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The Times They Are A-Changin'
-Onstage with the Dancers


November 1, 2006
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
The Playbill cover for The Times They Are A-Changin' shows a brilliant western sunset and red, rough-hewn arrow-signs. This was what I expected, and this was what I wanted - to re-live the music and passion and social conscience of another era and of a beloved blues/folk singer. I used to collect Bob Dylan "tapes". He made me feel empowered and thoughtful. The current political climate of this nation could use some social conscience, and the "time for change" was perfectly ripe. Unfortunately, the new show at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre is anything BUT a social conscience. It is, rather, quite violent and seamy, with men dressed like human dogs, half of cows, bald, affected clowns, trained bears, circus manager with whip, jump-roping "boys", all in a nightmarish circus on trampolines, stilts, ropes, lighted props, and a bevy of stuffed animals, with a couple of women as dancer, singer, whatever, all an incredible leap of faith to the Bob Dylan genre and repertoire. The only song that seemed to resonate as Dylan was "Blowin' in the Wind", to simple guitar and harmonica. That was the soulful stuff of Bob Dylan, the simplicity, honesty, courage, and talent, the music that stuck in the brain and re-played all day. Tonight, I did not leave the Brooks Atkinson humming or re-winding.

Twyla Tharp, Director/Choreographer, is a superb choreographer, a great aesthetic designer, a dancer in her own right, and an artist of many skills. Her In the Upper Room in the American Ballet Theatre repertoire, is a masterpiece, and I will review this work again. Her Movin' Out had a book with meaning and dance that flowed seamlessly. Honestly, I do not see what Twyla Tharp has to do with Bob Dylan. I do not see his music as rhythmic to athletic dance and acrobatic genre. Ms. Tharp is an award-winning artist, and so is Bob Dylan. The connecting thread is far-fetched.

Michael Dansicker, who supervised, arranged, and adapted the music with Bob Dylan, is a talented pianist, composer, arranger, voice coach, author, and more. His own musical, Twenty Fingers, Twenty Toes, was unfettered and infectious. The pure music and lovely story flowed easily. The actual orchestrations of the Dylan music included, rightly, harmonica, guitar, drums, banjo, bass, piano, and more, and the voices were strong and clear. Michael Dansicker could well write a musical embedding Bob Dylan's signature music in a warm, simple tale. Twyla Tharp could actually create a dance using one or two of Dylan's songs. And, Bob Dylan could open his own solo show, as did Charles Aznavour, at a substantial theatre, and draw a crowd to hear the authentic voice, the memorable music, the emotional drive, and the lyrics with a conscience. That, alone, would be worth the ticket.

When you are on the way or returning from a Broadway dance show or just going out for a really nice dinner, stop by Amarone, Ninth Avenue, between 47th and 48th Streets. They have the best wines and cognacs, fava bean salad, fresh and varied pastas, seafood, and everything prepared with Italian flare. Ask for Tony, and tell him you saw them on ExploreDance.com.




Conceived by Twyla Tharp
Music and Lyrics by Bob Dylan
Starring Michael Arden, Thom Sesma and Lisa Brescia
Cast: Lisa Gajda, Neil Haskell, Jason McDole, Charlie Neshyba-Hodges, Jonathan Noson, John Selya, Ron Todorowski, Alexander Brady, John Herrera, Alaine Kashian, Katie Klaus, Keith Kühl, Marty Lawson, Joseph Putignano, Cary Tedder, Jason Wooten
Scenic and Costume Design by Santo Loquasto
Lighting Design by Donald Holder
Sound Design by Peter Hylenski
Ochestrations by Michael Dansicker and Bob Dylan
Music Direction by Henry Aronson
Music Coordination by Howard Jones
Casting by Jay Binder, Jack Bowdan/Megan Larche
Technical Supervision by Smitty
Production Stage Management by Arthur Gaffin
Association Producers: Jesse Hout, Ginger Montel, Rhoda Mayerson
Resident Director: Kim Craven
General Press Representative: Shaffer-Coyle Public Relations
General Management: The Charlotte Wilcoz Company
Music Arranged, Adapted and Supervised by Michael Dansicker
Directed and Choreographed by Twyla Tharp
Produced by James L. Nederlander, Hal Luftig/Warren Trip, Debra Black, East of Doheny, Rick Steiner/Mayerson Bell Staton Group, Terry Allen Kramer, Patrick Catullo, Jon B. Platt/Roland Sturm

Michael Arden, Lisa Gajda and Charlie Neshyba-Hodges in The Times They Are A Changin'

Photo courtesy of Bruce Glikas


Michael Arden and Thom Sesma in The Times They Are A Changin'

Photo courtesy of Richard Termine


Lisa Brescia and Michael Arden in The Times They Are A Changin'

Photo courtesy of Bruce Glikas


Lisa Brescia and Jason McDole in The Times They Are A Changin'

Photo courtesy of Richard Termine

 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net