New York Festival of Song will mark its seventh annual co-presentation with Juilliard and its ongoing collaboration with Juilliard choreographer/dance instructor Jeanne Slater with a program titled INVITATION TO THE DANCE to be performed on Wednesday, January 18 at 8:00PM in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Juilliard.
Jeanne Slater, whose musical staging has added luster to so many previous NYFOS productions, joins NYFOS artistic director and Juilliard faculty member Steven Blier in directing a program that celebrates both songs about dancing (Brahms, Sellars, Rodgers) and songs with dancing (Gershwin, Harry Warren, others). Joining Steven Blier on piano is NYFOS Associate Artistic Director Michael Barrett, while the evening also includes Juilliard percussionist Andrew Stenvall and nine singers from the Juilliard Vocal Arts program.
The cast of singers will include: sopranos Simone Easthope and Karen Vuong; mezzo-sopranos Elizabeth Sutphen and Rachael Wilson; tenors Kyle Bielfield, Nathan Haller, and Miles Mykkanen; baritone Tobias Greenhalgh; and bass-baritone Leo Radosavljevic.
Steven Blier came up with the idea of doing an entire dance-based program with choreographer Jeanne Slater after collaborating with her on past NYFOS@Juilliard programs.
“I was watching Jeanne Slater work her magic last year on a cast of nine people,” Blier remembers, “devising complicated choreography over the course of three days in a comparatively limited space (my living room) and thought: ‘Why don’t we set Jeanne loose on a whole program—and give her some real time and space?’”
The “Invitation to the Dance” program features both well-known songs and rare gems, ranging from Irving Berlin and Stephen Sondheim to Johannes Brahms and Carlos Gardel. Blier remarks, “I feel I was put on this earth to play Gershwin and Latin-American song, and I’ve got some of each on this show. I am ending Act I with a published but unused song written for Shall We Dance called ‘Wake Up Brother and Dance.’ It has that Gershwin combo of high-level pizzazz and an underlying melancholy (very close to my own personality)—plus a rhumba rhythm. I also lose myself in a song by André Previn, a waltz he wrote for a 1973 London musical; it’s called ‘The Dance of Life’ and it too seems to have been written straight from my soul.”
FREE tickets for “Invitation To The Dance” will be available beginning January 4, 2012 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard, located in the lobby of Juilliard at 155 West 65th Street. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or visit Juilliard’s Web site at www.juilliard.edu.
Program for INVITATION TO THE DANCE
Ann Hampton Callaway: Two and Four
Richard Rodgers: Dancing on the Ceiling
Harry Warren: Shoes with Wings On
Irving Berlin: Change Partners
George Gershwin: I’d Rather Charleston
JAMES SELLARS: Kissing Songs
Tango – Interlude—Slow-Fox—Interlude—Two-Step
Stephen Sondheim: Can That Boy Foxtrot
HERMAnn HuPFELD: Der Onkel Bumba
(arr. Comedian Harmonists)
George Gershwin: Wake Up Brother and Dance
JOHANNES BRAHMS: from the Liebeslieder and Neue Liebeslieder Waltzes
Rede, Mädchen, allzu liebes
Ein kleiner, hübscher Vogel
Vögelein durchrauscht die Luft
Sieh, wie ist die Welle klar
Nachtigall, sie singt so schön
Irving Berlin: Choreography