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‘Carousel’ Revival to Credit Agnes de Mille’s Original Choreography

‘Carousel’ Revival to Credit Agnes de Mille’s Original Choreography


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Multiple exposure of the choreographer Agnes deMille.

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Gjon Mili/The Life Picture Collection, via Getty Images

This spring’s Broadway revival of “Carousel” is revising its program after champions of the show’s original choreographer, Agnes de Mille, objected to her absence from the Playbill.

Ms. de Mille’s work on the original production, in 1945, is considered an important development in the history of musical theater, advancing the use of narrative dance fully integrated into a show’s storytelling. And before her death in 1993, she reached an agreement with the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, which owns the rights to her work on “Carousel” and “Oklahoma,” under which her authorship would be acknowledged in future productions.

But the current production has its own choreographer, the acclaimed ballet designer Justin Peck, who has said that he celebrates and studied Ms. de Mille’s work, but who created his own dances for the new show. And the producer of the revival, Scott Rudin, said via a spokesman that he was initially unaware of any commitment to Ms. de Mille.

“The producers of ‘Carousel’ were not made aware by Rodgers & Hammerstein of any contractual obligation that R & H had to credit Agnes de Mille for her work on the original production,” wrote Rick Miramontez, a spokesman for the production. “Once the producers were informed of R & H’s inadvertent and accidental omission of its credit obligation to Ms. De Mille, she was provided with a credit for her original choreography that was worked out between the producers and the R & H estate.”

The “Carousel” revival is currently in previews, and is scheduled to open April 12 at the Imperial Theater. The show’s current Playbill does not mention Ms. de Mille; starting next week, a new batch of Playbills is expected to credit her in the listings of cast and crew.

The head of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, Theodore S. Chapin, declined to comment. But Ms. de Mille’s son, Jonathan Prude, said he had been “disappointed” by the initial lack of credit for his mother’s work.



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