Rutgers Symphony Orchestra to perform "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" Feb. 26, 27 at State Theatre

The Rutgers Symphony Orchestra and American Repertory Ballet will once again collaborate at New Brunswick's State Theatre, this time to present A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a new full-length ballet. Performances will take place Thursday, February 26, 2015, at 8 p.m. and Friday, February 27, 2015, at 8 p.m. and will showcase Mason Gross School of the Arts student-artists in a professional setting.

The enchanting fairy-filled forest of William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be brought to life on the stage of the State Theatre in this world-premiere ballet conceived by American Repertory Ballet’s artistic director, Douglas Martin. Music will be performed by the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra with special guests from the Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir.

With new choreography, costumes, and sets, the full-length ballet features a score by Felix Mendelssohn that “brilliantly evokes the fantastical world of Shakespeare’s play,” says Kynan Johns, conductor and director of orchestras at Rutgers University.

Having Mason Gross musicians and singers bring Mendelssohn’s “rich, beautiful music to life” in a live performance is essential to the ballet, says Martin, who pitched the idea to Johns shortly after wrapping up 2013’s  collaboration, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.

“All of the performance energy happening in the orchestra doubles or triples the energy onstage,” Martin says. “There’s nothing like it.”

The events are a natural fit for the theater, says Warren R. Zimmerman, the interim president and CEO at the State Theatre, because they foster partnerships between a variety of cultural groups within the city.

“We are proud to continue our collaboration with the Mason Gross School,” Zimmerman says. “Part of our mission is to connect and engage with the community, and Rutgers is the perfect partner.”

George B. Stauffer, dean of the Mason Gross School, says he’s particularly happy to see one of the school’s music ensembles working in the realm of dance.

“The State Theatre collaboration is a wonderful way to build bridges with American Repertory Ballet,” Stauffer says. “We are deeply committed to dance at the Mason Gross School, and this partnership underscores our commitment to the future of dance in New Brunswick.”

For Johns, the return to the State Theatre was a “no-brainer.”

 “There is nothing like performing to a full audience in a great venue.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will take place on Thursday, February 26, 2015, at 8 p.m. and Friday, February 27, 2015, at 8 p.m. at the State Theatre, 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick. Tickets are $27 to $57. Rutgers students, faculty and staff: use promo code LoveRU for special discounts.To purchase tickets, visit www.statetheatrenj.org or call 732-246-7469. For more information about any Mason Gross event, visit www.masongross.rutgers.edu or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 848-932-7511.

Posted January 2015