Nietzsche said: ‘And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music’.
If it’s dance you love, then hurry to the Old Globe Theatre and catch Tony Award winning choreographer /director Christopher Gattelli’s (co-conceived by Jennifer Manocherian) dance/theatre piece ‘In Your Arms’. Stephen Flaherty wrote the score and whatever lyrics there are, were written by Lynn Ahrens. (In Your Arms… ‘Star-crossed lovers dance. The music of time leading us on, here in your arms and then is gone. Joy and regret, dances I’ll never forget. Will you, love?’)
While the concept of an all dance show (think ‘A Chorus Line’) with Donna McKechnie bookending the title song is not a new one, this one is brand spanking new. It is making its world premiere on the Donald and Darlene Shiley stage through Oct. 25th.
Twelve vignettes composed by some of your most favorite theatre legends make up this program. Names like Lynn Ahrens, Alfred Uhry, Lynn Nottage, Douglas Carter Bean, Marsha Norman, Davis Henry Hwang, Terrance McNally, (‘Master Class’) Carrie Fisher, Rajiv Joseph and Christopher Durang penned the stories as a troupe of about 22 of the most gorgeous and talented dancers perform. With few exceptions, little to no dialogue is spoken.
The dance stories, most about love and romance, segue almost effortlessly on Derek McLane’s busy set with a wall filled with love notes from former lovers placed here and there. Donald Holder’s lighting design is crisp and projections by Olivia Sebesky change the scenes giving the appearance of different locations. The prologue begins with a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ ballet performed by Spencer Clark and Lyrica Woodruff and ends with ‘Sand Dancing’ by Terrence McNally and a cameo appearance by George Chakiris. (‘West Side Story’)
There is a fiery Flamingo Number by Nilo Cruz, The Jacket starring Glenda Sol Koereaus and Oscar Valero with Henry Byalikov and company that’s pretty sexy and alluring about love lost and love found. Jess Goldstein designed all the costumes and they are perfectly suited to each occasion.
A Wedding Dance by LynnNottage and starring Marija Juliette Abney and Adesola Osakalumi and company begins as a beautiful African wedding union and follows the couple through their journey to distant lands where they become immigrants and the unimaginable happens to both when they leave their familiar settings.
Two of the pieces are fun to watch. Lowdown Messy Shame by Carrie Fisher played by Jenn Harris playing Carrie Fisher is a hoot. Looking like she just landed her starship, she is a troubled writer struggling to write a dance musical? while the players act them out as she writes with one exception, they go off on their own ignoring her notes. It’s a Paris setting with ballet dancers, artists and models and a little guy looking very much like the ‘little tramp. In the middle of all this she gets a phone call from none other than her mother (remember her? Debbie Reynolds?) That distraction sets into motion the players just doing their own thing.
Uhry’s Love With The Top Down brings us to a pair of young lovers presumably on their first date and wondering who kisses who first, They break out into a rousing jitterbug after a back seat tryst. Another pair of highly talented and spirited dancers, Haley Podschun and Brendon Stimson dance up a storm. And if you missed White Snake earlier this year you will be able to get a snippet of David Henry Hwang’s beautiful costumes and bit of some martial arts dancing.
There is so much more to see, so much more to embrace. ‘In Your Arms’ is more of a visual fest, words alone cannot do it justice. This is one production that has to be seen to appreciate. Director/choreographer Gattelli along with music director Steven Malone and his orchestra make this dance theatre night one that ‘you could have…well ‘danced all night and still have begged for more’.
See you at the theatre.
Dates: Through October 25th
Organization: The Old Globe
Production Type: Dance
Where: Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way
Ticket Prices: Start at $36.00
Venue: Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage