Premiered 2/11/04, but Malcolm had to cancel due to a film.
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Character Actor
Narrator Malcolm McDowell
The Rest Joffrey Ballet Players

Written by Gertrude Stein



Because of a movie-filming conflict, Malcolm McDowell won't be able to narrate the Joffrey Ballet's production of Frederick Ashton's "A Wedding Bouquet" next month at the Auditorium Theatre. McDowell, who starred with Neve Campbell in Robert Altman's "The Company," which is about the Joffrey Ballet, will be replaced by Nicholas Rudall for the Feb. 11-22 engagement.


CHICAGO SCENE: Movie thug makes leap to ballet booster. NWI Times 

    Malcolm McDowell ("A Clockwork Orange") is known for playing civilized villains in flicks like "I Spy." But the silver-haired Brit is fast emerging as a patron of local dance.
    He's "in awe" of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, McDowell said. The troupers "are amazing. The dedication to be a dancer, it makes us actors look pathetic," he praised.
    It was the start of a beautiful friendship when McDowell flew here last year to film "The Company," director Robert Altman's upcoming drama about a troubled Joffrey dancer (Neve Campbell) and the choreographer (McDowell) who senses her potential. To prepare for his role, McDowell spent weeks tagging after JBC chief Gerald Arpino, the model for his character.
    His alter ego's enthusiasm proved contagious.
    Arpino "is the most amazing man. He's an extraordinary man, a great talent, and I think Chicago is very lucky to have him," McDowell said.
    "He's pretty tough," he continued. "He may come on like he's the sweetest thing, but he gets his own way. ... I've never seen anyone work a room like Gerald Arpino. He's such a diplomat and politician. If he wasn't, the Joffrey would cease to exist. Honestly, he's single-handedly kept the company alive. I love him for that."
    McDowell is true to his word; he returned to Second City this month to rehearse a real collaboration with Arpino's outfit. The actor has signed on to narrate "A Wedding Bouquet," a Frederick Ashton piece (based on a Gertrude Stein work) for the Joffrey's salute to Ashton in spring 2004. "It's a narration with the music, like a spoken song," he explained. "Thank God they're not asking me to dance!"


Malcolm and Kelley went to Chicago to meet at the Joffrey Ballet on Monday 9/1. It was for the rehearsal for "A Wedding Bouquet". The choreologist with England's "Royal Ballet" who is running it was there and this was the only time he had free in his calendar to rehearse before the Feb. 2004 premiere.


Because of his role in The Company, Malcolm is going to be doing a narration for the Joffery ballet in Chicago in Feb 2004. He will be there live and in the flesh unless a big job arrives. It is for a revival of Sir Frederick Ashton's "A Wedding Bouquet" at the Auditorium Theatre.

Sir Frederick Ashton, the founding choreographer of Britain's Royal Ballet, was one of the most beloved and prolific ballet choreographers in recent history. Despite his demise in 1988, his legacy lives on as we celebrate his 100th birthday with an all-Ashton program in the spring of 2004.


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