The original show opened in Britain in 1997 where it was seen by then Center Theater Group artistic director Gordon Davidson who booked it into the Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre. Thus L.A. became the American launch of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake before it went on to become a Broadway and international phenomenon. Along the way, Matthew Bourne showed how danced theater could be a game changer for both arts.
Bourne kept the Tchaikovsky score but turned the classical ballet from a tale of some once upon a time kingdom into a recognizable contemporary British monarchy, replaced the female corps with male dancers in feathered knickers, and transformed the lead swan into a male who comforts and seduces the neglected prince then goes on to entice and seduce the queen herself.
And now Bourne is back, his show’s 20-year old audacity still ringing curiously true. As the British crown reels once more from revelations about a current prince’s involvement with a notorious sexual predator, the return of the ballet continues to resonate.
Ahmanson Theater, Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sun., 1:30 p.m. & 7 p.m., through Jan. 5; $35-$145. centertheatregroup.org.