New York City Ballet - Double Feature (Supplemental comments on The Blue Necklace)
presented at the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
New York, New York
February 5, 2004
The Blue Necklace
Conductor: Andrea Quinn
Music by Irving Berlin
Choreography by Susan Stroman
Libretto by Susan Stroman and Glen Kelly
Music Arrangements by Glen Kelly
Orchestrations by Doug Besterman
Scenery by Robin Wagner
Costumes by William Ivey Long
Lighting by Mark Stanley
Dorothy Brooks: Maria Kowroski
Mr. Griffith: Jason Fowler
Mrs. Griffith: Kyra Nichols
Young Mabel: Tara Sorine
Young Florence: Isabella Tobias
Mabel: Ashley Bouder
Florence: Megan Fairchild
Billy Randolph: Damian Woetzel
Ensemble: Faye Arthurs, Katie Bergstrom, Saskia Beskow, Sophie Flack, Jessica Flynn, Amanda Hankes, Dana Hanson, Sterling Hytlin, Glenn Keenan, Lauren King, Carla Körbes, Rebecca Krohn, Ashley Laracey, Savannah Lowery, Lindy Mandradjieff, Teresa Reichlen, Stephanie Zungre, Antonio Carmena, Ask la Cour, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Kyle Froman, Craig Hall, Stephen Hanna, Jerome Johnson, Austin Laurent, Seth Orza, Allen Peiffer, Amar Ramasar, Henry Seth, Aaron Severini, Jonathan Stafford, Sean Suozzi, Christian Tworzyanski, Daniel Ulbricht, Adrew Veyette
The songs: Alexander's Ragtime Band, Always, What'll I do?, How about Me?, Slumming on Park Avenue, Let Yourself Go, Everybody's Doin' It Now, All Alone, The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing, Mandy, Steppin' Out With My Baby, You're Easy to Dance With, No Strings, How Deep is the Ocean.
I attended Double Feature again because I loved it so much the first time. I was there with a group of friends, nestled in the aerie of the Fourth Ring. I noticed a few touches that I didn't see the first time (see my 1/25/04 review for a complete analysis).
When Dorothy Brooks leaves her baby on the church steps, the outside of her cloak has a dull matte finish, while the inside has a glossy finish. This costume design choice simultaneously reflected her outward reality (poverty, a career on the rocks) and her inward reality (inherent goodness, talent).
When Dorothy and Mabel first meet by accident, they don't know who the other is, but they are standing with the same foot positions.
When Mabel is finally freed from the apartment so that she can attend the party, it appears that her freedom is achieved with the divine intervention of her deceased foster father, Mr. Griffith, because Mabel appeals to his memory and then a key falls out of a picture of Mr. Griffith that, presumably, he placed there years ago. I realized, though, that there is an alternate explanation for Mabel's freedom. It can be argued that Mrs. Griffith, who locked Mabel into the apartment so that Mabel could not go to the party, may have been the agent of her own undoing. Mrs. Griffith dropped the picture of Mr. Griffith into the trash with some force just prior to locking Mabel into the apartment. This could have loosened the key, thus allowing it to fall out of the picture frame soon thereafter.
I did find one flaw in the ballet tonight, but it is minor and you have to really dig to find it. If you are sitting in the orchestra, you can easily see Mrs. Griffith locking Mabel into the apartment. However, if you are sitting on the right side of the fourth ring, the view of Mrs. Griffith is blocked by the set. It is minor because Mabel clearly shows that she is locked in. There is probably no way around it, except perhaps to add a sound effect of the door being locked, or projecting something on the screen at the back of the stage. (Or see the show twice from different places in the theatre because it is worth seeing twice no matter where you are sitting.)
Overall, The Blue Necklace read quite well from the front of the fourth ring. Both the story and the dancing were clear. My friends were glad they had seen the show.
Ashley Bouder and Damian Woetzel in Double Feature: The Blue Necklace (New York City Ballet - Choreography by Susan Stroman)
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik