City Ballet to Celebrate the Broadway Side of Jerome Robbins

City Ballet to Celebrate the Broadway Side of Jerome Robbins


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Members of New York City Ballet performing in Jerome Robbins’s “West Side Story Suite.”

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Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Jerome Robbins’s career on Broadway is to be celebrated in a new ballet, featuring extracts from eight musicals closely associated with the choreographer. The ballet, which is to be staged by Warren Carlyle, the Tony Award winning choreographer and director, will be presented as part of the New York City Ballet’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of Robbins’s birth, with a premiere at City Ballet’s Spring gala on May 3.

Peter Martins, City Ballet’s ballet master in chief, said in a telephone interview that he had wanted to have work from the Robbins musicals in the company’s repertory since seeing “Jerome Robbins’s Broadway” in 1989. “I asked Jerry at the time why we couldn’t do something like this,” said Mr. Martins, who became the co-director of City Ballet, with Robbins, after the 1983 death of George Balanchine, who was a founding choreographer of the company with Robbins.

“I always wanted to have those great pieces he did for Broadway,” Mr. Martins said. “That work is a huge part of his legacy. Although there are revivals of his musicals, they are infrequent. I felt this could be a repertory staple, seen on a regular basis.”

Mr. Robbins, who died in 1998, completely dismissed the idea, but Mr. Martins revived it with Mr. Carlyle.

The piece, with around 50 dancers, will incorporate music and choreography from “On the Town,” “Billion Dollar Baby,” “The King and I,” “Peter Pan,” West Side Story,” Gypsy,” “Funny Girl” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Mr. Carlyle, who will restage the dances and create linking passages between the sections, said some of the dancers would sing, as they do in “West Side Story Suite,” which City Ballet acquired in 1995. “It will be 40 minutes of razzmatazz fun,” Mr. Carlyle said in a telephone interview.

The new work, as yet untitled, is part of “Robbins 100,” a three-week focus by City Ballet on Robbins’s work, which includes 19 ballets as well a premiere from Justin Peck, set to a score by Leonard Bernstein, whose centennial is also being celebrated this year.



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