Tag Archives: Ahmanson Theatre


The ticking clock at the heart of CINDERELLA provided Matthew Bourne with an expedient opportunity to play with circular time when creating his 1997 theater/dance work, which is—along with Play without Words—his closest flirtation with existentialism.

The ghost of Noël Coward haunts the piece, now in revival at the Ahmanson Theatre—specifically the 1940s David Lean-directed classics of bourgeois rectitude In Which We Serve and Brief Encounter. And if—twenty years on from his Los Angeles premiere with Swan Lake—Bourne’s mockery of middle-class British values now feels like a reflexive embrace, there are scenes in CINDERELLA where his embroidered patterns transcend their frankly ornamental thrust and affect a lurch (a signature Bourne move) toward magic.

CINDERELLA—which takes place during the London Blitz of 1940—comes alive in its middle section, with the ascent to the ceiling of a large mirrored ball. This forty-minute act—a flashback and its aftermath—is set inside the Café de Paris, the West End club where Coward introduced many of his cabaret performances. Cinderella’s liberation on the dance floor releases all the principals from the drab, monochrome set of Act One, and the even darker milieu of spivs and streetwalkers in the Underground scene of Act Three. The capital endured over fifty consecutive days of Luftwaffe bombing, and a sense of fatalism walked among the ruins, on stage as in life. An ingenious five-soldiers-and-a-girl ballroom dance represents a beautiful escape from the horrors of war and a summation of its creator’s formula: defiance through energy and joy.

Our guide and guardian throughout the proceedings is The Angel, a conscience figure danced by Liam Mower on opening night. Harry the Pilot, a stand-in for the Prince, was performed by Andrew Monaghan, and Ashley Shaw—the star of Bourne’s The Red Shoes—is a radiant Cinderella.


Through March 10.

Ahmanson Theatre

135 North Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

From top: Ashley Shaw in the title role and Andrew Monaghan as Harry the Pilot in Cinderella, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne; Liam Mower as The Angel; Shaw and Monaghan (2); the company in Cinderella; Monaghan and Shaw. All photographs by Johan Persson.


It’s been over twenty years since the American premiere of MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, and Bourne has reimagined and redesigned his signature work for an eight-week season at Sadler’s Wells.

Initially trangressive in its use of an all-male wedge of threatening swans—replacing the traditional female corps de ballet—the world has caught up with Bourne’s vision as new audiences discover this enduring masterpiece.

In London, The Swan will be alternately danced by Matthew Ball, Will Dozier, and Max Westwell. The Prince will be played by Liam Mower, Dominic North, and—making his professional debut—James Lovell.


Through January 27.

Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, London.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake in performance.

From top:

Freya Field and Will Bozier.

Nicole Kabera.

Liam Mower.

Mower and Kabera.

Matthew Ball (left) and Mower.

Photographs by Johan Persson.

Image credit: New Adventures and Sadler’s Wells.


The opening engagement of the 2018–2019 season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center is here with COMPANY WAYNE MCGREGOR—AUTOBIOGRAPHY, at the Ahmanson for two nights and a matinee.

Three discrete presentations, three distinct experiences—McGregor’s dance abstract of his life in twenty-three scenes is rearranged for each performance, selected by a computer algorithm based on the sequencing of McGregor’s genome.

In its Los Angeles premiere this weekend, the dancers of AUTOBIOGRAPHY will be joined onstage by Jlin in a live performance of her commissioned score.


Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6, at 7:30 pm.

Sunday, October 7, at 2 pm.

Ahmanson Theatre, 135 North Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

Company Wayne McGregor, Autobiography in performance. Photographs by Ben Cullen Williams, Richard Davies, and Andrej Uspenski. Image credit: Wayne McGregor.


Stephen Karam has called his play THE HUMANS a “family thriller.” A ghost story where things literally go bump in the night, this last-gasp elegy mourns the death of bohemianism in Manhattan and the middle class everywhere. It is also extremely funny—if a precise explication of the American Dream walking off a cliff can be called comedic.

Unlike most theater families, the Blakes—mother, father, grandmother, two daughters and a son-in-law—aren’t issuing indictments and putting one another on trial. Nor does an inspector call demanding answers. Dealing with differences of class, politics, income, religious fidelity, and expectations for the future, the Blakes are—mostly—civil and respectful. But all the love, understanding, empathy, and forgiveness this family demonstrates for one another somehow renders them powerless. And there are greater forces at work than mere self-sabotage.

THE HUMANS’ widely acclaimed, award-winning ensemble—Jayne Houdyshell, Reed Birney, Lauren Klein, Cassie Beck, Sarah Steele, and Nick Mills—is directed by Joe Mantello, and will be in town through the end of July.


Through July 29.

Ahmanson Theatre

135 North Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

Top: Sarah Steele and Cassie Beck in The Humans.

Above: Steele and Reed Birney.

Below: Birney, Steele, Jayne Houdyshell, and Nick Mills.

Photographs by Brigitte Lacombe.


When the British film THE RED SHOES first opened in 1948, it was largely met with indifference in its home country. But upon its release in Manhattan, it played continuously for two years, and during the Los Angeles engagement, an MGM contract player went to see the film once a week for a year.

In anticipation of the local premiere this month of Matthew Bourne’s theatrical production of THE RED SHOES at the Ahmanson, LACMA and the American Cinematheque have programmed screenings of the Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger masterpiece.

After the LACMA screening this weekend, stay for the panel discussion “Designing for Dance,” with costume historian Bobi Garland, creative movement director Stephen Galloway, and artist and designer Stacia Lang.

THE RED SHOES, in 35 mm, Saturday, September 2, at 2 pm.

BING THEATER, LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.


THE RED SHOES, in 35 mm, Friday, September 22, at 7:30 pm.

EGYPTIAN THEATRE, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood.


MATTHEW BOURNE’S THE RED SHOES, on stage from September 15 through October 1.

AHMANSON THEATRE, Music Center, downtown Los Angeles.


Top: Moira Shearer and Anton Walbrook in The Red Shoes (1948), written, directed, and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Bottom: Léonide Massine and Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes.

The Red Shoes 2

The Red Shoes