Articles by Mari S. Gold
Technically The Hello Girls were the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit, telephone switchboard operators who were sworn into the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I. The corps was formed in 1917 by General John Pershing in hopes of improving the state of communications on the Western front. Over 7,000 women applied but only 230 of them, many former switchboard operators, all bilingual, actually went to France.
Both “Imprint Ghosts” and “Menagerie” were world premieres. “Menagerie,” the second piece, is described as a “strange or diverse collection of people or things in a household unit.” It was also said to be made for 6 dancers; 5 roses, 4 FREEDAS, 3 hundred unicorns, 2 co-creators and 1 home. I have no idea what a FREEDA is nor, beyond the dancers, did I see any of the other items. What I observed was a self-indulgent work with a group of dancers in black lace tops moved around with devices that vaguely resembled ironing boards and metal poles. I feared for their safety—might the man who thrust his head through the “machine” get stuck?
The Dessoff’s core group of about forty singers was in great form, presenting a short work by Bach followed by William Shuman’s Carols of Death and then As Adam Early in the Morning, a world premiere by Douglas Geers as the first half of the program. The second half consisted of Messa di Requiem, composed in 1923, by Ildelbrando Pizzetti.
A visit to the Guggenheim Museum usually involves walking up or down (I vote for top down) the winding ramp viewing art. Last night spectators lined the ramps to watch Michelle Dorrance and a group of black-clad performers push wooden platforms across the floor and make sounds by hitting the top of the ramp with sticks—sticks that made sounds but nonetheless sticks.
If you’re going to take a tour of Broadway musical theater numbers, you could find no better guide than Sean Hartley. Hartley, the host of the performance, is the director of the Theater@Kaufman, the musical theater division of Kaufman Music Center. He knows the history and entertaining ins and outs of the genre and presented them with insight and wit. On top of that, he can sing as he ably demonstrated in Anyone Can Whistle from the show of that name by Stephen Sondheim.
The Yeoman of the Guard
New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players
The Kaye Playhouse
October 28, 2018
I Have a Song to Sing,O!
Yeoman of the Guard is often heralded as one of W.S. Gilbert’s finest scores with its …
As part of ABT’s Women’s Movement, an ongoing initiative to support the creation, exploration and staging of new works by female choreographers, the first ballet of this matinee performance was Le Jeune, choreographed by Lauren Lovette. Ten dancers from the ABT apprentice group and the ABT Studio Company danced the ten-minute long work displaying some of their considerable abilities. The arabesques, turns and lifts were lovely if not inspiring, as were the young performers. However, the music, Equus by Eric Whitacre, is awful—bombastic with many switches of rhythm that go nowhere. Lovette is credited with “costume concept” which sounds like she thought of dressing the women in pink with belts and the boys in black—again, perfectly fine but hardly revolutionary. Still, the dancers were lively, energetic and full of promise.
Emilie du Châtelet was born in Paris in 1706, in an era when women were raised to be ornamental wives and mothers. Luckily for her and for the ages, she was educated by her father, a high official in the court of Louis XIV, and showed a strong interest in and an aptitude for science and mathematics at a young age. The play centers on the difficulties of being a woman intellectual in a time when being a wife—and often a mistress—were what counted. We see Ėmilie and Voltaire, her lover, in various situations as well as Ėmilie and her husband, the Marquis du Châtelet, who was conveniently absent a great deal of the time due to his position in the French army. Ėmilie also dallies with Pierre-Louis Maupertius, in actuality a scholar although portrayed here as a young courtier.