On Your Toes at City Center
New York City Center’s production of Rodgers and Hart’s On Your Toes – part of its Encores! presentation series will feature three prominent Polish Americans – Walter Bobbie (Władysław Babij), Christine Baranski, and Karen Ziemba. All have received Tony Awards for excellence in Broadway Theater.Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, the production will include George Balanchine’s original choreography to the “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” ballet. On Your Toes is credited as the first musical to integrate classical dance into a Broadway musical. It centers on a vaudeville hoofer who gets mixed up with a Russian ballet troupe, and its fiery prima ballerina. It opened on April 11, 1936, at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre and ran for 315 performances. The show will play May 8-12; tickets can be purchased online at www.NYCityCenter.org; through CityTix at (212) 581-1212; or at the Box Office (West 55th St. between 6th and 7th Avenues).
Pippin Returns to Broadway
Forty years after its original run, Pippin returns to Broadway in a much-anticipated revival. The original Tony-winning production was directed and choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse; this one, with choreography in the Fosse style, also features circus-themed acrobatics. The Leading Player details the tongue-in-cheek story of Pippin, son of the 8th-Century King Charlemagne, who is on a quest to find his true calling in life. The memorable score by Stephen Schwartz includes: “Magic To Do,” “No Time at All,” and “Corner of the Sky.” The show just opened at the Music Box Theatre – 239 West 45th St., Manhattan.
The Śląsk – The National Song and Dance Ensemble of Poland presented under the auspices of Starvox Entertainment recently completed a brief tour of select cities in Canada and the United States. With a company of 80 performers, Śląsk gave two performances at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in New York City’s Bronx borough that were skillful and dazzlingly energetic in their display of heightened folklore. Under the directorship of Zbigniew Cierniak, Śląsk continues in the model of excellence established by its founder Stanisław Hadyna and original conceptual choreographer Elwira Kamińska. Much of Kamińska’s choreography is maintained – the breathtaking Podhalańskie mountain dances being the gem of the repertoire. Kujawiaki Głuszyńskie, superbly danced by soloists Joanna Mokwa and Adam Czechlewski stole the show in its simplicity and honesty. Based on choreography by Hanna Chojecka, the lyrical steps punctuated with percussive gestures approaches the traditional through a storyline using a contemporary vocabulary of movement. “Ondraszek, Pieśń o Zbójniku” was compellingly sung by Joanna Budzisz; Beata Pyda delighted in the signature “Karolinka;” and Piotr Nikiel was endearing in the “Do Krakowa” sequence with his solid and natural tenor voice.
Karski Exhibit in Chicago
The World Knew: Jan Karski’s Mission for Humanity – an exhibition honoring the legacy and courage of Jan Karski, who undertook a dangerous mission during the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II, will be on display April 26 – May 19 at the Polish Museum of America – 984 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. Having twice been smuggled into the Warsaw ghetto, and later entering a Nazi transit camp disguised as a guard, Karski embarked on a mission to inform Europe and the US, with the hopes of stopping the genocide. Sadly, his efforts were ignored by President Roosevelt and other world leaders. The exhibit was created by the Polish History Museum of Warsaw with assistance from the Jan Karski Educational Foundation and sponsorship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. A new, authorized US edition of Karski’s 1944 eye-witness account, Story of a Secret State, has just been published by Georgetown University and is available at the Museum. For more information: 773-384-3352; www.polishmuseumofamerica.org; www.jankarski.net
Motown the Musical
The real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever, Broadway’s Motown: The Musical charts founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more. Featuring the Motown classics, the musical tells the story behind the hits as the Motown family fights against the odds to create the soundtrack that changed America. The show is playing in an open-ended run at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre – 205 West 46th St., Manhattan.
Gatsby – a sure Oscar Winner!
The Great Gatsby, a 3D romantic drama is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel. Co-written and directed by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. Sure to win awards, this stylish film follows the life and times of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his neighbor Nick, who recounts his encounter with Gatsby at the height of the Roaring Twenties.
Cirque du Soleil’s Totem
Totem, the new Cirque du Soleil is playing at a Big Top on the grounds of Citi Field — home of the New York Mets — in Queens through May 12. This engagement marks the 25th anniversary of the first visit of Cirque du Soleil in New York. Since its world premiere in 2010, Totem has visited over 16 different cities in four different countries. The performance experience traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly and includes a cast of 52 performing artists from 19 countries. For more information: cirquedusoleil.com/totem.
Poland’s Early Music in Concert
Gaude Mater Polonia – the Music from Poland’s Golden Age will be presented by The Newberry Consort in cooperation with the Polish Cultural Institute New York on • May 3, 8:00 pm – Copernicus Foundation Annex, 5216 W Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL • May 4, 8:00 pm – Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, 915 E 60th St., Chicago, IL • May 5, 5:00 pm – Lutkin Hall, Northwestern University, 700 University Place, Evanston, IL. The concert will provide the opportunity to experience rare music of Poland’s great Renaissance composers. Chicago native and Polish-American Tom Zajac leads the ensemble in a program that will include masterworks by Wacław z Szamotuł, Mikołaj Gomółka, Wojciech Długoraj, Bartłomiej Pękiel, Adam Jarzebski, Mikołaj Zieleński.