The Mercyhurst Dancers and the Mercyhurst Symphony Orchestra join forces for the first time to present the comedic ballet La Fille Mal Gardée May 3-5 at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.
The dancers take the stage at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4, and again at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5. A special preview concert will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3, with balcony seating only.
The 1879 ballet, the highlight of this year’s Freedom Season, returns to Erie after a 19-year hiatus and features choreography by esteemed choreographer Bruce Marks.
Translating to mean “The Badly Guarded Daughter,” this story ballet centers on a lovesick young lady challenged by an arranged marriage to the very rich town simpleton. Families can laugh together at this three-act comedic ballet dedicated to freedom of choice.
Funding by ArtsErie supports this quality production staged by Samantha Dunster of the Hartt School in Connecticut, who was in residence in February and March to work with The Mercyhurst Dancers. R. Scott Tomlinson will conduct the Mercyhurst Symphony Orchestra.
Cuban trained and internationally acclaimed guest artist Eddie Tovar will perform the leading male role. Returning to Mercyhurst, courtesy of the Louisville Ballet, is alum Justin Michael Hogan ’09 to perform the role of Alain. Ashley Cook and Emily McAveney will share the leading role of Lise. The role of Mother Simone, usually played by a man, is a superb vehicle for the talents of William McNeil.
“All of us have been laughing hysterically at Will’s antics,” said Tauna Hunter, dance department chairwoman and artistic director. “This is simply one of the funniest ballets ever created, and the entire cast is having a ball with it. I’m sure the audience will laugh right along with us.”
The Mercyhurst dance faculty is working diligently with the cast of 50 dancers for this performance, which will feature new costumes and sets courtesy of Orlando Ballet.
Following the Friday and Saturday matinee performances, The Mercyhurst Dancers will host “Talk Back” where audience members will have an opportunity to dialogue about the production.
Ticket prices are $15.50 for adults, $12.50 for seniors and students, $7.50 for President’s Cardholders, $5 for youth 12 and under and $3.50 for Mercyhurst students. Tickets for the preview concert are $5. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 814-824-3000 or by visiting miac.mercyhurst.edu.
PHOTO: Senior Tiffani Thomas.