"Tough luck, duck!” the narrator drawled amid the cheerful hullabaloo of choreographer Robyn Gardenhire’s family-friendly 1960s-retro ballet, “Peter and the Wolf Jump Cool,” which opened the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre’s 17th summer season on Saturday night. Seated on a high perch smartly clad in emerald-green, actress Sloan Robinson read her own scripted version of the children’s fable, her witty words interwoven with jazz composer/arranger Oliver Nelson’s 1966 adaptation of Prokofiev’s beloved score.
The Duck in question -- and she’s no swan as played by City Ballet of Los Angeles dancer Perris McCracken -- paraded her long legs on pointe shoes that accentuated the pouf of feathers saucily cushioning her derriere. The plucky duck has fallen for the considerable charms of a big, bad London swinger named Wolfie (Gary Franco), accessorized with peace-sign neck medallion and Austin Powers spectacles. But in Gardenhire’s winsome view of Peter and his feathery friends, ballet birds flap happily ever after. They’re empowered; it’s the '60s embellished by a “you go, girl!”
The ballet’s boisterously fun disco-party scene had go-go girls doing the monkey and the jerk in groovy jumpsuits and rainbow-colored Afro wigs. In fluttered Bird (Ellen Rosa), dressed adorably in a Catholic schoolgirl miniskirt (also poufed by feathers) and knee-high socks, a scrumptious costume finished by a single tapered feather topping her bird-hunter’s chapeau.