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2021

Arts Centre Melbourne

27 August – 5 September

The best of the 20th century, the freshest of the 21st: this electrifying triple bill showcases two giants of the New York dance scene and The Australian Ballet’s newest resident choreographer.

George Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements is inspired by the revolutionary music of Igor Stravinsky, his friend and muse. This provocative piece kicks off with a line of chic dancers haughtily tossing their ponytails and blends the rigour of ballet with the vigour of jazz.

Twyla Tharp’s pulse-pounding In the Upper Room sets the stage alight with scarlet pointe shoes and sneakers, the driving music of Philip Glass and a bracing blend of classical and contemporary technique. It’s described by Tharp as “the only piece I’ve done that generates a standing ovation at almost every performance”.

Be there for the unveiling of Resident Choreographer Tim Harbour’s newest ballet – a stripped-down work set to a contemporary electronic score, featuring set designs by cutting-edge architect Kelvin Ho.

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nicework

The Production Company

15 – 23 August

This bubbling 1920s-era musical sparkles with extravagant dance numbers, glittering costumes and a delicious love story between a wealthy playboy and the feisty bootlegger who melts his heart. Set in the Prohibition era, Nice Work If You Can Get It features a snappy book by Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro (Memphis). This delicious, madcap tale combines laughter, romance and Broadway magic for an evening bursting with girls, gangsters, glamour and Gershwin. Nice Work features a treasure trove of George and Ira Gershwin’s most beloved, instantly recognizable tunes including Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, Someone to Watch Over Me, ‘S Wonderful and Fascinating Rhythm.

Rohan Browne (Singin’ in the Rain, Strictly Ballroom) is Jimmy Winter, a wealthy and handsome playboy. Esther Hannaford (King Kong, Hairspray) is Billie Bendix, a feisty but beautiful bootlegger who is on the run from the law and steals Jimmy’s heart. Christie Whelan-Browne (Singin’ in the Rain, Rocky Horror Show) is Jimmy’s fiancé Eileen Evergreen, the self-proclaimed finest interpreter of modern dance in the world. Gina Riley (Kath & Kim, Chicago) is Duchess Estonia Dulworth, a noted prohibitionist who succumbs to the bottle and falls in love with a gangster. Nicki Wendt (GYPSY, Mother & Son) is Jimmy’s mother Millicent, a wealthy matron with great élan. George Kapiniaris (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Wogs Out Of Work) is Cookie McGee, a fast-talking, wise-cracking bootlegger. John Wood (Blue Heelers, How to Succeed..) is Senator Max Evergreen, a humourless career politician who lightens up by the end! Tony Farrell (Rocky Horror Show) is Chief Berry, head of the Long Island Police Department and fiercely dedicated to his job. With Monica Swayne (Wicked) as Jeannie, a happy go lucky chorus girl and Jensen Overend (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as Duke, Cookie’s not-so-bright sidekick.

Directed by Helpmann Award winner, Roger Hodgman (Show Boat, Grey Gardens) with Musical Director John Foreman (The Boy From Oz, Singin’ in the Rain) and Choreography by Dana Jolly (Show Boat, Grey Gardens).

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westsidestory

The Production Company

11 – 19 July

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story is set on New York’s Upper West Side in the mid-1950s where racial and social tensions run high. A poignant, provocative and emotionally powerful piece of theatre, its score features many of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein’s most famous compositions – Maria, America, Somewhere and Tonight.

This landmark season will feature four of Australia’s leading musical theatre stars. Returning from London to play Maria is Anna O’Byrne whose recent credits include Christine Daaé in Phantom of the Opera on the West End. Gareth Keegan who starred in Show Boat last season, is Tony. In the role of Anita will be Deone Zanotto (A Chorus Line on Broadway and We Will Rock You on London’s West End). Adam Fiorentino whose US credits include Bert in Mary Poppins on Broadway, is Bernardo. Sean Mulligan‘s recent credits include Jersey Boys and Legally Blonde both on London’s West End, and EastEnders and The Persuasionists both for BBCTV.

Also starring Neil Melville (Party Tricks, Les Miserables) as Detective Schrank, Tony Rickards ( Winners and Losers) as Doc, Glaston Toft (Guys and Dolls, Jersey Boys) as Glad Hand, Rob Tripolino (La Cage Aux Folles, Ned) as Chino, and Dean Vince (Show Boat, King Kong) as Krupke.

The acclaimed Gale Edwards (Aida, Sydney Harbour) returns to The Production Company to direct this electrifying piece of musical drama. The eminent musical theatre conductor, Guy Simpson, fresh from supervising Phantom of the Opera in Istanbul, is Musical Director. Jerome Robbins’ original choreography will be recreated by Michael Ralph.

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cinderella

Arts Centre Melbourne

19 – 27 June

Witty, vibrant, glamorous and romantic, Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella will sweep you off your feet. By popular demand, and after sell-out seasons in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, this smash-hit crowd-pleaser returns to bewitch us again in an exclusive encore season.

Ratmansky, the most in-demand choreographer in the world and the master of the modern story ballet, fills every bar of Prokofiev’s cinematic score as he charts Cinderella’s journey from rags to rapture. Jerôme Kaplan’s vivid, sophisticated designs draw inspiration from Dior, Schiaparelli, the elegance of 1940s Hollywood, and Surrealist art.

Like Ratmansky’s Cinderella – transported to the ball by planets and stars – we are whisked by this magical ballet to new heights of wonder.

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thedream

Arts Centre Melbourne

4 – 13 June

Step into faraway woodlands in Ashton’s charming take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, guaranteed to bring the house down with a hilarious tangled romance, dazzling dancing and the playful music of Felix Mendelssohn.

Fall into new worlds in Monotones II, a stripped-back masterpiece made famous by its breathtaking pas de trois (dance for three) set to Erik Satie’s ethereal music. And for the first time see the company perform Symphonic Variations, well known for its hard demands on the dancer, classical technique and pure, airy movement that awes from start to finish.

Varied, mesmerising and utterly enchanting, The Australian Ballet’s The Dream is one of the greatest spectacles of dance you’ll see all year.

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doncarlos

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

20 – 29 May

Light gleams off dark marble monuments and the terror of the Spanish inquisition is captured in a stage beset with shadows.

Verdi's music masterfully controls the twisting and turning story. Vivid orchestral colours and affecting melodies manipulate his audience to devastating effect: we love, we hate, we turn and sympathise as each note reveals a little more of these complex, charismatic characters.

The opera is testament to Verdi's ability to create light and dark in a single moment, and to sing it, you need a huge cast of extraordinary performers. Don Carlos features an international cast of nearly 200 led by Mexico’s Diego Torre in the title role, Serbia’s Milijana Nikolic, Russia’s Victoria Yastrebova, Italy’s Giacomo Prestia and Australia’s José Carbó and Daniel Sumegi.

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dongiovvani

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

11 – 30 May

The serial seducer is on the loose again, in a new production from one of the most provocative minds in opera today, David McVicar.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ Don is mad, he’s bad, he’s dangerous but, damn him to hell, his serenades are just divine. David McVicar teases out the psychological drama of these questions in a highly anticipated new production and Australian debut from the leading opera director of his generation. And in the role he was born to sing, Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ powerful magnetism, dark-hued voice and imposing physique make being bad seem oh so good.

The Don has met his match. Don Giovanni brings together two of this country’s biggest opera stars for the first time in an Opera Australia production – Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Don Giovanni and Emma Matthews as Donna Anna.