After the dozens of names enlisted for the Kennedy Center’s 2012-2013 season were announced, the Style critics and staff took a closer look.
Sarah Kaufman, the Post dance critic, and Nelson Pressley, one of the Post theater reporters, heard all the announcements, saw a puppet/horse from “War Horse” trot across the stage and had some observations.
Kaufman noted the roots of “Nutcracker” by Ballet West, part of next year’s ballet programs.
“An unfamiliar ‘Nutcracker’ arrives courtesy of Ballet West, the Salt Lake City company we’ve seen little of here. This company performs a vintage version of the holiday staple, created in 1944 by William Christensen — this was the first American production of the ballet.
“It’s a link back to ballet’s early history in this country: Christensen created the work for the San Francisco Ballet, the oldest company in the nation (which will also perform here next season, bringing ‘Romeo and Juliet’). A few years later he moved to Utah and established the company that eventually became Ballet West. Ballet West’s current director, Adam Sklute, has restored lost scenes to the Christensen ‘Nutcracker,’” said Kaufman.
Pressley said familiar connections are driving several projects.
“Gregory Mosher (“The Glass Menagerie” with Sally Field) returns in May 2013 to direct Ferenc Molnar’s early 20th Century comedy “The Guardsman.” This was the first vehicle for the famous acting couple Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. (No word yet on Mosher’s casting; the Kennedy Center is producing the show.)
“Garry Hynes and Ireland’s Druid Theatre will be back for four days only this October with three plays by celebrated Irish playwright Tom Murphy.
“For die-hard musical buffs and maybe “American Idol” fanatics, a rarity: a one-week November stand in the Opera House for a new production, touring and aiming for Broadway, of Frank Wildhorn’s “Jekyll & Hyde,” starring Constantine Maroulis,” said Pressley.
Oh, the horse!
As Kennedy Center president Michael M. Kaiser was unveiling the center’s next season, he was upstaged — by a 7-foot horse from “War Horse,” the award-winning play.
And both their timing was impeccable, as you would expect at the nation’s official performing arts center. Just as he announced the title, a loud neigh and galloping feet could be heard charging into the Family Theater. The horse, actually a puppet manned by three people, nuzzled several audience members before trotting onto the stage. Kaiser gamely held out his hand, and the horse roared and left.
The audience, mostly center’s employees, roared back, appreciative no doubt of the break in the speed-reciting names of hundreds of performers by Kaiser.
The next international festival will be “Nordic Cool 2013” in February and March with a broad spectrum of arts from performers who may not be familiar in the United States.
Bring on the lingonberries!
Anne Midgette, the classical music critic, reviewed the news on her blog, The Classical Beat. Read: “Kennedy Center 2012-13.” Also, Midgette looked at the National Philharmonic’s upcoming season. Read: “More season announcements: The National Philharmonic.”