Rocking the Tonys: Baryshnikov at Robinson (part 2)

One of the presenters at Sunday’s 72nd Tony Awards is Mikhail Baryshnikov.  Twenty-nine years ago, he himself was a 1989 Tony nominee for Actor in a Play (for playing a man-turned-cockroach in an adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

In 1985, Baryshnikov returned to Little Rock to perform again at Robinson Center under the auspices of Ballet Arkansas.   He had performed here two years earlier, as well.

Among the dancers who joined him in the program was future Tony nominee Robert LaFosse.  He would be nominated for a 1989 Tony as well. But he was up for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.  Other dancers in the company were Cynthia Harvey, Susan Jaffe, Leslie Browne, Elaine Kudo, Cheryl Yeager, Amanda McKerrow, Deirdre Carberry, Bonnie Moore, Valerie Madonia, Ross Stretton, Peter Fonseca, Gil Boggs, John Gardner, and John Turjoman.

The company danced to pieces choreographed by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Marius Petipa, future Tony Award winner Twyla Tharp, Lisa de Ribere, and La Fosse.  The music composers included George Gershwin, Jacques Offenbach, Frederic Chopin, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Hector Berlioz, as well as composers who wrote songs for Frank Sinatra.

While Ballet Arkansas did not have any dancers perform during the evening, the organization presented it and was able to receive the proceeds which exceeded the expenses.  For several years in the 1980s, the Ballet would either commence or conclude their season with such an performance. In fact, the 1985 Baryshnikov program contained a promotion of a 1986 visit by Alvin Ailey’s dance company.

Whereas the 1983 Baryshnikov appearance had been sponsored by the Arkansas Democrat, this time, the rival Arkansas Gazette was the sponsor.

 

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A British Invasion at the Little Rock Wind Symphony tonight

LRWS flagThe Little Rock Wind Symphony opens its 2015-16 season with “British Invasion,” a program of British music for winds.  Israel Getzov conducts in his debut concert as the LRWS music director.  The concert starts at 7:30pm at Second Presbyterian Church.

The program includes:

  • Jacques Offenbach: La Belle Hélène
  • Gustav Holst: First Suite for Military Band
  • John Williams: Cowboys Overture
  • Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations
  • Malcolm Arnold: The Padstow Lifeboat

Sponsored by Robert and Jo Ann McQuade.

Admission is $10, $8 for seniors, free for students.

The Little Rock Wind Symphony was created in 1993 to recognize the outstanding heritage of the wind band in Arkansas by providing a performance opportunity for professional and semi-professional wind and percussion musicians.