PENINSULA BALLET THEATRE
SAN MATEO - Peninsula Ballet Theatre (PBT) announced plans to return to live performances for the 2021-22 season with a diverse roster of offerings including cherished ballet classics The Nutcracker and Cinderella, both with new choreography by company Artistic Director Gregory Amato; two high-voltage Hip-Hop dance programs Hip-Hop Halloween and Hip-Hop Nutcracker, created by Bay Area artist Stuck Sanders; and for the first time, the company will produce a musical theater work, the iconic Frank Loesser hit, Guys and Dolls, directed by Gary Ferguson. All performances will be presented at Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s home venue, the historic Fox Theatre in Redwood City.
“We’re absolutely delighted to return to live performances and welcome back audiences to our home at the Fox Theatre,” said PBT Executive Director Christine Leslie. “We’ve been unable to perform since March 2020 and after a period of reflection and transformation, we’re charting a new course with regard to our programming. In addition to our classical ballet programs, we will continue to present high-voltage hip-hop dance productions and for the first time, enter into the magical world of Broadway musical theater. We will present these programs while adhering to all of the latest COVID-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of our dancers, crew and audience.”
The PBT season will launch October 29 and 30 with three performances of a thrilling and spooky Hip-Hop Halloween, a 75-minute work first introduced to Bay Area audiences in 2019. Conceived, directed and choreographed by Stuck Sanders, with additional choreography by Alee Martinez, Vincent Hwang, Ninja Sutton and Francis Tyrell, the action-packed narrative follows trick or treating kids to a graveyard and a haunted house where we meet up with classic monsters including Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man and zombies galore, all while highlighting authentic street styles of hip-hop performed to the beats of Bay Area DJs.
Sanders said, “There are many different forms of movement when it comes to hip-hop, and what better way to tell those stories than Halloween. Custom Moves, with Custom Beats. This show is everything hip-hop and everything Halloween. A must see!”
Just in time for the December holiday season, Peninsula Ballet Theatre will offer audiences two exciting interpretations of the cherished Nutcracker. Opening December 17 and repeated December 18 afternoon, PBT will offer the highly entertaining Hip-Hop Nutcracker choreographed by Stuck Sanders and his colleagues. Adapting E.T.A. Hoffmann’s traditional Victorian narrative to a more contemporary beat with a sizzling display of solo and ensemble work, this refreshed Hip-Hop Nutcracker is set to Tchaikovsky’s familiar score but skillfully overlayed with industrial rhythms.
By way of contrast, PBT will present new choreography for a classic Nutcracker ballet program opening December 18 evening, repeated December 19. Join the Stahlbaum children on a heartwarming adventure on Christmas Eve as Drosselmeyer and the Fairy of Inspiration bring to life a cast of delightful characters and entrancing tales from a very magical book.
PBT Artistic Director Gregory Amato said, “For my new Nutcracker, I have concentrated primarily on the pure joy of dance in this holiday favorite, expressing the wonderment and possibilities of childhood imagination.” Danced to Tchaikovsky’s grand lyrical score, Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker will surely enchant audiences of all ages.
Nutcracker Sweets and Sugar Plum Tea
Back by popular demand, Peninsula Ballet Theatre will offer Nutcracker Sweets, December 4, 5, 11 and 12, an abridged version of Amato’s exuberant reimagining of the classic story, perfectly tailored for young audiences (ages 3 to 6) and families. Performed by members from the PBT Conservatory along with artists from the professional company, this 50-minute performance will be presented in the company’s intimate Studio One Theatre.
Complementing the Nutcracker Sweets offerings will be the return of Sugar Plum Tea on December 5 and 11 at the company’s special holiday Tea Room. The public is invited to have tea and array of yummy tea sandwiches, fruit, and sweet treats with Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and all of their friends from the Land of Sweets!
Guys and Dolls
The company’s winter season will open February 11 and 12 with its first-ever musical theater production, Loesser’s Tony Award-winning Guys and Dolls. Making their Peninsula Ballet Theatre debuts, the company welcomes Bay Area director and choreographer Gary Ferguson, music director Adam Green, and veteran actor, PBT Conservatory teacher and production co- choreographer, Minna Rogers.
This musical comedy from 1950, is one of the most often revived shows at London’s West End and New York’s Broadway, where it’s original run spanned some 1,200 performances. The beloved musical score counts some of the most memorable songs from the Broadway songbook including “Luck Be a Lady Tonight,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and “If I Were a Bell.” The extraordinary popularity of Guys and Dolls inspired a 1955 film adaptation starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine.
Peninsula Ballet Theatre will conclude the company’s 54th anniversary season with one of the most charming and captivating fairy tales of all time, Cinderella. Artistic Director Greg Amato choreographed this world premiere based on the original story by 17th century French writer Charles Perrault, with dance narrative inspired by the original 1945 Sergei Prokofiev premiere by Nikolai Volkov for the Bolshoi Ballet.
Commenting about his new Cinderella, Amato said, “I always come back to Prokofiev's incredible ballet music for this classic fairy tale. The haunting undertones of yearning, the melodious themes of love and the brilliance of his comedic genius are in evidence throughout. I look forward to sharing this new interpretation for Bay Area ballet lovers.”
Single tickets for the new season range from $20 to $65 and will go on sale September 7; tickets may be purchased by visiting www.peninsulaballet.org.
All performances, with the exception of the Nutcracker Sweets, will be presented at the historic Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City, CA. Nutcracker Sweets and Sugar Plum Tea will be presented at Peninsula Ballet Theatre, 1880 South Grant Street, San Mateo.
Peninsula Ballet Theatre and the Fox Theatre adhere to all recommended San Mateo County Health COVID-19 guidelines. The Fox Theatre has just completed a thorough renovation including the installation of a new state-of-the-art HVAC system containing 34 Merv 13 filters and Bio Ionization technology to trap very fine particles, potential allergens, bacteria, and viruses; hospital grade UVC sanitizing lights installed throughout the theatre allowing for a thorough cleaning before each performance; all restrooms updated to touchless technology; and hand sanitizing stations throughout the theater.
Founded in 1967 by Dick Ford and Richard Gibson as the non-profit performing vehicle for students in their ballet school, Peninsula Ballet School, the first professional dancers trained outside the school were hired in 1971 to form a separate permanent company. PBT is the Bay Area's second oldest professional ballet company in continuous operation. Joining as artistic director in 2017, Greg Amato has cultivated a company of professional dancers that performs a full season of wide-ranging repertory. Continuing its 54-year tradition as the artistic and cultural hub of San Mateo County, Peninsula Hip-Hop Productions was added in 2016 under the artistic direction of Stuck Sanders and Peninsula Broadway Productions, directed by Gary Ferguson, makes its debut with the 2021-22 season.
For further information about Peninsula Ballet Theatre, visit www.peninsulaballet.org.