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Performing Arts Blog
Sylvie Guillem in BYE

Sylvie Guillem in Bye, photographed by Bill Cooper.

After an unparalleled career that has spanned nearly 35 years of ballet and contemporary dance, Olivier Award winner Sylvie Guillem will give her farewell performance on the American stage in Life in Progress, a dance program of both existing and new works, at City Center from November 12-14, 2015. Life in Progress began an international tour on March 31 produced by Sadler’s Wells in London, where it is currently playing; Guillem’s only United States appearance will be at City Center.

In Life in Progress, Guillem will dance two new works: Akram Khan’s technê, a solo accompanied by live musicians, and Russell Maliphant’s Here & After, a duet with La Scala dancer Emanuela Montanari. The program will also feature Mats Ek’s touching solo Bye, which was made especially for Guillem, and William Forsythe’s Duo (1996), performed by two male dancers, Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts.

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May 28, 2015 by New York City Center
Jon and Sutton at City Center

Photo by Matt Karas.

It’s a tale as old as time: Broadway actor breaks out, abandons the theater for Hollywood, then slinks back 30 years later for a limited-run Sondheim revue. But Sutton Foster and Jonathan Groff are bucking that trend. The onetime Millie and Melchior have both managed to carve out fascinatingly eclectic screen careers while regularly returning to the stage. In the past year alone, Foster bagged a Tony nomination for Violet and starred in the TV Land sitcom “Younger,” while Groff did a Clint Eastwood movie, shot the final season of HBO’s “Looking,” and joined the cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genre-busting juggernaut Hamilton.

This summer, they’re coming to City Center in musicals that find them playing radically against type. Groff is playing a cynical Jewish songwriter in William Finn’s A New Brain (June 24-27) and Foster will play a Jazz Age hoofer trapped in a cycle of abuse in Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party (July 15-18). We chatted with the two stars about car crashes, stage-door fans, and taking risks at Encores! Off-Center.

CITY CENTER: When you guys do TV, do your musical theater genes ever surface? Jonathan, I read that you and Russell Tovey sang songs from A Chorus Line between takes on “Looking.”

JONATHAN GROFF: Yes. A lot of Chorus Line.

SUTTON FOSTER: People were always trying to get me to sing on [the set of “Younger”], and the only thing I would do was, they would go “Last Looks!” and I would go (singing) “Last looks, last looks tonight.” I would sing “Last Looks” to [the tune of Donna Summer’s] “Last Dance.” (laughs) Usually it’d happen late on a day of filming, when I was starting to go batty.

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May 20, 2015 by New York City Center
A New Brain Cast 2015

We’re delighted to announce that Tony Award winner Dan Fogler, “SNL” alum Ana Gasteyer, and Aaron Lazar (A Little Night Music, The Light in the Piazza) will join Jonathan Groff in the Encores! Off-Center production of A New Brain. The complete cast includes Jenni Barber, Quentin Earl Darrington, Bradley Dean, Josh Lamon, Alyse Alan Louis, and Rema Webb.

Inspired by William Finn’s real-life brush with death, the 1998 musical A New Brain is a medical tragedy seen through the iris of a Looney Tunes short. After struggling composer Gordon Michael Schwinn (Jonathan Groff) collapses face-first into a plate of spaghetti, he is diagnosed with a brain tumor and is forced to come to terms with his creative ambitions and the people in his life: an overbearing mother (Ana Gasteyer), a ruthless kiddie-show host (Dan Fogler), and a boyfriend who’d “rather be sailing” (Aaron Lazar).

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May 19, 2015 by New York City Center
Vintage Encores Posters

We’re thrilled to announce the 2016 season of City Center’s Tony-honored Encores! series, which will kick off with Vernon Duke and John Latouche’s Cabin in the Sky from February 10-14, 2016. The season will continue with Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards’ 1776, running from March 30-April 3, 2016, and close with Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim’s Do I Hear a Waltz?running from May 11-15, 2016. Listen to the original cast recordings and hear Encores! Artistic Director Jack Viertel explain why these shows are ripe for another look.

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May 10, 2015 by New York City Center
Jessica Lang Dancer

Choreographer Jessica Lang has embarked on spellbindingly elegant collaborations with architects, photographers, and musicians over the course of a career that led Dance Magazine to declare her “a master of visual composition.” Lang has created more than 85 works as a freelance choreographer since 1999; wondering “what it would be like to make dance on the same group of people,” she founded Jessica Lang Dance in 2011. The company has since performed at BAM, Jacob’s Pillow, the Kennedy Center, and the Joyce Theater. We caught up with the 2015 City Center Choreography Fellow by email.

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May 6, 2015 by New York City Center
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