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November 09, 2009

Doug Elkins and Friends Brings Frulein Maria to Hanna Theatre Nov. 20-21: Wink-filled dance ode to Sound of Music filled with laughs, surprises: Five local dancers cast in show

Doug Elkins and Friends will perform Frulein Maria, a downtown New York City take on the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music, in two cabaret-style performances at the Hanna Theatre in PlayhouseSquare, Friday, November 20, and Saturday, November 21, presented by DANCECleveland.

Tickets for the performances, starting at $15, can be purchased online at playhousesquare.org or call 216-241-6000. For group tickets, call 216-991-9000.

In addition to the cast from New York, five professional dancers from Northeast Ohio will dance in The Lonely Goatherd hip-hop segment. Local dancers selected by Elkins during a Cleveland audition include: Kelly Michael Brunk from Groundworks Dance Theater; Ellen Ressler Hoffman who has danced with Cleveland's Repertory Project (now Verb Ballets) and Footpath Dance Company; Amy Miller, Groundworks Dance Theater; Rebecca Nicklos, from MegLouise Dance and MorrisonDance; and Marie Zvosec, who danced with Ohio Dance Theatre.

Elkins, a Bessie Award-winning choreographer, is lauded for combining diverse dance styles in works that offer hilarious comment on contemporary culture. Frulein Maria is fast becoming a cult classic on the New York City dance scene where it has played to rave reviews at Joe's Pub at the New York Public Theatre.

Elkins' deconstruction of the Sound of Music is a decidedly grownup revue of this classic musical. References to Jos Limon and Paul Taylor rub elbows with breaking and Balanchine, and the incorporation of a host of club moves, vaudeville gags and syncopated rhythms make for a truly original take on everyone's favorite musical.

"Each dance is a jewel of choreographic invention and comic subtlety," says The New Yorker.

Elkins' fluid and musical style won him great acclaim in the 1990s when his company had regular seasons in New York and danced around the world, frequently in France, where he became known for his work with young break dancers as well as his melding of pop culture and high art. DANCECleveland presented Elkins' company in Cleveland in 1999 and 2001. Today, that company no longer exists, but Frulein Maria will include a cast of stellar dance "friends" not to mention Elkins himself, and an Ohioan making his professional debut, Devin Buchanan from Columbus.

DANCECleveland

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