‘Sound of Music’-Inspired Dance Program to Bow at Jacob’s Pillow

Doug Elkins and Friends, 'Fräulein Maria' (photo Christopher Roesing)

(BECKET, Mass.) – The Doug Elkins and Friends work Fräulein Maria, an inventive dance production inspired by the soundtrack to The Sound of Music, will conclude a three-year tour at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival from Wednesday, August 22, 2012, through Sunday, August 26, 2012. The production returns to Jacob’s Pillow, where it was performed in 2009, as part of the “Back by Popular Demand” series, in honor of the Pillow’s 80th Anniversary Festival; this engagement will mark Fräulein Maria’s final public performances, as well as the final festival 2012 performances in the Doris Duke Theatre.

Doug Elkins was inspired to create Fräulein Maria after countless viewings, first as a child and then as a father, of the beloved movie classic The Sound of Music. Commissioned in 2006 by DanceNOW[NYC] for its Dancemopolitan Holiday Series, produced in partnership with Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, Fräulein Maria was an immediate hit. The show was reprised at Joe’s Pub in December 2007 and 2008 and recognized with a New York Dance & Performance (BESSIE) Award. The BESSIE citation reads: “For creating a tender, rollicking excursion at Joe’s Pub called Fräulein Maria, which took us from the snow-capped peaks of Hollywood through the worlds of “downtown” dance, Martha Graham, Willi Ninja, Balanchine, hip-hop, voguing, stepping, stomping, whirling, and flying like wild geese with the moon on their wings.”

Fräulein Maria blossomed into a full-scale production with the formal addition of co-directors Barbara Karger and Michael Preston in August 2008. Highlights of the last three touring seasons include closing the 2009 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, inaugurating the newly renovated Paramount Theater for ArtsEmerson! In Boston, a two-week run at Hartford Stage, appearing at the Ringling International Arts Festival in Sarasota, opening the 2012 American Dance Festival, and launching a modern dance performance series at American Dance Institute in Rockville, Maryland.

Since its nascent performances at Joe’s Pub, over 50 dancers have cycled through the cast including Arthur Aviles, Archie Burnett, David Dorfman, Jeffrey Kazin, Jennifer Miller, Jennifer Nugent, David Parker, and Nicole Wolcott.

Doug Elkins and Friends performs "Fraulein Maria" at the American Dance Festival on July 13, 2009 in Durham, N.C. (Photo American Dance Festival 2009/Sara D. Davis)

A hilarious and astute dance production inspired by the unforgettable score from the film The Sound of Music, the show has been named to year-end “Top Ten Best” lists in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Hartford Courant, and The Village Voice. Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times calls the work a “mini-masterpiece of a certain kind, encompassing everything that is brilliant about Mr. Elkins’s choreography: his skillful craftsmanship; his musicality and timing; the effortless melding of every kind of dance technique you can think of, mediated by his own inimitable, highly coordinated physical style.”

“Jacob’s Pillow first presented Fräulein Maria in 2009 and this season it is one of three productions invited to return “back by popular demand,” for our 80th Anniversary,” comments Ella Baff, executive and artistic director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. “It’s one of the funniest, yet seriously smart, shows ever. Doug Elkins took a classic and turned it upside down, inside out, and made it into a new classic. It’s entertaining, original, and has a spirit of generosity that makes people of all ages feel a part of it. We’re very happy to be the final stop on its So Long, Farewell Tour.”

Doug Elkins admitted “It is a bittersweet choice to end a tour that has brought audiences and cast members such incredible joy, but as Maria says paraphrasing the Reverend Mother, ‘when the Lord closes a window, somewhere He opens a door.’ We are grateful to have had such an amazingly long run.”

Karger, who was born in Austria and did not see the movie until she came to the United States in her thirties said, “We hope to bring Maria, her Captain and seven children back one day, but for now, it is time to move on to new projects.”

Elkins, Karger and Preston, along with Fräulein Maria dramaturg Anne Davison, Fräulein Maria cast members Deborah Lohse and Donnell Oakley and performers Mark Gindick and Aaron Mattocks, will soon begin work on a new evening-length piece. The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard will host an initial two-week creative residency that will take themes from early cinema  ? romantic love, the struggle of the everyman/woman, the fight against authority, and the belief in the power of the imagination ? as inspiration. The new work is set to premiere in Fall 2013.

The So Long, Farewell Tour of Fräulein Maria is conceived and choreographed by Doug Elkins and co-directed by Barbara Karger and Michael Preston includes cast members Hilary Brown, Daniel Charon, Alexander Dones, Doug Elkins, Krista Jansen, Deborah Lohse, Kellie Ann Lynch, Cori Marquis, Meghan Merrill, Donnell Oakley, Joshua Palmer, Michael Preston, and John Sorensen-Jolink, and creative team Carolyn Cryer (Rehearsal Director), Anne Davison (Dramaturg), James Latzel (Lighting Designer), and Heather Smaha (Technical Director). The tour is produced by Amy Cassello.


Performance and Ticket Information

Doug Elkins and Friends’ Fräulein Maria
Doris Duke Theatre
Wednesday, August 22 through Saturday August 25 at 8:15pm

Saturday August 25 and Sunday August 26 at 2:15pm
Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob’s Pillow Scholars-in-Residence are offered on the porch of the Doris Duke Theatre 30 minutes before every performance.
A Post-Show Talk with Doug Elkins, Michael Preston Barbara Karger and a Pillow Scholar will take place onstage on Thursday, August 23.
Tickets $38-$43



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