Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes Opens At New York City Center

by Michael Mahany | 10/26/2017 7:56 PM

The Red Shoes. Photo Credit: New Adventures

Thursday night, Matthew Bourne’s highly anticipated production of The Red Shoes opens the last stop of its US tour at New York City Centre. The production previously made North American stops in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Charlotte, NC.

According to City Center, The Red Shoes tell the story of, “Victoria Page [who] lives to dance, but her ambitions become a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion… A beloved fairy tale and Academy Award-winning movie, The Red Shoes has seduced audiences and inspired generations of dancers with its story of obsession, possession, and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world.”

The London production won two 2017 OLIVIER® awards: Best Entertainment, and one specifically for Bourne himself, for Best Theatre Choreographer. Bourne is now the recipient of seven OLIVIER® awards— making him tied for the most OLIVIER’s® alongside Dame Judy Dench and designer William Dudley.

Matthew Bourne, the creator and choreographer of the piece, is a revered contemporary ballet choreographer. Bourne has changed the landscape of dance with works like Edward Scissorhands, the Broadway and subsequent productions of Mary Poppins, his haunting and thrilling Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Car Man, and Play Without Words.

Matthew Bourne at the 2017 Olivier Awards. Photo Credit: New Adventures

In an interview with his company New Adventures, Matthew Bourne said of The Red Shoes, “In today’s culture, everyone is very interested in what it takes to become a great performer or artist with the likes of TV and movies such as the X Factor, Black Swan and Strictly Come Dancing highlighting this and the question of what sacrifices need to be made. Audiences also love a backstage story, particularly one that gives insight into the art form. However, The Red Shoes is also a love story, a highly dramatic, even melodramatic tale, populated by a cast of colorful characters, glorious dancing and music.”

For the New York City leg of the tour, City Ballet favorite Sara Mearns will share the role of Victoria Page with New Adventures company members Ashley Shaw and Cordelia Braithwaite, both of whom originated the role at London’s Sadler’s Wells theatre. Braithwaite will perform the role of Victoria on the November 4th matinee, while Mearns and Shaw will share the other performances.

Mearns, in an interview with Vanity Fair said of sharing the role, “The way that Ashley does it is so brilliant. I don’t want to steal from her. I want to make it my own. And I am ready for the challenge.”

The Red Shoes. Photo Credit: New Adventures

Other casting highlights include Sam Archer, widely known for creating the role of Edward in Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands, who plays the role of Boris Lermontov, and American Ballet Theatre star Marcelo Gomes and New Adventures’ Dominic North share the role of Julian Craster.

The rest of the featured cast includes Nicole Kabera, Michela Meazza, Will Bozier, Liam Mower, Danny Reubens, Glenn Graham, and Leon Moran. Rounding out the cast of “the leading dancers and creative team behind the Ballet Lermentov" are Steph Billers, Jackson Fisch, Joshua Harriette, Daisy May Kemp, Philip King, Dominic Lamb, Katrina Lyndon, Kate Lyons, Andrew Monaghan, Joe Walkling, Katie Webb, and Seren Williams.

“People refer to this as a ballet. I don't really think it's a ballet. I think it's a piece of theater. But people's idea of what ballet is is very different. So for some people, it's tutus and pointe shoes and “Swan Lake." And for other people, it is just a story told without words, through movement. So definitions have always been an issue with me,” Bourne told The Frame. He went on to say that, “the audience of the future needs to be developed. People need to be excited about coming to see this sort of work… we know that there could be young people in the audience seeing something like this for the first time and it could just trigger something in them that says, ‘That's for me. That's what I want to do with my life.’ Or they just have a great experience, you know, want to come back to the theater and see more. It's so important.”

For more about The Red Shoes and how to get tickets, check out the New York City Center site here.