The deep musicality of Mark Morris’ innovative choreography finds its perfect partner in Burt Bacharach’s timeless and sophisticated melodies. The internationally celebrated Mark Morris Dance Group makes its Southwest Virginia debut with “The Look of Love,” an homage to the legendary late hitmaker Bacharach, on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Moss Arts Center.
A towering figure of popular music, Bacharach is known for soaring melodies influenced by jazz, rock, and Brazilian music — his longtime lyricist Hal David providing unsentimental, poignant lyrics. Favorites such as “Walk on By” propel Morris’ deceptively simple, yet glorious movement.
Co-commissioned by the Moss Arts Center, this evening-length work features original choreography by Morris and new musical arrangements by Ethan Iverson, performed by an ensemble of piano, trumpet, bass, and drums, with singer, actress, and Broadway star Marcy Harriell on lead vocals. Famed American fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi created the glowingly hued costumes for the production.
“For many years, I’ve wanted to see my music reimagined in some kind of theatrical production — not just a jukebox musical formula of songs, but an original work with its own story and appeal,” Bacharach said. “I’ve found an ideal collaborator in Mark Morris, whose brilliant choreography and deep musicality give songs new meaning and dimension through movement. Like a great melody, his dances evoke an atmosphere and inspire feelings, and I think that’s just what the world needs now. I’m excited to see how Morris and his creative team bring my songs to the stage in ‘The Look of Love.’”
The production features many of Bacharach’s chart-toppers, including “What the World Needs Now,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” and “Always Something There to Remind Me.”
Morris formed the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980 and has since created over 150 works for the company. Much in demand as a ballet choreographer, Morris has created 22 ballets since 1986, and his work has been performed by companies worldwide. Noted for his musicality, he began conducting performances for the Mark Morris Dance Group in 2006 and has since conducted at Tanglewood Music Center, Lincoln Center, and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). He was named a fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991 and has received 11 honorary doctorates to date.
This performance is supported in part by gifts from Ms. Ann Goette and Joseph A. Hopkins and Linda W. Hopkins.
Tickets for the performance are $25-$65 for general audience and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.