‘Sleeping Beauty’ gets some snooze updates

Adam Maskell as Caradoc and Hannah Vassallo as Aurora, Photo by Simon Annand. Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

Adam Maskell as Caradoc and Hannah Vassallo as Aurora in ‘Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty’

The city that never sleeps is about to get some beauty rest — 200 years of it, to be exact.

The zzz’s are thanks to two productions of “Sleeping Beauty” that will make their New York premieres this fall.

At the center of each is Aurora, a girl who snoozes for a century until a smooch rouses her. Both works are set to the stirring 1890 ballet score of Tchaikovsky and both feature some nifty puppetry.

But that’s where the similarities end.

First up is “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty: A Gothic Romance,” a dance spectacle from the U.K. that runs Wednesday through Nov. 3 at New York City Center. Look for romance, fancy footwork and neck wounds.

Bourne always packs his plays with surprises. Here, fans will see a puppet baby Aurora literally climb the drapes before an adult actress steps into the role. Even more out there, he added vampires to the script to add continuity to the classic play: Who better than an immortal bloodsucker to wait out a 100-year nap?

The “Twilight”-style twist is a big change for the fairy tale — but “Sleeping Beauty” is a logical step for Bourne, one of England’s coolest choreographers. He broke through in 1992 with “Nutcracker!” and followed that in 1995 with the global hit and Tony winner “Swan Lake” — both to the tunes of Tchaikovsky.

But his “Beauty” isn’t sleeping alone.

Hot on its heels from Milan is Carlo Colla & Sons’ take on “Sleeping Beauty,” from Nov. 1 to 10 at the New Victory Theater.

If performers in this piece appear wooden, they are — they’re carved wooden marionettes (tag line: “A timeless tale with strings”).

Colla hews closer to Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale, and ups the ante by showcasing an acclaimed puppet theater company established three centuries ago. It takes 10 voice actors, 11 puppeteers and 165 marionettes to tell this tale. And factor in some family secrets.

“I learned the art of the marionette, both creation and puppeteering, from my mother, who learned from her father, who learned from his father,” says artistic director Eugenio Monti Colla. “I’m happy to keep this rich Italian heritage alive.”

Aurora, left; Puffe (the dog); and Desolation, the Wicked fairy, in the Colla 'Sleeping Beauty'

Aurora, left; Puffe (the dog); and Desolation, the Wicked fairy, in the Colla ‘Sleeping Beauty’


Music & Arts – NY Daily News

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