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ABT News

September 8, 2006


Kevin McKenzie to Choreograph All-New Production
after Marius Petipa, Assisted by Gelsey Kirkland;
Scenery by Tony Walton and Costumes by Willa Kim

American Ballet Theatre will present an all-new production of the Tchaikovsky classic, The Sleeping Beauty, scheduled for performances during the Company’s Spring 2007 season at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Choreographed by Kevin McKenzie after Marius Petipa and assisted by former ABT ballerina Gelsey Kirkland, the four-act ballet will receive its World Premiere on Friday evening,
June 1, 2007 and will be given eleven performances through June 9. The Sleeping Beauty is also scheduled for four performances at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, California, July 20-22.

Set to the famous score by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, American Ballet Theatre’s all-new production of The Sleeping Beauty brings together the Tony Award-winning team of Tony Walton and Willa Kim, with lighting to be designed by Richard Pilbrow and Dawn Chiang.

Kevin McKenzie has previously choreographed Swan Lake and The Nutcracker and has staged Don Quixote (in collaboration with Susan Jones) for American Ballet Theatre. A former dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, McKenzie joined ABT as a Soloist in 1979 and was promoted to Principal Dancer that same year. He enjoyed a distinguished career as a danseur noble performing leading roles in La Bayadère, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet, as well as Antony Tudor’s Pillar of Fire and Dim Lustre, among others. Following his performing career, McKenzie was named Artistic Associate to The Washington Ballet in 1991 and was appointed Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre in 1992.

Gelsey Kirkland, a former dancer with New York City Ballet, joined American Ballet Theatre as a Principal Dancer in 1974. Her repertoire with ABT included the title role in Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote, Clara in The Nutcracker, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Among the works created on her during her performing career were George Balanchine’s Firebird and Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading.

Since 1986, Kirkland has transitioned into teaching and coaching at ABT, The Royal Ballet School, English National Ballet and The Australian Ballet.

Tony Walton (Scenery) is a designer of sets, and frequently, costumes for theatre and film, as well as a stage director and producer. His designs for Broadway include the sets for Bob Fosse’s original productions of Chicago and Pippin, as well as designs for Grand Hotel, The Real Thing, The Will Rogers Follies and, most recently, Well. Walton has won Tony Awards for his set designs of Pippin, House of Blue Leaves and Guys and Dolls. His film work includes production design and costumes for Mary Poppins, The Wiz and All That Jazz. The Sleeping Beauty marks Walton’s second collaboration with American Ballet Theatre, having previously designed the scenery for ABT’s Peter and the Wolf in 1992. Other designs for ballet include St. Louis Woman for Dance Theatre of Harlem, Jewels for Miami City Ballet and The Tempest for San Francisco Ballet.

Willa Kim (Costumes) has won Tony Awards for her costume design of Broadway’s The Will Rogers Follies and Sophisticated Ladies, as well as an Emmy Award for San Francisco Ballet’s broadcast of The Tempest. In addition, she received Tony nominations for Legs Diamond, Song and Dance, Dancin’ and Good Time Charlie. Kim’s designs for The Sleeping Beauty will be her seventh work for ABT. In 1992, Kim collaborated with Walton as the design team for Peter and the Wolf. Her previous designs for dance include Eliot Feld’s Variations On ‚ÄòAmerica’, Robert Joffrey’s Remembrances, Leonide Massine’s Parade and Glen Tetley’s Nocturne and Sphinx.

Richard Pilbrow and Dawn Chiang (Lighting) have produced designs for more than 500 projects between them. Pilbrow has received two Tony Award nominations for Best Lighting Design of Four Baboons Adoring the Sun and The Life. Chiang began her lighting design career assisting Jennifer Tipton at The Joffrey Ballet. She has won two Drama League Critics’ Awards and a Tony nomination for A Man For All Seasons. Together they co-designed Tango Passion for Broadway and their regional credits include work for the Mark Taper Forum, Guthrie Theater and Seattle Repertory.

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