RPM Production’s mission of creating new works by interweaving the various disciplines of the performing and visual arts, has resulted in an exciting new project, “The Day of The Gypsy”. This full length story ballet inspired by gypsy jazz and the live music of the John Jorgenson Quintet premiered at the Harris Theatre of Music and Dance in Chicago on November 21 and 22, 2015. New and original sets, costumes, choreography and music composition were created.
This classic gypsy tale of magic, love, loss, and identity is brought to life through the athletic choreography of Gordon Peirce Schmidt and the incredible music of Grammy Award winning John Jorgenson and his Quintet performing live on stage with highly trained classical dancers. It's ballet, it’s farce, it’s sexy gypsy jazz, and a bit of gypsy magic all rolled into one. RPM’s November premiere of “The Day of the Gypsy” delighted, music and theatre fans of all ages.
Now it's time to take "DAY OF THE GYPSY" on the road.
For booking information please contact us at the address below, and have your audiences experience the "Moon Magic" that is
"DAY OF THE GYPSY"!
Gordon Peirce Schmidt has been choreographing and directing dance and theatre for the past thirty years. He is a recipient of numerous awards including a Prime Time Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Achievement-Cultural Programming, and two Ruth Page Awards for Choreography. Noted for his originality, musicality, and ability to create an emotional experience for the audience whether dramatic or comedic, he and his works have shared the stage with many great artists of the dance world, including ballet legends Maya Pliesetskaya, who included him in her biography I MAYA, and Rudolph Nureyev with whom he had the privilege of working with at the Vienna State Opera. He has also collaborated with renowned musicians performing in a variety of genres, (Bela Fleck, John Jorgenson, the Detroit Symphony, the DeVos Quartet, MaryAnn Beatty and his brother concert pianist Kimberly Schmidt); and has commissioned new compositions from various artists for the original work he is so well known for. His ballet, "By Django", a lively evocation of the jazz age, went on to become the signature work for Ballet Chicago, for whom he was resident choreographer between 1989-1995. During that time he co-founded and directed The Peirce Group, a dance, theatre, and performing arts company, and was named “Artist of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune.
From 1998 through 2010 Mr. Schmidt was the Executive/Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Under his direction the company received the ArtServe Michigan Governor's Arts Award for Outstanding Cultural Organization. Also under his direction and with his vision the company acquired its own building, constructing four beautiful studios and a state-of-the-art LEED certified 300 seat theatre for furthering the exploration and promotion of unique dance works. At that time he received commissions from the Detroit Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the West Shore Symphony and the Grand Rapids Art Museum to create works that would enhance their programming. To date he has created over 60 works for ballet companies around the world and has staged and choreographed numerous professional musical productions in the Chicago area and throughout the Midwest.
Music virtuoso John Jorgenson, known for his blistering guitar licks and mastery of a broad musical palette, has earned a reputation as a world-class musician and guitarist who has collaborated with the likes of Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan. In addition to acoustic and electric guitars, he is also regularly featured on the saxophone, clarinet, bouzouki, pedal steel, mandolin, vocals and has garnered recognition for contributing to numerous platinum-selling and GRAMMY-winning albums.
Currently touring as the John Jorgenson Quintet, Jorgenson creates a unique musical experience that equally enthralls the most discerning and the casual music fan. The group’s style has been called “gypsy jazz” after the dynamic string-driven swing created by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in 1930s Paris, but Jorgenson’s compositions draw in elements from Latin, Romanian, Classical, Rock and Greek music, so “21st Century World Music” is perhaps a more apt description.
2010 marked the 100th birthday of the great gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Since discovering Django in 1979, Jorgenson has become “the US Ambassador of Gypsy Jazz” which is quite an honor given the distinctly European slant of the music’s heritage. The John Jorgenson Quintet is the only American act to ever headline the prestigious Django Reinhardt Memorial Festival in France, and has been featured at other “Djangofests” in the US, UK, Germany and Canada. For the films Gattica and Head in the Clouds Jorgenson was tapped to recreate Django’s music, and in the latter he even appeared onscreen as Django with stars Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz.
Over the years Jorgenson has continued to honor the legacy of Reinhardt by bringing his unique brand of Gypsy Jazz to the masses. Adding to the international nature of the Quintet are Dutch bassist Simon Planting - well-known and respected in the gypsy-jazz community from his tenure with legendary Belgian guitarist Fapy Lafertin - and pianist John Jarvis. Noted session keyboardist and songwriter Jarvis has collaborated with musicians such as The Judds, Jimmy Buffet and Art Garfunkel. Filling out the Quintet are prodigious jazz violinist Jason Anick and veteran percussionist Rick Reed, renown for his intricate brush work and swinging drive. The combination of these five musicians creates a sound that is equally dynamic, romantic, driving, melodic and accessible.
Laura Schwenk Berman danced professionally with the Garden State Ballet, the Chicago Ballet, the Boston Repertory Ballet and for seven years with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. While with Pacific Northwest Ballet Ms. Berman performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov as part of the Pacific Northwest Ballet/Baryshnikov tour and danced in the film: “Nutcracker: The Motion Picture” directed by Carol Ballard, designed by Maurice Sendak. Ms. Berman has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. As a guest artist she has performed with the Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, Momenta! Performing Arts Company, Joan Lombardi Dance Company, Rondo Dance Theatre, The Pierce Group, and with American Repertory Dance Company helping to recreate the early works of American modern dance pioneer Doris Humphrey from labanotated scores.
Ms. Berman served as the ballet mistress, Interim Artistic Director, and Associate Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company from 1992-2010. During that time she conducted two capital campaigns to build beautiful new studios, offices and rehearsal space, as well as a state-of-the-art, LEED certified, 300 seat theatre of the company’s own. She also served as Director of the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company from 1998-2010.
Ms. Berman has choreographed works for Momenta! Performing Arts Company, Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, Northwestern University Dance Ensemble, the Cecchetti Council of America, the West Michigan Youth Ballet, the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and the Evanston Dance Ensemble. She has collaborated on numerous works with choreographer Gordon Peirce Schmidt and assists him in staging and rehearsing his over 60 original works. She also stages full-length classical ballets. Ms. Berman has taught dance at a wide array of institutions including the University of Washington, Northwestern University, Columbia College, Hope College, Loretta Heights College, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Chicago Academy for the Performing Arts, Oak Park Academy of Movement and Music, the Cecchetti Council of America, the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and its professional company. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Skidmore College and a Masters in Theatre from Northwestern University where she graduated with honors. Ms. Berman was featured in the "Amazing Women of West Michigan" publication.
Jeff Bauer has designed for most of Chicago's professional theatre, opera and dance companies including Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre,Wisdom Bridge, Northlight, The Remains, Chicago Opera Theatre, The Lyric Opera Center, Hubbard Street Dance, Ballet Chicago and the Joffrey Ballet. Mr. Bauer served as the designer in residence at both The Body Politic Theatre (six years) and Court Theatre (5 years), and has received The Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Scene Design (Pygmalion at Court Theatre) as well as five "Jeff" nominations. For the past 21 years Mr. Bauer's work has been devoted to creating designs for new world premiere opera, ballet and theatre works, including the following noted productions: John Logan's "The Picture of Dorian Grey" and "Showbiz" at Wisdom Bridge; "Frida: The Last Portrait" and "Comedians" at Court Theatre; and "Still Waters", "The Long Awaited", "Winter", "Fossils" (with Julie Harris), and "Trying" at Victory Gardens. Collaborations with Hubbard Street Dance include three world premieres, and for Ballet Chicago designs for Gordon Peirce Schmidt's, "The Gift of the Magi", "In a Nutshell", and "Gesualdo" (PBS Emmy Nomination). Also for Gordon Peirce Schmidt while at the Grand Rapids Ballet, "Dracula", "Caught in a Midsummer Night's Dream", "Cinderella", "The Prisoner of Zenda", "Can-Can!", "Peter Pan", "The Tempest", "Scheherazade" and "Jack The Ripper". Most recently Mr. Bauer has been engaged by the Joffrey Ballet to create set and costume designs for a new work by choreographer Edwaard Liang.
Mr. Bauer is on the design faculty of The Theatre School at DePaul University (25 years). He holds a BFA in Theatre and Music from Jacksonville University and an MFA in design from Northwestern University. He is a co-founder and Artistic Associate of RPM Productions.
For information on booking this production, please contact:
Laura Berman: email@example.com
Gordon Peirce Schmidt: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Bauer: email@example.com
1440 S. Michigan Ave. PH12
Chicago IL. 60605