Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is the artistic director and choreographer of DGDG: Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. She also serves as Assistant Director of UT-Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. And she’s a member of Muscle Nation.
Imagine the intoxicating voice of Marlene Dietrich leading you to your seat, while Ella Fitzgerald sings you a lullaby as you dance the night away. Such was the world of the Venetian Room in The Fairmont Hotel, and such is the atmosphere that Bruce Wood is recreating this Saturday night with his “Mistletoe Magic.”
Wood and his merry band of dancers are reinstituting the golden age of the supper club in a move that follows current cultural trends. We have seen a resurgence of the glitz and glamour of 1950s nightlife in both fashion and entertainment: live musicians are being invited back to perform with dancers and actors, cabaret is once again a spectacle du jour, we are spending more time getting dolled up to go out and support our artistic endeavors, and we are finding more and more invites in our mailboxes for special events and fundraisers. Wood’s “Mistletoe Magic” is just one of this holiday season’s events.
Set to open their fourth season, “Mistletoe Magic” is a way to reintroduce the company to Dallas, as the last time they produced an evening-length show that just featured Bruce Wood dancers was in the summer. All monies raised will help support productions in June and September 2014.
But putting a twist on the traditional fundraiser, they are making a whole evening of it. The cabaret style performance Wood is cooking up will feature Broadway stars Elizabeth Stanley (Company, Cry-Baby) and Jason Graae (Falsettos, Stardust) and Wood dancers Joy Atkins, Albert Drake, Harry Feril, Kimi Nikaidoh, Nycole Ray (courtesy of Dallas Black Dance Theatre) and Christopher Vo. Working in collaboration with New York music director Jasper Grant, who will conduct four musicians and play piano himself for the show, Wood is putting together a soundtrack that combines nontraditional Christmas music with cabaret classics.
And speaking of “cooking up,” all guests are invited to dinner beforehand. The doors open at 7:00pm, with dinner at 7:30pm, and the show beginning soon afterwards.
“We are always engaged in cultivating new opportunities and creating new works,” says Gayle Halperin, President of the Board of Directors. So, when Larry Lane, a supporter of the Bruce Wood Dance Project, recommended the idea of a supper club themed event, they were hooked.
“How wonderful would it be to create a glamorous evening in the style of the grand supper clubs…during their heydays?” continued Halperin, “The history of [the Venetian Room] is fantastic and I know friends who have heard vocalists such as Peggy Lee and Tony Bennett there.”
With such a history preceding him, Wood has some big shoes to fill. Recreating such an atmosphere will not be easy, but he has an experienced team assisting him. Lane, who has had a Broadway career himself, has taken over the producer’s role, bringing in Elizabeth Stanley and Jason Graae. Stanley is a rising Broadway star with several leading roles under her belt, and Graae is a seasoned artist with a long resume from coast to coast, with a direct local connection. He has performed at Theater 3, with the Dallas Opera, and the Dallas Theater Center. Graae and Stanley performed together this summer in Sugar in Los Angeles—a Tony Award-nominated musical comedy based on the classic film, Some Like it Hot.
Then, there are the Bruce Wood dancers themselves. A majority of them have been working with Wood since he restarted his company in 2011, with a few having spent a large part of their professional careers with him when his company was in Fort Worth. They have developed a successful working relationship that translates seamlessly to the stage. It will be interested to see how they fare in a close intimate environment and with new partners.
Whatever the outcome, the show is a gift from Wood to his patrons and funders; and to you, if you choose to attend, be it this weekend, or in the future.
“Mistletoe Magic” starts at 7:00pm at the Venetian Room at The Fairmont Hotel. Tickets are available through the Dallas Wind Symphony Box Office at 214-428-2263 or online at http://www.brucewoodance.org/. Individual tickets start at $250. Tables of 10 are available.