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ABT News

January 31, 2017

Casting Announced for Segerstrom Center's World Premiere of ABT's New Production of Whipped Cream

Choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky to Music by Richard Strauss
Designed by Mark Ryden

March 15 - 19, 2017 in Segerstrom Hall; tickets on sale now

Stella Abrera as Princess Tea Flower in Whipped Cream.

COSTA MESA, CA – Segerstrom Center for the Arts will present the World Premiere of American Ballet Theatre’s new production of Whipped Cream, choreographed by ABT Artist in Residence  Alexei Ratmansky, with sets and costumes by pop-surrealist  Mark Ryden. ABT will give seven performances of the full-length work March 15-19, 2017 in Segerstrom Hall. Whipped Cream is based on Schlagobers, a two-act ballet with libretto and score by  Richard Strauss that was first performed at the Vienna State Opera in 1924. The opening night principal cast includes:  Daniil Simkin (The Boy);  Stella Abrera (Princess Tea Flower);  David Hallberg (Prince Coffee) and  Sarah Lane (Princess Praline).

“I am particularly excited for audiences to experience Strauss’ music in this ballet, Whipped Cream. There is real craziness in this score which inspired me to approach the pop surrealist Mark Ryden,” said Ratmansky. “He is creating an incredible world that is a little scary, full of weird details and super precise. His technique is astounding, and I am matching him with my own tiny choreographic details.”

A dollop of delightful whimsy, this thoroughly inventive full-length premiere tells the story of a young boy who overindulges at a Viennese pastry shop and falls into a delirium. To help him escape from his attending physician, the boy dreams of his triumphant rescue by Princess Praline and her court, replete with Princess Tea Flower, Prince Coffee as well as marching Marzipan, concluding in a festive celebration! As light as meringue, Richard Strauss’ score is the perfect inspiration for this all-new production destined to delight ballet fans of all ages. This new production springs from the imaginations of Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky and pop-surrealist visionary Mark Ryden. “I am so very intrigued by this unique story and the approach Alexei and Mark are taking,” said Kevin McKenzie, ABT Artistic Director. “The combination of fantasy and surrealism will prove something dreamlike from both of them.”

Principal Casting for Whipped Cream at Segerstrom Center the Arts
Artists and program are subject to change.

Wednesday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Daniil Simkin (The Boy)
Stella Abrera (Princess Tea Flower)
David Hallberg (Prince Coffee)
Sarah Lane (Princess Praline)

Thursday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Herman Cornejo* (The Boy)
Hee Seo* (Princess Tea Flower)
Cory Stearns* (Prince Coffee)
Cassandra Trenary* (Princess Praline)

Friday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Jeffrey Cirio* (The Boy)
Isabella Boylston* (Princess Tea Flower)
Alban Lendorf* (Prince Coffee)
Misty Copeland* (Princess Praline)

Saturday, March 18 at 2 p.m.
Daniil Simkin (The Boy)
Gillian Murphy* (Princess Tea Flower)
James Whiteside* (Prince Coffee)
Sarah Lane (Princess Praline)

Saturday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Herman Cornejo (The Boy)
Hee Seo (Princess Tea Flower)
Cory Stearns (Prince Coffee)
Cassandra Trenary (Princess Praline)

Sunday, March 19 at 1:00 p.m.
Jeffrey Cirio (The Boy)
Isabella Boylston (Princess Tea Flower)
Alban Lendorf (Prince Coffee)
Misty Copeland (Princess Praline)

Sunday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Daniil Simkin (The Boy)
Stella Abrera (Princess Tea Flower)
David Hallberg (Prince Coffee)
Sarah Lane (Princess Praline)

*Indicates debut in role

Tickets to American Ballet Theatre’s Whipped Cream start at $29 and are now available online at, at the Box Office located at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket discounts for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The Center offers many services for patrons with disabilities including removable wheelchair locations, binoculars and assistive listening devices. To learn more visit A free Preview Talk will be given one hour prior to each performance.

The Center applauds special underwriting from William J. Gillespie and Michelle Rohé. The Center’s International Dance Series is made possible by the Audrey Steele Burnand Endowed Fund for International Dance and The Segerstrom Foundation Endowment for Great Performances. Kia is the Official Automotive Partner of the Center and United Airlines is the Official Airline of the Center. Classical KUSC and COAST Magazine are Media Partners of the International Dance Series.

Leadership support for America Ballet Theatre’s Whipped Cream has been provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.  Additional support has been provided by Linda Allard, Avery and Andrew F. Barth, The Susan and Leonard Feinstein Foundation, Brian J. Heidtke, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Ted and Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, The H. Russell Smith Foundation, and Stewart R. Smith and Robin A. Ferracone.  Whipped Cream is generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

Many of Alexei Ratmansky works have been seen at the Center, including world premieres of Firebird (2012) and The Sleeping Beauty (2015) for American Ballet Theatre, as well as Pierre Lunaire for Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion (2008). ABT’s The Nutcracker, choreographed by Ratmansky, is now a Center holiday tradition, having made its West Coast Premiere in Segerstrom Hall in 2015.

Ratmansky was born in St. Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School. He was a principal dancer with Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. He has choreographed ballets for the Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Kiev Ballet and the State Ballet of Georgia, as well as for Nina Ananiashvili, Diana Vishneva and Mikhail Baryshnikov. His 1998 work, Dreams of Japan, earned a prestigious Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia. In 2005, he was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina for the Royal Danish Ballet. He was made Knight of Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in 2001.

Ratmansky was named artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in January 2004. For the Bolshoi Ballet, he choreographed full-length productions of The Bright Stream (2003) and The Bolt (2005) and re-staged Le Corsaire (2007) and the Soviet-era Flames of Paris (2008). Under Ratmansky’s direction, the Bolshoi Ballet was named “Best Foreign Company” in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics’ Circle in London, and he received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream in 2006. In 2007, he won a Golden Mask Award for Best Choreographer for his production of Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2009, Ratmansky choreographed new dances for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Aïda. Ratmansky joined American Ballet Theatre as Artist in Residence in January 2009.

Other works he has choreographed for American Ballet Theatre include On the Dnieper (2009), Seven Sonatas (2009), Waltz Masquerade, a ballet honoring Nina Ananiashvili’s final season (2009), The Nutcracker (2010), Dumbarton (2011), Firebird (2012), Symphony #9 (2012), Chamber Symphony (2013), Piano Concerto #1 (2013), The Sleeping Beauty (2015) and Serenade after Plato’s Symposium (2016).

Ratmansky was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 2013.

Blending themes of pop culture with techniques reminiscent of the old masters, Mark Ryden has created a singular style that blurs the traditional boundaries between high and low art. His work first garnered attention in the 1990s when he ushered in a new genre of painting, “Pop Surrealism”, dragging a host of followers in his wake. Ryden has trumped the initial surrealist strategies by choosing subject matter loaded with cultural connotation.

Ryden’s vocabulary ranges from cryptic to cute, treading a fine line between nostalgic cliché and disturbing archetype. Seduced by his infinitely detailed and meticulously glazed surfaces, the viewer is confronted with the juxtaposition of the childhood innocence and the mysterious recesses of the soul. A subtle disquiet inhabits his paintings; the work is achingly beautiful as it hints at darker psychic stuff beneath the surface of cultural kitsch. In Ryden’s world cherubic girls rub elbows with strange and mysterious figures. Ornately carved frames lend the paintings a baroque exuberance that adds gravity to their enigmatic themes.

Mark Ryden received a BFA in 1987 from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including a retrospective “Wondertoonel” at the Frye Museum of Art in Seattle and Pasadena Museum of California Art, and in the exhibition “The Artist’s Museum” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Mark Ryden recently had his first museum exhibit in Malaga, Spain. Ryden is currently the subject of a major European retrospective at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga in Spain through March 5, 2017.

American Ballet Theatre is one of the great dance companies in the world. Few ballet companies equal ABT for its combination of size, scope and outreach. Recognized as a living national treasure since its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the United States, performing for more than 300,000 people, and is the only major cultural institution to do so. It has also made more than 30 international tours to 50 countries as perhaps the most representative American ballet company and has been sponsored by the State Department of the United States on many of these engagements.

Over its 75-year history, the Company has appeared in a total of 132 cities in 50 countries. ABT has also appeared in all fifty states of the United States. ABT has recently enjoyed triumphant successes with engagements in Brisbane, Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Hong Kong, Paris and Tokyo.

On April 27, 2006, by an act of Congress, American Ballet Theatre became America’s National Ballet Company®.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds Kia, Official Automotive Partner of the Center, and United Airlines, Official Airline of the Center.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is an acclaimed arts institution as well as a beautiful multi-disciplinary cultural campus. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence on all of its stages, offering unsurpassed experiences, and to engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring programs.

Previously called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Center is Orange County’s largest non-profit arts organization. In addition to its six performance venues, Segerstrom Center is also home to the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School, where students ages 3 – 14 are taught by acclaimed teachers utilizing the renowned ABT National Training Curriculum in studios utilized by the world’s greatest dancers and choreographers.

The Center presents a broad range of programming for audiences of all ages, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events.

The Center’s education programs are designed to inspire young people through the arts and reach hundreds of thousands of students each year. In addition to the presenting and producing institution Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the 14-acre campus also embraces the facilities of two independently acclaimed organizations: Tony Award®-winning South Coast Repertory and a site designated as the future home of the Orange County Museum of Art.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is also proud to serve as the artistic home to three of the region’s major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Chorale, who contribute greatly to the artistic life of the region with annual seasons at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

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