BWW Reviews: New York Theatre Ballet: Keith Michael's Alice-in-Wonderland Follies
New York Theatre Ballet's Production of Keith Michael's Alice-in-Wonderland Follies, A Ballet Vaudeville is a fantastic production. This is a rave review because there is no more delightful or charming production to be found in New York City. The sheer inventiveness of the choreography is comparable to anything on Broadway or that can be seen in the large ballet venues at Lincoln Center. New York Theatre Ballet is a New York cultural jewel and the nation's most widely seen chamber ballet company. The dancers are attractive, accomplished, versatile and technically secure. Beyond this, they are excellent actors and entertainers. The company performs small masterpieces with great mastery and style. Keith Michael's The Alice-in-Wonderland Follies is one of these masterpieces. In the program notes by Mr. Michael, he states that the Alice-in-Wonderland Follies ballet aspires to the "hyperbolic lunacy of vaudevillian pioneers Joe Weber and Lew Field's hucksterism: What a jumble of jollification." New York Theatre Ballet's production is indeed jolly, but also it is a cornucopia of theatrical and balletic innovation, telling the Alice-in-Wonderland story (usually presented as a jumble) in a clear and cohesive follies format. Geared for children, this production has so much wit and dance excellence that even the most jaded ballet fans will be surprised and delighted by its freshness.
Mr. Michael has a huge knowledge of the great theatre and dance choreographers and producers and gives an affectionate nod to them. Dance and theatre aficionados will delightedly note the witty salutes to Balanchine, Bournonville, Ziegfeld and several classic Broadway shows. Mr. Michael's intelligent and inspired musical choices of vaudeville, classical, and folk tunes similarly orchestrated, weave the sweet dance numbers together like a honeycomb.