Month: February 2018

Musicals and New York

I wrote a meditation on this theme for the new annual journal, Musical Theater Today, which came out last year. Working on the Robbins exhibition non-stop makes me think about all this all over again.

SEEING A CITY
Edgar Allan Poe saw crowds. The French poet Baudelaire saw the flâneur, a wandering observer. The dancer, choreographer, and director Jerome Robbins saw alienation. As a young, ambitious man in New York, Robbins wrote drafts and drafts of possible scenarios for the stage. All of them are about struggle. Young artists, full of dreams and anxiety, squeezed in two rooms in a brownstone in the west ’50s. A man asking for money on the subway to feed his family. Another homeless man pinched awake by a hard squeeze on his finger by a merciless cop. A woman hurrying past men huddled on the side of the building, their gazes searing her legs, thighs, and buttocks. Read more…

Voice of My City: Jerome Robbins and New York

In the ballets Fancy Free, Age of Anxiety, and Glass Pieces, and especially the musical and film West Side Story, the choreographer and director Jerome Robbins created indelible images of New York. This exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of his birthday and charts his insatiable quest to understand, depict, and belong in the city—his home and his muse.

Opening at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in September 2018; photo NY Export: Opus Jazz (NYCB)

Paramodernities #5 (Fosse)

Dancer/choreographer Netta Yerushalmy’s Paramodernities is an experimental project that bridges dance, critical theory, performance, aesthetics, and history. Julia Foulkes joins Yerushalmy’s project as the writer/speaker on the installment on Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity. Fosse created an iconic style–of turned-in feet, cocked hat, and jazz hands–and that style circulated through Broadway and Hollywood and lives on in music videos. The style also illuminated the edges of modernism, poised between high art and abstraction and commercial popular culture.

Live Feed In-Process performance at New York Live Arts, May 11-12, 2018 (more info here). World premiere of Paramodernities at Jacob’s Pillow, August 8-12, 2018 (more info here). Photo: Paramodernities #3 (Ailey).