New York City Center, which has been closed to the public since March 2020 due to the pandemic, has announced a full calendar of programming for the 2021–2022 season.
The landmark venue will reopen to the public October 13 with the Fall for Dance Festival, which continues through October 24. The Festival consists of five programs, each featuring three different groups of artists and companies. The New York City Center commissions include works from tap artist Ayodele Casel, modern dance legend Lar Lubovitch for Adrian Danchig‐Waring and Joseph Gordon, The Verdon Fosse Legacy reconstruction of a trio of dances originally created for Gwen Verdon and now featuring Georgina Pazcoguin, and a co‐commission with Vail Dance Festival by Justin Peck.
The annual Gala presentation, to be announced at a later date, will launch November 10 with a benefit performance and a gala dinner, with shows continuing through November 14. City Center previously produced limited engagements of Evita, A Chorus Line, and Sunday in the Park With George as gala presentations—Sunday subsequently transferred to Broadway.
Tony winner Twyla Tharp will celebrate her 80th birthday at City Center November 17–21 with Twyla Now, a program of signature works and two world premieres. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s James Gilmer and Jacquelin Harris, American Ballet Theatre’s Aran Bell and Catherine Hurlin, Tony nominee Robert Fairchild, and New York City Ballet’s Sara Mearns, Roman Mejia, and Tiler Peck will head the cast, joined by an ensemble of young performers.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will return to City Center December 1–19. The engagement, which marks Artistic Director Robert Battle's decade of leading the company, will feature the original work of Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts and classics by the late Alvin Ailey. The season also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the tour-de-force solo Cry, which premiered at City Center in 1971.
The previously announced Encores! series launches Lear deBessonet’s first season as the series' artistic director, alongside music director Rob Berman and producing creative director Clint Ramos. The Tony‐honored series will kick off the new year February 2–6, 2022, with The Tap Dance Kid, featuring music by Henry Krieger, lyrics by Robert Lorick, and a book by Charles Blackwell. Tony winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) will direct with new tap sequences by choreographer Jared Grimes (After Midnight), a concert adaptation by Lydia Diamond (Stick Fly), and music direction by Joseph Joubert (Motown the Musical).
The series continues with the Tony‐nominated Cy Coleman-Ira Gasman-David Newman musical The Life March 16–20. Emmy and Tony winner Billy Porter, who penned the adaptation, also directs with choreography by Tony nominee Camille A. Brown (Choir Boy), the creative advisor for the Encores series.
Into the Woods, which ushers in a new annual tradition at Encores!, spotlighting an iconic American musical and the ways theatre connects us across generations, will be presented May 4–15. DeBessonet directs the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical, which will bring together Broadway talents and a multi‐generational group, including New York City public school students. The production will feature choreography by Jamal Sims and music direction by Rob Berman.
City Center will also launch two new dance series in spring 2022. Artists at the Center, running March 3–6, will allow City Center’s family of artists the chance to conceive and curate their own programs; expect works by Tiler Peck, Jon Batiste, William Forsythe, Alonzo King, and Jennifer Weber. The new annual City Center Dance Festival, presented March 24–April 10, will launch with a showcase of New York companies making their return to the City Center stage after more than a year away: Ballet Hispánico, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Martha Graham Dance Company, and Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Updates to City Center's ventilation systems are being implemented, as well as a comprehensive slate of new cleaning protocols, and the launch of mobile ticketing this season.
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