This short film captures an extraordinary and moving performance of Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a tribute to the future of the city that New York City Ballet calls home.
It seemed preordained that Robert Fairchild would one day play Jerry Mulligan, the World War II vet and expat artist portrayed by Gene Kelly in the 1951 film An American in Paris. “Without Gene Kelly, I wouldn’t be dancing,” says Fairchild, a principal at New York City Ballet. “In Singin’ in the Rain—my God, he’s incredible. I saw An American in Paris later on, and it’s the same magic.” Onstage, Fairchild—who started out doing jazz and tap before following his sister to ballet class—strongly calls to mind the Hollywood legend. “He’s handsome, slightly cheeky,” and has a “nonchalant, casual ease,” says Christopher Wheeldon
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in rehearsal (The Royal Ballet)
As well as sections featuring the cast being coached through sections of Christopher Wheeldon’s modern classic, the livestream will also offer a closer look at the many props and puppets that bring Wonderland to life. The event will be presented by Royal Ballet Principal Alexander Campbell.
Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland burst onto the stage in 2011 in an explosion of colour, stage magic and inventive, sophisticated choreography. Joby Talbot’s score combines contemporary soundworlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century. Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative, eye-popping designs draw on everything from puppetry to projections to make Wonderland wonderfully real.
Alice encounters a cast of extraordinary and instantly recognizable characters, from the highly strung Queen of Hearts – who performs a hilarious send-up of The Sleeping Beauty’s famous Rose Adage – to a playing card corps de ballet, a sinuous caterpillar and a tap-dancing Mad Hatter. But the ballet does not avoid the darker undercurrents of Lewis Carroll’s story: a nightmarish kitchen, an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat and the unhinged tea party are all here in vivid detail. The delicious result shows The Royal Ballet at its best, bringing together world-class dance with enchanting family entertainment.
andymientus: You guys, we need to talk about An American in Paris. I saw it on Broadway and loved it and just saw it again on tour and I’m freaking out. It is so, so excellent. Adult, sophisticated, moving. I love it because it takes its audience seriously and trusts them to handle REAL dance, REAL scenes, REAL conflict without pandering. That act 2 ballet is so thrilling and so unlike anything I’d expect from a musical based on a movie with a preexisting score. We all know @RySteele is one of the best dancers on Bway but turns out he’s also a beautiful actor and singer who can 100% lead a show. Wow.
And there is no greater joy than seeing an old friend be perfect in a role that’s perfect for him. @etaibenson killed me and everyone else.
I was totally transported by this company and wept openly several times. The message is so relevant. It’s everything I love about musicals.
Please let Christopher Wheeldon direct as many musicals as he pleases.