Colorado Ballet's International Collaboration Creates World Premiere Ballet Production—The Wizard of Oz

December 13, 2018
DENVER, CO (December 13, 2018) – In the spirit of innovation and collaboration, Colorado Ballet continues to reach new heights as a nationally recognized professional ballet company with its premiere of a new full-length ballet, The Wizard of Oz. Over the past two years, Colorado Ballet joined forces with two other esteemed ballet companies, Kansas City Ballet and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, to create an all-new and incredibly popular ballet on a scale far greater than any of the companies could produce individually. This international collaboration to create a new production based on a world famous story gave three companies one innovative way to contribute to a thriving dance community and to move the art form forward.

“An opportunity of this magnitude doesn’t often come along,” states Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs. “A Company our size might be able to contribute to the creation of a new full-length work perhaps every 20 years. So this is an extremely exciting time for Colorado Ballet to be a part of something so special and extraordinary. Our experience working with Kansas City Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet has been wonderful and we would like to extend our gratitude to every artist and supporter whose contribution has made this possible.”

Colorado Ballet is honored and proud to present its premiere of The Wizard of Oz at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, February 1–10, 2019. In addition to Colorado Ballet’s 10 performances of The Wizard Oz, the company will present An Evening in Oz Gala at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 5:30PM.

The world premiere of The Wizard of Oz took place in Kansas City in October 2018, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet will present their premiere in May 2019.

The brainchild of acclaimed choreographer Septime Webre (presently Artistic Director of Hong Kong Ballet and formerly Artistic Director of Washington National Ballet), this dazzling production brings all of Oz’s favorite characters to dance down the yellow brick road—from Toto to flying monkeys, this ballet has it all. Webre’s choreography showcases the strength, athleticism and artistry of Colorado Ballet’s talented dancers.

Bringing to life one of the most beloved stories of all time through dance, Webre assembled a world renowned creative team to realize his vision. The vibrant costumes by Liz Vandal, ingenious set and lighting design by Michael Raiford and Trad Burns, and searing score by composer Matthew Pierce set the stage not only for the dancers, but for the magical puppetry of Nicholas Mahon, who created the puppets for the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The Wizard of Oz will delight and inspire from the first note to the final curtain.

Choreographer Septime Webre is the former Artistic Director of Washington Ballet (1999-2016) and now Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Ballet. Besides the highly acclaimed Alice (in Wonderland), he has created nationally-performed works including Peter Pan, Where the Wild Things Are, Carmina Burana, The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises. The Washington Post often celebrates his vision, energy, creativity, playfulness and success.

Composer Matthew Pierce celebrated for his classical scores commissioned by major American ballet companies. Lauded by media and musicians alike, Pierce’s scores have been described as “new, tuneful, dancey” Voice of Dance, “the ideal musical vessel” San Francisco Chronicle, and “possibly the bestcommissioned score in Houston Ballet’s history” Houston Chronicle.

Costume designer Liz Vandal has brought her originality to dance, circus, cinema and special projects worldwide. Among her ballet partners: Compagnie Marie Chouinard; Le Ballet National du Canada; The Washington Ballet; Stuttgart Ballet; l’Opéra de Paris and Göteborg Theater. She has created costumes for The Backstreet Boys and Cirque du Soleil.

Set designer Michael B. Raiford is a freelance artist based in Austin, TX. He has designed, staged and choreographed for over 30 years. His work has been seen at the Opera Boston, The New Victory Theatre, NYC, South Coast Repertory, The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. GEVA Theatre, Playmakers Rep., Ford’s Theatre, Washington, DC, Cleveland Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Ballet Austin, Central City Opera, Merrimak Rep, The Antaeus Company in LA and Austin Lyric Opera. Most recently Michael directed Blast: The Music of Disney in 2016.

Lighting Designer Trad A. Burns has designed more than 400 productions the last two decades, including the lighting for Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker in 2015. Designs include works for Cincinnati Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet and Ballet British Columbia. He also has worked with New York Theatre Workshop, The Cleveland Play House, Knott’s Berry Farm, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Japan, Carnival Cruise Lines, Universal Studios and The Family of Charles M. Schulz.

Puppeteer Nicholas Mahon is an Emmy nominated puppet and theatrical designer based in New York City specializing in performer interactive pieces and character creation. Since 2004 he has worked on projects for Michael Curry Design, Walt Disney Entertainment, Universal Studios, The Jim Henson Company, Blue Man Group and many more. His work on the Baku 2015 European Games Opening Ceremony as Scenic Designer was nominated for a Daytime Emmy and most recently, Mahon received global recognition for the puppets in PyeongChang Olympics Opening Ceremonies.

Video and Projection Designer Aaron Rhyne’s work has been seen on stages around the world in more than 100 productions of musicals, plays, operas and dance performances. He designed the Broadway production of Anastasia, for which he won a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Projection Design. Other projects include Broadway and national tours of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Disney’s Frozen at Disney California Adventure and The Ghosts of Versailles at LA Opera.

This collaboration on The Wizard of Oz elevates all involved companies, not only by contributing to the art form, but also by providing a future stream of revenue for the three producing companies. Following the final premiere by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, other ballet companies across the country and around the world can rent and perform The Wizard of Oz—thus proving an additional revenue stream for the originating group. The incredibly popular appeal of The Wizard of Oz gives other ballet companies who chooses to mount the production a good opportunity to build new audiences and grow their organizations.

Friday, February 1, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 3, 2019 at 2 p.m.
Sunday, February 3, 2019, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, February 8, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
*Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 2 p.m.
Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
(*) Audio Described Performance

Tickets range from $30 to $155. Visit COLORADOBALLET.ORG or call Patron Services at 303837-8888 ext. 2 to purchase tickets.

To continue to reduce the number of ticket resellers, please purchase directly through Colorado Ballet via the website or phone number listed above. Tickets purchased through resellers may not be valid.

Presented by PNC Wealth Management
Thursday, February 7, 2019 | 5:30 PM
Gala Chairs: Natalia Ballinger & Michael Korenblat and Rachel & Yuval Moskovich

Colorado Ballet will present an enchanting evening in the Land of Oz. Guests will enjoy cocktails along the Yellow Brick Road, a fantastical excerpt from the much anticipated premiere of The Wizard of Oz, an auction of luxury items and an opulent meal in the elegant Emerald City. The evening will close as guests click their heels together with dancing on the Ellie Stage.

To purchase Gala tickets or tables, please visit COLORADOBALLET.ORG/GALA.

The Wizard of Oz is presented by MDC/Richmond American Homes Foundation, and supported by Accenture, PNC Wealth Management, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), Anadarko, Colorado Ballet Auxiliary and Pura Vida.

Tour de Force | March 8 – 10, 2019
Featuring Colorado Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and Wonderbound
Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Ballet MasterWorks | April 5 – 14, 2019
Featuring Carmina Burana and Serenade
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Making Kansas City a destination for dance
Founded in 1957, Kansas City Ballet is a 30-member professional ballet company under the leadership of Artistic Director Devon Carney and Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley. The company’s mission is to establish Kansas City Ballet as an indispensable asset in its community through exceptional performances, excellence in dance training and quality community education programs for all ages…(read more).

Versatility, technical excellence and a captivating style are the trademarks of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, qualities that have garnered both critical and audience acclaim. Under Artistic Director and CEO André Lewis, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet has expanded its repertoire to include bold, innovative new works that embody creative excellence…(read more).

Presenting exceptional classical ballet and innovative contemporary dance through performances, training, education and community engagement, Colorado Ballet continues to inspire and grow an increasingly diverse audience base in Denver, Colorado. As a world-class professional company, Colorado Ballet presents more than 55 performances annually to sold-out audiences in the 2,000 seat Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Company’s 33 professional dancers and 22 studio company dancers come from all over the world. In 2014, Colorado Ballet moved into its new home, The Armstrong Center for Dance, a 35,000 square foot building that boasts eight state-of-the-art professional dance studios and amenities for the professional Company.

Established in 1961 by Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker, Colorado Ballet is a non-profit organization celebrating 58 years of presenting classical ballet and superior dance. Under the direction of Artistic Director Gil Boggs, Colorado Ballet performs classical ballet masterpieces, full-length story ballets and its critically-acclaimed repertory production Ballet MasterWorks, featuring varied works from neoclassical ballets to world premieres.

The Raydean Acevedo Colorado Ballet Academy serves over 1,200 students from toddlers to seniors each year and has doubled in size since 2014. Colorado Ballet’s Education and Community Engagement programming serves under-resourced students, teachers, families, people with disabilities and lifelong learners, reaching more than 35,000 contacts in 300 schools and organizations annually.

Colorado Ballet enhances the cultural life of Colorado through performances of the professional company, training at the Raydean Acevedo Colorado Ballet Academy and Education & Community Engagement programming. For more information please visit COLORADOBALLET.ORG.