The Kennedy Center Presents Mark Morris Dance Group In PEPPERLAND
Following their 2018 engagement, the esteemed Mark Morris Dance Group returns for the D.C. premiere of its latest evening-length work Pepperland, a Kennedy Center co-commission, November 13-16 in the Eisenhower Theater. Renowned choreographer Mark Morris continues to explore the relationship between movement and music with Pepperland, which pays homage to The Beatles's 1967 trailblazing album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Often hailed as the first-ever "art rock" album, the Beatles's groundbreaking work pushed the recording-studio technology of the late 1960s to the limit and is widely regarded as the best rock n' roll album in history. Created at the request of the City of Liverpool, England, home of the founding band members, the colorful, exuberant Pepperland includes Morris's elements of humor and musicality.
Of the work, Mark Morris stated, "This great album set a radical new direction for popular music and thought. I was just a child. Fifty years later, with contemporary eyes and ears, we are presenting a comment on, and a rethinking of, this profound cultural artifact with all of the imagination, surprise, humor, and bizarrity intact."
Premiered in 2017 in Liverpool, the production features an original score by composer Ethan Iverson, who leads a unique live jazz ensemble of vocals, soprano saxophone, trombone, piano, keyboard, theremin, and percussion through innovative arrangements of iconic songs from the record. Arrangements of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "With a Little Help from My Friends," "A Day in the Life," "When I'm Sixty-Four," "Within You Without You," and "Penny Lane" are intermixed with six original Pepper-inspired pieces intended especially for Mark Morris's profound understanding of classical forms: Allegro, Scherzo, Adagio, and the blues. The work also playfully evokes multiple aspects of the era, with colorful, mod-inspired costumes by Elizabeth Kurtzman, scenic design by Johan Henckens, and lighting design by Nick Kolin.
Founded in New York City in 1980 by artistic director and choreographer Mark Morris, the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) has been called "the preeminent modern dance organization of our time" (Yo-Yo Ma), its members receiving "highest praise for their technical aplomb, their musicality, and their sheer human authenticity." (Bloomberg News). Live music and community engagement are vital components of the Dance Group, which has toured with its own musicians, the MMDG Music Ensemble, since 1996. Through Access/MMDG programming, the Dance Group provides educational opportunities in dance and music to people of all ages and abilities while on tour internationally and at home at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY.
The MMDG Music Ensemble, formed in 1996, is integral to the Dance Group - "With the dancers come the musicians...and what a difference it makes" (Classical Voice of North Carolina). The Ensemble's repertory ranges from 17th-century works by John Wilson and Henry Purcell to more recent scores by Lou Harrison and Henry Cowell. The musicians also participate in Access/MMDG, the Dance Group's program to deepen community engagement at home and on the road.
Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased on the Kennedy Center website, at the Kennedy Center box office, or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600. Patrons living outside the Washington metropolitan area may dial toll-free at (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.