NYC Ballet Fans, part 2

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Marge_Simpson, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    The old thread was over a year old, so I've started a new one.

    I saw NYCB's "Midsummer Night's Dream" on Friday, what a treat! The music is lovely, the children were charming.
    Maria Kowrowski was perfection as Titania. She reminds me of a cat, with her long limbs. Did you ever see a kitty awaken from a nap and s-t-r-e-t-c-h all his legs as far as they go for the pure pleasure of it? That's what Maria made me think of, with her amazing extensions. Andrew Veyette was a handsome, courtly Oberon. He was clearly in love with Titania, but exasperated at her refusal to see things his way. His line, extension, speed, were all wonderful.
    Sean Suozzi blew me away as Puck. His jumps! His height! His naughty expression. Sean is quite tall and did beautifully with this....hint, hint, ABT! Puck is not just for short guys.
    I mentally groaned when I opened my program and saw that Ask la Cour was doing Demetrious. What could this blah blondie pup possibly do with a role that calls for comedy and a facial expression other than boredom? I was stunned. He has a sense of humor after all! He played Demetrious as a clueless nerd and later, as a goofy groom who'd been struck by a lightning bolt.. He actually looked like he was enjoying himself on stage.
    Taylor Stanley, still in the corps, was a hysterically funny Bottom.
    Savannah Lowery always makes me do a double take, as many times as I've seen her...she bears an uncanny resemblance to my sister-in-law. At least from the neck up. She was a totally fierce Hippolyta, with wicked fouettes.
    Act II was fab. Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle were on fire. Tyler Angle strikes me as the Marcelo Gomes of NYCB....his partnering is first-rate, and he makes every lady he dances with look good. (Not that Tiler needs help to look good, of course!) Plus, he is so charismatic, your eyes are invariably drawn to him, even when he is not calling attention to himself.
    I won't mention any names, but several guys in the corps need to stop hitting up the gelato booth on the plaza, and head for the salad bar instead. :lol:

    BTW, I went to Magnolia bakery beforehand, as I felt obligated to try their "Firebird" cupcake. Did someone who works there read my comment in the other thread? I had seen the cupcakes on Tuesday and was surprised they were not orange. emason was with me and can confirm that the cupcake we saw had white icing. Well, on Friday it was orange. The cake is orange date, with orange buttercream frosting. And it was gooooooood. I can also verify that the crepe place across the street has excellent stuff, I had one of their savory crepes for dinner.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  2. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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  3. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    I went to Kevin's 20th anniversary thing tonight and had an excellent time....at least before the intermission.:lol:
    Alexei Ratmansky came onstage and spoke very briefly, then there was a short film, clips of Kevin talking about his life in ballet and how he came to be the AD of ABT, interspersed with clips from the dancers and lots of photos of Kevin as a kid and a dancer.
    The first piece, "Triptych" was choreographed by Marcelo Gomes and danced by Paloma Herrera, Veronica Part and Xiomara Reyes, in purple leotards. They had live accompaniment onstage to Handel's "passacaglia for violin and cello". It was quirky, modern and quick. I thought Veronica would be the weakest link here because this hardly seemed like her sort of thing, but she seemed the strongest of the 3. Paloma tried to pull Gomes out of the wings on the curtain call, but someone brought the curtain down too quickly.
    Next up was the "Cruel World" pdd, Kudelka originally made this for Julie Kent and Robert Hill. I love this piece. Julie danced with Marcelo and it was total perfection.
    Then there was another short film, "Heartfelt Wishes". Monica Mason (RB), Danilo Radojevic (Australian Ballet), Ben Stevenson (Texas Ballet Theatre), Glenn Edgerton (Hubbard Street Dance), Ted Brandsen (Het Nationale Ballet),
    Helgi Tomasson (SFB), Jiri Kylian, John Nemaier, Karen Kain, Stanton Welch (Houston Ballet), Mark Morris, Peter Martins, Julio Bocca, Nina Ananiashvili, Natalia Makarova, Frederic Franklin and Victor Barbee all spoke a few words and congratulated him. Jiri Kylian's clip was the funniest; they filmed him as he was riding a bicycle - which (supposedly) crashed into a car, then continued with him bandaged and in the hospital. Nina did a cute bit with her young students in Georgia saying "congratulations" and Natalia's showed photos of her dancing R&J with Kevin.
    Next was "Thirteen Diversions", I was rather peeved because I was expecting to see Alex Hammoudi and Simone Messmer; they were replaced by Devon Teuscher and Daniel Mantei. The other lead couples were Sarah Lane & Craig Salstein, Gillian Murphy & David Hallberg, and Hee Seo & Gray Davis.
    Hee and Gray were gorgeous together. When I reviewed her "Giselle" I facetiously said I though she must have had her wristbones surgically removed but if you see her dance, watch her hands. She makes the most beautiful, supple shapes with them. David seemed to be having an off night, he was very bland, and Gillian looked like a whiplash victim compared to Hee.

    Seen at intermission : Kevin and Martine (in a beautiful coral colored dress) Alessandra Ferri, Peter Martins, Flavio Salazar, Carlos Lopez (SO adorable :swoon:) Michael Trusnovac & Robert Kleinendorst (Paul Taylor Dance co)

    The main reason I came out tonight was to see Misty Copeland in Ratmansky's "Firebird". Was it supposed to be a comedy? :rolleyes: If I had known what I was going to see I would have had a few drinks and laughed my head off, but all I kept thinking was WTF?
    Misty was the firebird, Herman Cornejo was Ivan, Maria Richetto was the maiden, and Roman Zhurbin was Kaschei.
    Here's the plot: Herman wakes up from a nap, does a few leaps, and walks through a door (was that supposed to be symbolic?) into the haunted forest. Which is very sinister looking and populated by phallic-looking trees. Suddenly a whole troupe of male and female firebirds rush in and do a frenzied dance, reminiscent of the "chicken dance" in La Fille Mal Garde. Then Misty came in. What's up with that? There is supposed to be ONE firebird. Not a whole flock. The costumes reminded me of roosters and I kept expecting to hear them crow "cock-a-doodle-doo" Herman decided he wanted Misty and snatched her away from the rest of the flock, who scampered off and left them to their own devices. They did an awkward pdd, Misty's toe shoe came close to wacking him in the head more than once. Misty gives him a feather and runs off, then he runs off too.
    Next, a gaggle of green haired ladies arrive. They reminded me quite a bit of the trolls in the RDB's "A Folk Tale" that I saw last year in DC. (They didn't have hairy legs, though) Clearly they liked to booze it up, they did a drunken troll dance. led by the head troll lady, Maria Richetto. Herman came back on, took one look at Maria, and decided he was in love. Misty must have whacked him in the head backstage and concussed him, why else would he fall for a tipsy troll?
    They did an insane trollish pdd, then Maria fed him an apple. (more symbolism?)
    Roman came out in his Kaschei getup. He looked like he was on his way to Danceteria, circa 1982: green mohawk, long black frockcoat, and goth makeup. The troll ladies fell to the floor and had convulsions when they saw him.
    He spied Herman and blew smoke in his face. (I am NOT making this up)
    Instead of making a break for it while Kaschei was charming the other ladies, Herman and Maria did another pdd.
    Roman decided to show Herman who was the boss and beat him to a pulp, but then Misty showed up and they all did a demented pas de quatre.
    Misty showed Herman the egg, Herman cracked it, and the troll ladies turned into platinum blondes. Then the trees opened up and a bunch of men came out wearing white suits. (I HOPE this was not some symbolic thing and meant they were coming out of the closet) They all did a happy dance. The end.

    I'm going to the matinee tomorrow, because I must see Gomes do "Apollo". I'm getting Firebird again, but forewarned is forearmed: I will have an alcoholic beverage with my lunch. I'm hoping this might grow on me, but I'm not counting on it. It's just too bizarre.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
  4. MorganaLefay

    MorganaLefay Active Member

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    Hey Marge, I saw the Firebird last night, and I thought it was a spoof as well:) However, I had the benefit of the best Firebird ever--Osipova, who literally flew, so I was a happy camper despite all choreographic oddities. Overall, a highly entertaining piece. I have tix to Vishneva's R/J for Friday but I may not be able to get out from work.
     
  5. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    Today's Firebird was a hoot, because I have cracked (yes, CRACKED, hehe ;)) the secret meaning to Ratmanksy's "Firebird". Yes, I, Marge Simpson, have figured out all the symbolism, and offer the following summary for your edification:
    Ivan is not a prince or a royal person or anything of the sort; and he is not dressed in white because he aspires to be an Elvis impersonator. He is dressed in white because he represents the medical profession, he has just received his masters degree in social work. He crosses himself before going through the door to remind himself of his Hippocratic oath and because he will need all the help he can get, trying to help the wayward addicts. Yes, addicts. Why does he go through a door? Forests do not have doors. But crackhouses do!
    The firebirds are not really firebirds, nor are they roosters as I imagined yesterday. They are turkeys, yes, they are COLD turkeys. They were once helplessly addicted but have now seen the light.
    The leader of the turkeys dances with him to remind him to stay firm and help the poor suffering crackheads, who are under the control of the Kaschei/ drug dealer.
    I was totally off the mark yesterday when I referred to troll ladies. Today I saw this plainly: they were not tipsy at all, they were stoned out of their heads. They are dressed in green to imitate the sallow, wasted appearance of crackheads. The ladies are not in the throes of epileptic seizures when Kaschei appears, no, they are suffering withdrawal pangs. Kaschei, of course, is a wicked drug dealer as well as an addict. He ghostly pallor, his green hair, all indicate how far gone he is. He does not merely blow smoke at Ivan, he is smoking a crack pipe. He wants Ivan to become an addict so he can gain another customer. But Ivan stands firm and vows to help the green haired ladies get clean and become self-supporting, tax-paying members of society. Yes!
    The firebird/head cold turkey comes back to help Ivan in his mission, but unfortunately the green ladies cannot get clean by cold turkey alone. But help is at hand! How silly I was to think that the egg was merely an egg. No, it is a giant methadone pill. Ivan breaks it, symbolizing the fact that he has "broken" the drugs' hold over the poor stringy-haired women.
    The ladies are saved! Their dresses change from green to white, symbolizing their pure transformation, they are now "clean". Men from nearby trees/crackhouses are inspired by the success of the ladies and become "clean" as well. They are all deleriously happy and vow never to get high on drugs again, they are all high on life!
     
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  6. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    Who is going to the Swan Lake matinee on Saturday? And who will join me for dinner aftrwards? :)

    Morgana, swap your R&J ticekt and come to the matinee on Wednesday - Hee Seo and Alex Hammoudi.
    And see if my prediction comes true - Alex will be promoted to soloist when the season is over.
     
  7. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Marge, I'm going and can do dinner. Anyone else?
     
  8. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    I'm in the 2nd ring sides, where are you sitting? I will look you up during the intermission.
     
  9. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    I'm in the 2nd ring center.
     
  10. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    I will come and find you. :)
     
  11. Nancy on SINY

    Nancy on SINY New Member

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    Hi Marge! It was great meeting you at last on Saturday after your Australian "Swan Lake" outing & I look forward to reading your review. I loved your writings on the ABT "Firebird" & will let you know my opinion after seeing it this coming Saturday along with "The Dream." I'm double dipping as I saw both Balanchine's classic "Firebird" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at NYC Ballet this season.
     
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  12. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

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    I can't wait to hear what you thought of "Swan Lake", Marge_Simpson -- according to Macaulay's review, Madeleine Eastoe -- who had a nice role in "Mao's Last Dancer" -- and Lucinda Dunn were Odette and Camilla von Rothbart. They were my two favorite women when I saw the company in Melbourne and Sydney in 2002 and 2004, and Dunn danced a beautiful Lise in Ashton's "La Fille mal gardee" in Seattle in 1994.
     
  13. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nancy, it was great meeting you. :)
    I was waiting for emason to post first about Swan Lake; but hey, I'll go first if she's being shy. Wow, wow, wow. We both adored it. Thanks to Kwanfan1818 for cluing me in about it being based on Diana/Charles/Camilla - knowing this, the storyline was perfectly clear.
    I have some more random stuff about the 2 mixed bills I saw. After I left the theatre on Tuesday evening (Kevin's gala) it was raining out; I hopped the subway rather than walk downtown to GCS. I boarded the #1 train and saw Sterling Baca and Eric Tamm, sitting down and crossing themselves. Well, I was intrigued...was one trying to get the other to repent his wicked ways and see the light, or were they religious fanatics in the habit of praying the rosary after a performance? I HAD to eavesdrop, so I moved down the car so I was standing right in front of them. Alas! Nothing so dramatic as my overactive imagination conjured up. They were discussing the opening bit from "The Firebird"
    Speaking of the "crossing" scene, I noticed that on both nights, Ivan crossed himself from left to right. Shouldn't it be from right to left, if it's taking place in Russia?
    I went to the matinee on Wednesday mainly to see Marcelo Gomes in "Apollo", not because I had a burning desire to see "Firebird" again. Oh my! I'd be hard-pressed to decide between this and "Onegin" as the finest thing I've seen ABT do this season.
    ABT's "Apollo" included the birthing scene, which always seems vaguely indecent to me. But when Gomes was unswaddled I felt quite faint. I thought it was a good thing I was already sitting down, because the sight of this man topless, in those white tights, was quite a sight to behold. He looks like a sculpture of a Greek god. :swoon: Apart from his good looks, his characterization was spot-on, and his dancing (of course) impeccable.
    Polina Semionova was Terpsichore, Devon Teuscher was Polyhmnia, Melanie Hamrick was Calliope.
    I thought Devon would be the weakest link here. She and Melanie are corps members, but Melanie has done many soloist parts, whereas the few solos I've seen Devon in are things like Lady Capulet, or somebody's maid.
    She was stunning...she had a regal stage presence that you HAD to take notice of. Polina was gorgeous...what is it about those beautiful arms of hers? They seem to float in the air independently of the rest of her.
    I almost enjoyed my second "Firebird", after I concocted an appropriate (but very demented) plot for it. Wednesday's cast was Alex Hammoudi as Ivan, Isabella Boylston as the firebird, Kristi Boone as the maiden, and Cory Stearns as Kaschei.
    Alex was wonderful...this guy can act as well as dance. His Ivan was nervous but determined, and a total charmer when he fell for the maiden. Isabella had a bad stumble when she entered and fell to her knees. I was afraid that things would go downhill from there, but this woman is FIERCE. She jumped right up as if it hadn't happened and totally attacked the role. Brava! Cory blew me away with his acting yet again. He always struck me as a rather bland actor, I changed my mind when he did the "ballet dancer" part in "Bright Stream". Who knew he could ham it up so well? On Wednesday he proved he could camp it up as well in his punky Kashei gear.......he looked like he was auditioning for the "Rocky Horror Picture Show". I had seen Roman Zhurbin do this the night before, but must admit that Cory was the better Kaschei.
    On Saturday afternoon, as emason and I were walking south, we passed Alex walking north. He is gorgeous.
    Okay, I need input: suggest something dumb that you will make me do if my prediction about him does not come true. Because I am certain he is going to be promoted.
    I will post more about the lovely Swan Lake tomorrow, including the story about the man sitting in front of me who brought his Yorkshire terrier to the theatre with him. I know you think I make these things up, but emason can confirm that I speak the truth. :lol:
     
  14. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

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    Thank you so much for this review!

    Polyhymnia's is the most difficult of the muse variations, especially those big turns that end in arabesque, with the finger against the lips making the "shushing" gesture: it's hard enough to stop the momentum and end with control when both arms are free, but one-arming pirouettes is a big deal.

    I look forward to hearing about "Swan Lake" :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  15. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

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    Now I'm extra bummed that I missed the Aussie Swan Lake! Darn it! :(
     
  16. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    I've 86ed my program and can no longer look anything up, but I believe Macauley is reviewing the Saturday night cast and we saw the alternate cast in the afternoon - Adam Bull, Amber Scott and someone else who's name I can't remember. Hopefully Marge can weigh in with the correct name.

    I loved it, absolutely loved it. Very little of the traditional choreo was used, but when it was, it was tweaked in interesting ways. The four cygnets choreo, especially, was reworked to great success and yet the bones of what you expected to see were still there.

    The whole idea of a genuine love triangle between fragile and unstable wife, husband, and cast-off mistress was great IMHO.

    Loved the costumes, which struck me as pseudo Edwardian, at least in the first act, and the sets. This was all such a pleasure in contrast to ABT's version, of which Marge and I are heartily sick.

    ETA: Found my program after all; Amber Scott was Odette, Lana Jones was the Baroness. I particularly liked Lana Jones.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  17. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    The flavor of this "Swan Lake" reminded me quite a bit of Eifman's ballets. I suspect that people who loathe his melodramatic style are the same ones who disliked this. OTOH, people like me who think the man is a genius probably were enchanted with this, too.
    Like Eifman, the original story was just a sort of starting point but got updated to another place and time. In "Red Giselle", for instance, the basic plot is there, but Eifman transported it to Russia and told the story of Olga Spessivtseva. I kept imagining what Eifman could do with Swan Lake...perhaps place it in the 19th century and tell the story of Tsar Alexander II and Catherine Dolgorukov?
    Another signature of Eifman's is the use of props, and there was quite a bit here as well. In the opening scene, a moveable curtain was used to great effect, and in the wedding scene, "Diana's" long train became an integral part of the pdd with "Charles".
    Another similarity was the original, difficult lifts...I've often felt that ice dancers in need of some inspiration should watch Eifman's ballets for some intriguing lifts.
    The 3 main characters were all sympathetic. "Diana" was a naive young bride, madly in love with "Charles" and utterly devastated when she discovered his heart belonged to another. "Charles" felt trapped and unable to see his way out - in love with one woman, but forced to marry another. "Camilla" could have been just a cliche of a bitchy, vindictive mistress, but was not. She truly loved her man and was desperate to keep him close. I was especially taken with the solo she did to the Russian dance. Interesting that the Baroness Von Rothbart danced to the same music that McKenzie gave to Von Rothbart. Having Von Rothbart dance to this has always irked me, but I think it was really effective here.
    Act III takes place at a party given by Charles and Camilla. It was obvious that Diana was going to burst on the scene, it had been so pointedly set up. But I found it very clever, nonetheless: the "white" swan crashing the party given by the "black" swan.
    Diana, Charles and Camilla are the 3 people present at the ending (as opposed to Odette, the prince, and Von Rothbart) I was curious to know which of the 3 would commit suicide; it seemed to me it would make perfect sense for any of them to chose that way out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  18. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

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    Many thanks, emason and Marge_Simpson. I love the company and wish I could have seen it.
     
  19. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    I'm very glad I didn't pass up the opportunity to see this. It's a reimagining/updating that really works; there was a brain behind this.

    I was dead center of the first row in the 2nd Ring and during the curtain calls I leaned over to look down into the Orchestra level. The entire audience was standing and screaming and yelling. This was definitely a hit with the ticket-buyers, if not with Macauley.
     
  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

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    I think with the critics as a whole so far: the Post didn't like it, either, and I'm waiting to read Marisa Harss' take.
     
  21. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Ditto for me.
    Thanks for sharing your impressions with us.
     
  22. Nancy on SINY

    Nancy on SINY New Member

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    I also want to add my thanks to Marge & emason for taking the time to share their recent ballet going experiences with the rest of us. Most interesting posts. Marge, I've thought of another reason why ABT's "Firebird" might have a whole flock of red birds that you state look like roosters when other companies get by with only one magical red bird - it's product placement for the Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem.
     
  23. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Good thing I wasn't drinking Coke when I read this, or you would owe me a new computer screen. I told Marge you had a wicked sense of humor; now I think she will believe me.
     
  24. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    I never explained about the Yorkshire terrier. Further proof that loons gravitate to matinee performances!
    I was sitting in the side seats; right after Act I began I heard an annoying jingling sound coming from the seat ahead of me, like a woman wearing too many bangle bracelets. But the person in the seat was clearly a man. A few minutes later I heard, "aarf, aarf" and saw a Yorkie sitting at his feet. WTF? Since when are you allowed to bring a pet to the theatre? I loathe dogs, but I would have just rolled my eyes if the dog wasn't making noise.
    At the intermission I went over to the usher, who was already being harrassed by another woman, demanding to know why there was a dog in the theatre. The usher said she'd sent for her supervisor to deal with the situation.
    Fine, I went to find emason and gush about how wonderful Act I had been.
    I went back to my seat and the dog was still there! I went to the usher again, and she said she couldn't evict the dog, because it was a therapy dog and the man had a card to prove it.
    Therapy dog, my a$$. Who needs a therapy dog to attend a ballet? I could understand if a blind person brought a seeing-eye dog to the symphony. But a Yorkie at a ballet? At the next intermission I told emason I was going to buy a goat and bring it to a ballet, claiming it was my therapy goat.
    If the dog had gone berserk and chewed off someone's foot, wouldn't the theatre be liable?
     
  25. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    Red Rooster, hmm?
    I'm visualizing another plot now. Ivan wears white because he is a sous chef at a renowned bistro, and sets off to find the plumpest, juiciest chickens to turn into spicy wings and thighs. He is warned off by the red roosters, who are sworn to protect their mates from being turned into extra-crispy dinners. The ladies in green are vegan goddesses, named, naturally for their famous "Green Goddess" salad dressing, as well as being PETA activists. Katchei is an evil poultry farmer who has a vested interest in keeping the PETA ladies from picketing his chicken coops. Ivan vows to help the ladies spread the vegetarian cause but Katchei has other ideas and tries to beat him up. The head turkey appears and shows Ivan where the giant tofu cake is kept. He feeds tofu to Katchei and they all swear to go vegan and become broccoli farmers. :lol:

    If anyone is going to tomorrow's matinee and wants to join emason and me for dinner afterwards, just say the word.

    BTW, doesn't anyone want to propose something idiotic for me to do if my prediction fails to come true?
     
  26. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

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    Well, since Ballet West got the reality show, maybe Ivan is supposed to represent Gordon Ramsey.
     
  27. Nancy on SINY

    Nancy on SINY New Member

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    Marge, loved your alternate version of a new storyline for ABT's "Firebird." Also loved your doggie at the ballet story. As for me, on Saturday at ABT some little kid in the orchestra started wailing at the climax of the balcony scene in "Romeo & Juliet." Sure broke the spell. Ms. emason long has believed that wherever she sits at a performance the talkers, crazies, coughers, crinkly candy wrapper people etc. etc. will find her. Perhaps you share the same bad luck.
     
  28. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    If there is going to be a disturbance at a performance of Swan Lake, I can tell you exactly when it will occur: at the beginning of the white swan pdd, when only the harp is playing. :lol:

    emason, where are we supposed to meet on Wednesday during the intermission?
    I was thinking of going to the stage door afterwards, because I have a picture of Hee Seo that I would love to get autographed. (and a present for her if she signs it. :) )
     
  29. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    I'm in the Dress Circle, so come up to that level, please, if you want to meet at intermission. Otherwise, please pick a spot to meet after, as I must admit I don't know where the stage door is.

    As to talkers, Ms. Nancy is correct; they always find me. Haven't experienced a yapping dog though.
     
  30. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    I'll do my best to get up there. If not, right outside the main entrance afterwards. :)