Isaac Mizrahi Directs ‘Peter & the Wolf’ at the Guggenheim

December 3rd, 2013

“Peter &amp the Wolf” swiftly turned a holiday custom at the Guggenheim Museum following it was initial presented in 2007. Every calendar year, a various artist generates installations to visually interpret the tale, punctuated by the narration of Isaac Mizrahi, the style and layout impresario. This 12 months, for the very first time, Mr. Mizrahi is transforming a live performance with artwork and storytelling into a total theatrical creation underneath his command: He is directing the actors and developed the set and the costumes.

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Isaac Mizrahi, standing at middle, with, from left, Julie Cunningham as the Bird, Macy Sullivan as Peter, Daniel Pettrow as the Wolf, Lindsey Jones as the Cat, and the choreographer John Heginbotham, rehearsing “Peter &amp the Wolf.”

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From significantly left, Daniel Pettrow, Macy Sullivan and Lindsey Jones rehearsing “Peter &amp the Wolf,” which opens Saturday at the Peter B. Lewis Theater in the Guggenheim.

As narrator, Mr. Mizrahi has often used a variety of accents and sounds to accompany Prokofiev’s 1936 musical fable about the boy who disobeys his grandfather and crosses a wolf. Now, audiences get to see Peter, the Wolf, Grandfather and all the other characters dancing and acting on a phase Mr. Mizrahi has transformed into Central Park. The choreography is by John Heginbotham, a previous Mark Morris dancer and founder of the Dance Heginbotham business. There are 10 displays from Saturday via Dec. 15, with every long lasting a little one-friendly thirty minutes.

“This is like bringing it to life,” Mr. Mizrahi stated, talking prior to a latest rehearsal at the museum’s Peter B. Lewis Theater. He expended a great deal of time that working day directing the Wolf (Daniel Pettrow, whose costume is a grey hoodie and furry gray tail) to thrash in time to the audio. “The moment I started out doing the show, I experienced tips about how to stage it and to make it into this stay presentation,” Mr. Mizrahi stated of his many years as narrator, a role he will keep. George Manahan will also resume his yearly position conducting the Juilliard Ensemble.

“Each performer is acquiring his own certain dance vocabulary,” Mr. Heginbotham stated. “The hen is a ballerina. Peter’s movements are a tiny more contemporary. “The cat has a form of Bob Fosse, slinky, alluring vocabulary.”

Mr. Mizrahi grew up in Midwood, Brooklyn, listening to Leonard Bernstein’s recording of “Peter and the Wolf.” He did significantly of the casting for the display, making use of eccentric costumes to evoke the people. His buddy Maira Kalman, an illustrator, designer and writer, is the duck (in a tutu and flippers at rehearsal). He noticed his friend Gus Solomons Jr., a veteran dancer and choreographer, as Grandfather. He’s outfitted in a purple fez, as a “kind of Shriner, this really cultured dude,” Mr. Mizrahi explained.

Look for Peter (Macy Sullivan) in the gray blazer of a college uniform and a pinwheel cap. The bird (Julie Cunningham) is a blue jay dressed like a baseball mentor. The cat (Lindsey Jones) is in a cardigan sweater and a ski cap.

The large leap for “Peter &amp the Wolf” is enterprise as common for Functions &amp Approach, the Guggenheim’s performing arts series. “A good deal of what we do is existing work that could or could not be a flop,” Caroline Cronson, the specific-events producer of the collection, explained. “We’ll see what the viewers thinks.”

Her “yes” to Mr. Mizrahi’s concept for the demonstrate was an effortless phone, she mentioned. After all, Mr. Mizrahi was a known entity, who had donated his time. He has also turn out to be a Tv set personality in latest a long time, with a portfolio that involves set and costume design (for the Mark Morris Dance Team and the San Francisco Ballet, amongst other people) and even cabaret singing.

Mr. Mizrahi created his directorial debut in 2010, with Stephen Sondheim’s “A Minor Night time Music” for the Opera Theater of St. Louis, creating the established and costumes as properly.

“He exceeded everyone’s expectations,” stated James Robinson, the theater’s inventive director. “He knows how to connect ideas, he can pull beautiful performances out of individuals, he is aware what he desires.” The manufacturing was effectively reviewed, and the performances sold out.

Mr. Robinson said he invited Mr. Mizrahi to St. Louis and enable him select a project after observing him as a guest judge on “Iron Chef America,” on the Food Network, and finding out the extent of his credits. Mr. Mizrahi will return to the Opera Theater to immediate “The Magic Flute” in May possibly, operating yet again with Mr. Heginbotham.

Mr. Mizrahi said the simplicity of “Peter &amp the Wolf,” an enduring, broadly interpreted preferred of children’s theater, appealed to him. Each sentence or paragraph provides you “exactly adequate information to flesh out the psychology of what is likely on with the diverse people,” he mentioned.

The musical fable was supposed to introduce children to the orchestra, with each character symbolizing an instrument. Strings portray Peter horns, the Wolf and the clarinet, the Cat.

At a rehearsal the other day, Mr. Mizrahi introduced his presence in the theater by exclaiming, “Oh, the boulders are right here,” as he spied the faux Central Park rocks onstage.

Right after the Wolf’s thrashing was synchronized with the defeat, Mr. Mizrahi suggested that he try howling. Then, he requested the Wolf’s captors — Peter, the Bird and the Cat — to give their prisoner a playful swat as they danced around him in a circle. When it was time for the clueless hunter (Derrick Arthur) to appear onstage, Mr. Mizrahi wanted to move some boulders.

“John is likely to eliminate me,” he said balefully of his zealous interventions.

“No, no,” Mr. Heginbotham said to reassure him.

The Wolf just howled.

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