8 June 2015 at 5.30pm | Comment on this article
Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has won his first Tony Award at the 69th annual ceremony in New York. Christopher attended the awards at Radio City Music Hall, where he called the tribute a ‘fantastic honour’.
The stage adaptation of An American in Paris is based on the 1951 classic musical starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. This current production had its world premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris before moving to the Palace Theatre on Broadway.
In his acceptance speech, Christopher paid homage to the original work, saying that ‘every movement in this show is born from the music of the Gershwins’. The musical features some of the Gershwin brothers' best-loved hits including Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm and Our Love is here to Stay.
The Broadway production was a new venture for the classically trained choreographer - in his acceptance speech he highlighted his talented cast, calling them ‘quadruple threats’ and joking ‘in case you’re wondering it’s the pointe shoe that makes them quadruple!’
An American in Paris earned a leading 12 nominations at the Tony’s this year, taking home four awards including Bob Crowley and 59 Productions for Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Natasha Katz for Best Lighting Design of a Musical.
Wheeldon trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with the Company from 1991–93. Since his retirement from dancing in 2000, he has created several works for The Royal Ballet including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 2011 and The Winter's Tale in 2014, which will return to the Royal Opera House in April 2016.
Christopher’s win in New York coincides with The Royal Ballet Tour to the US. The Company is currently in Washington D.C. where they will perform at The Kennedy Center, before traveling to Chicago and New York. The three-week tour showcases the work of resident choreographers, Liam Scarlett, Wayne McGregor and of course, Christopher Wheelan. Carlos Acosta’s Don Quixote will also be performed.
Casting for the Royal Ballet Tour to the USA has now been announced. Tickets are still available for tour performances by The Royal Ballet in the USA. These can be booked from the various theatres’ websites.
The Royal Opera House would like to thank all tour supporters and Aud Jebsen for her support of The Royal Ballet touring programme.
Christopher Wheeldon returns to the Royal Opera House with a mixed programme of three one-act ballets, including one world premiere from 12 February–11 March 2016. General booking opens 21 October 2015.