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Matthew Bourne
Swan Lake

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake
Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake debuted in London in 1995 and took Broadway by storm in 1998, winning three Tony and five Drama Desk Awards. Swan Lake has become the longest running ballet in the West End and on Broadway, and has been seen by audiences all over the world. The hit production will return to New York for a strictly limited run, from October 13th through November 7th at New York City Center.

Nick Orlando recently spoke with Bourne about the production's return to New York.

Nick Orlando:  Swan Lake was last on Broadway in 1999. How did you decide it was the right time to bring your production back to NYC?

Matthew Bourne:  I knew I wanted it to be seen again. I spent a lot of time working on the production in between. This version premiered last November. It is exciting, but scary as well. I wonder if it will still embrace the New York audience.

NO:  How is this production different from the original?

MB:  If you saw it back in 1998 or 1999 and then again today, you probably wouldn't think much has changed. The choreography is as I would like it to be seen and I did some beefing up of the drama. I thought we should be showing this version in New York.

NO:  Are there any differences between the American and British audiences?

MB:  The two audiences are not that far apart these days. The New York audiences are confidently vocal. New York has always been the best audience for us. We share a sense of humor—New York and UK.

NO:  Would you say New York has been your favorite audience to perform for?

MB:  Let's see this time around! We have taken this show all over the world. Audiences are completely different around the world. We've done the show in silence, where the audience goes crazy at the end.

NO:  Why do you think this ballet has been embraced by theatre audiences?

MB:  It's hard to describe. When you are watching, you feel as if you experience something you would expect from a Broadway show. You feel words have been spoken, even though there haven't. The story is universal in many ways. It's an evening of surprises. Once you have seen the show, you're surprised by what you are looking at.

NO:  What was your creative process like when you first created this show over ten years ago?

MB:  There were a lot of things being said—people said it's not going to work; you are not the right people to do it. We also heard from people who said they can't wait to see it; men in drag, etc. ... Once we got to rehearsals, we believed we had something that would work; we had to work on the idea. People could not picture male swans. When you watched, the male swans worked—it physically works, it wasn't a joke.

NO:  Why did you decide to cast men as the swans?

MB:  I am a contemporary choreographer and initially I felt that by having male swans, it would affect the story. But then, when I looked into real swans, I thought it was better—more masculine, more powerful. You could do this with female swans, but the idea of male swans seemed to have worked and it was exciting.

NO:  What are you working on next?

MB:  Cinderella for London. It has been done once before in London, back in 1997.

NO:  When will it premiere?

MB:  In November, at the Sadler's Wells Theatre; we will do an eight week run. I can only be in New York for the first week of [Swan Lake] performances and then I have to head to London. I would have loved to be here for the whole run.

NO:  What is your favorite thing about NY?

MB:  That is easy, theatre. I haven't been here for two years, so I haven't had a chance to see much. The last Broadway show I saw was South Pacific.

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake will play a strictly limited engagement from October 13th through November 7th at New York City Center (West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues). For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

-- Nick Orlando

Photo: Bill Cooper

About the author: Nick Orlando, a top performing sales and marketing representative, has more than nine years experience in the healthcare and media industries. Within the media industry, Nick has worked for WE TV, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, WCBS-TV, Cox Radio, "Saturday Night Live," and "Live with Regis and Kelly." Drawing on his diversified experience in radio and television, which ranges from programming to production to reporting, Nick formed NICO Productions in 2006, providing news and reviewer content on various entertainment, Broadway, music, film, and television topics.

Nick was born in Brooklyn and raised in Staten Island, NY, where he completed his studies. He received his B.S. in communications and marketing from St. John's University in 2005, where he was also inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society and Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Nick considers traveling, theater, music and working out his favorite leisure activities. Nick currently devotes some of his personal time to volunteering with One Brick and God's Love We Deliver.

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