Jacob's Pillow presents Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) in an engaging triple-bill program that features the legendary folk music of Peter, Paul and Mary, as well as the world premiere of LADIES AND GENTLE MEN, inspired by Marlo Thomas's iconic children's book, record, and TV show Free to Be…You and Me, August 8–12 at the historic Ted Shawn Theatre. Artistic Director Trey McIntyre, a celebrated dancemaker, "has proven his talent and takes his place as one of the top choreographers of the decade" (Marene Guston, Dance International).
The program begins with Leatherwing Bat, which saw its world premiere at Jacob's Pillow in August 2008. The work unites whimsical balletic movement with the playful ballads of iconic folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, which results in an accessible, heartfelt creation that McIntyre describes as an exploration of the mature complexities of childhood which ultimately foreshadow and resemble the challenges of adulthood. The score includes the songs "Day Is Done," "Puff (The Magic Dragon)," "I Have a Song to Sing, O," and others. The Idaho Statesman states that this work "shows what sets this company apart - a depth of emotional eloquence that adds resonance to every movement." The costumes were created by Sandra Woodall, McIntyre's longtime collaborator who designed his commissioned works at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Stuttgart Ballet, among others.
The engagement also includes Bad Winter, a new work that premiered in February 2012 in the company's hometown of Boise, Idaho. This two-part dance begins with a wistful solo performed by Chanel DaSilva set to Arthur Tracy's 1937 recording of "Pennies From Heaven." The solo leads into a poignant duet that is seamlessly intertwined with the stirring lyrics, piano, and strings of "That Home" and "To Build a Home," by The Cinematic Orchestra, an acclaimed British jazz and electronic group. Tara Morgan of Boise Weekly describes the work as "perhaps the most achingly beautiful dance I've seen by TMP." The duet will feature Travis Walker and guest artist Lauren Edson, who is a 2005 alumna of The School at Jacob's Pillow Contemporary Program.
The program concludes with the world premiere of LADIES AND GENTLE MEN, featuring music and poetry from the seminal recording, book, and television special, Free to Be…You and Me. A collaboration between Marlo Thomas and members of The Ms. Foundation for Women, most notably Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Free to Be… was originally released in 1972 as a recording with celebrities such as Harry Belafonte and Mel Brooks narrating children's stories that tackle issues of tolerance, openness, gender neutrality, and positive relationships. Free to Be… was adapted into an illustrated book that recently celebrated its 35th Anniversary in 2008. The concept was subsequently adapted into an Emmy-Award winning television special as well as an award-winning play.
LADIES AND GENTLE MEN was conceived when members of the original Free to Be… team, including Alan Alda and Pogrebin, attended TMP's 2010 performance at Jacob's Pillow. They were so impressed with McIntyre's work that after the performance they met him backstage to offer him the rights to the Free to Be…material, which McIntyre immediately accepted. "The album and TV special played a huge role in his [McIntyre's] upbringing, and he certainly considers himself to be a Free To Be kid," says" says John Michael Schert, TMP dancer, co-founder and Executive Director. With special permission from the Free to Be Foundation, Trey McIntyre Project uses original recordings performed by Alda, Diana Ross, and Shirley Jones in LADIES AND GENTLE MEN, including "William's Doll," "When We Grow Up," and "Dudley Pipin and His No-Friend." The work will also feature re-recordings of the songs "Sisters and Brothers" and " My Dog is a Plumber," performed by artists such as Merrill Garbus and Alan Cumming, respectively. This world premiere will feature six dancers with costumes by TMP's Designer in Residence Andrea Lauer and lighting design by the company's Producing Director Travis C. Richardson.