks to radically "rethink" their security measures following the theft of a valuable piece of public art by Barbara Hepworth. (Telegraph)

Innovative thinking: Cities are finding new ways to protect works of public art. (USA Today)

Coming soon: A trailer for the new documentary "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry." (Art Info)

Crowd pleaser: A new stage musical based on the 2010 movie "Made in Dagenham" is aiming for London's West End. (Daily Mail)

Survivor: A 19-year-old ballet dancer who was badly injured during an assault has miraculously recovered. (BBC News)

Meditative: A 10-piece sculpture garden is being created for the planned branch of the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert. (Desert Sun)

Also in the L.A. Times: John Chamberlain, the American sculptor who used crushed automobile sheet metal, has died at age 84.

-- David Ng

Photo: The Shroud of Turin. Credit: Agence France Presse

Monster Mash: Dodgers' Don Mattingly in 'Nutcracker'; Warhol tops S&P

December 21, 2011 |  7:50 am

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly took time to appear in The Nutcracker

Holiday spirit: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly traveled to his hometown in Indiana to perform in a local production of "The Nutcracker" ballet. (NBC Los Angeles)

Good investments: Art by Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 during the last 10 years, according to a new measure. (Bloomberg)

Next project: Filmmaker Charlie Kaufman, who took us inside John Malkovich's head with "Being John Malkovich," is talking about making a movie musical. (Guardian)

Hard times: The Los Angeles area's arts and entertainment industries lost thousands of jobs from 2007 to 2010, according to a study. (Los Angeles Times)

Getting off the ground: The Weinstein Co. is moving forward with its long-gestating stage musical "Finding Neverland," which had been set to run at LaJolla Playhouse. (New York Times)

Missing: Thieves have stolen a work of public art in Britain by artist Barbara Hepworth. (Telegraph)

Cash infusion: The Smithsonian Institution is receiving a $52-million increase in funding from Congress for 2012, with the boost primarily devoted to building a museum on the National Mall devoted to black history. (Los Angeles Times)

Hoop dreams: Producers have found the actor to play Earvin "Magic" Johnson in the Broadway-bound play "Magic/Bird." (Playbill)

Meeting of the minds: An international cultural summit will be held during the next Edinburgh International Festival. (The Stage UK)

More is more: New York is getting another international theater festival. (New York Times)

Back to the stage: Christina Ricci will appear in a New York production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," opposite Bebe Neuwirth. (Broadway World)

Donation: The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore has received a gift of 260 objects of enameled Russian silver. (Baltimore Sun)

Reprising her role: Elizabeth Marvel, who starred in the off-Broadway production of "Other Desert Cities," will return to the play in its Broadway incarnation in March to replace Rachel Griffiths. (Theatermania)

Passings: Gene Summers, the modernist architect, has died at age 83; Heidi Helen Davis, an actress, acting teacher and stage director who had a long association with the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum has died at age 60.

Also in the L.A. Times: An appreciation of the late playwright and former Czech president Vaclav Havel.

-- David Ng

Photo: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly argues a call with an umpire in July. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times


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