BalletX’s “Sunset, o639 Hours” Sept. 9-12

“Sunset, o639 Hours” choreographed by Matthew Neenan is the critically-acclaimed full-length ballet that interprets the dramatic true story of aviation pioneer Captain Edwin Musick and his fateful 1938 airmail flight across the Pacific. Six performances are scheduled as part of BalletX’s Fall Series Sept. 9-12 at The Suzanne Roberts Theatre, where capacity will be limited to 70 percent and patrons will need to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID test results. The safety restrictions are in keeping with current local and state guidelines and will continue to evolve.

“We are thrilled to be bringing Sunset back to our audience in Philadelphia after a successful tour to the Vail Dance Festival. Audiences jumped to their feet at the Ford Amphitheater and this work still resonates with patrons, featuring six new dancers and two new band members,” said Christine Cox, Executive and Artistic Director of BalletX.

A story of love, loss, and adventure, “Sunset” combines contemporary ballet with original music, played live onstage by a cabaret band on original instruments invented by Neil Feather. It was choreographed by Matthew Neenan and composed by Rosie Langabeer, Andrew Mars, Josh Machiz, and Isaac Stanford, immersing audiences in the world of the South Pacific by weaving together original 1930s-inspired songs, field tapes, and archival recordings. The work features set design by Maiko Matsushima, lighting design by Drew Billiau, costume design by Christine Darch, and sound design by Nick Kourtides.

“Sunset” had its world premiere with BalletX in 2014, followed by additional performances in 2016. Critics raved about it, with The Philadelphia Inquirer calling it “one of the finest works created in the company’s first decade.” This year, the Company brought back the full-length work – 80 minutes with one intermission – taking it on tour to the Vail Dance Festival, where they were the company-in-residence, and Ballet Sun Valley, coming up Aug. 22-23. The piece was selected to anchor Ballet Sun Valley’s inaugural second week of programming.

BalletX and the venue will continue to adhere to current COVID protocols to ensure the safety of its guests, performers, and crew. Policies may evolve based on local, state, and federal guidelines, but they currently include proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result required for entry, in addition to ticket; everyone must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose at all times while inside; no food or drink will be served during intermission; and house capacity will be limited to 70 percent. Timed entry is also being considered to help reduce crowding in common areas.

Tickets are $60-$70 and can be purchased online at BalletX.org or by calling the BX Box Office at 215-225-5389 x250. All seating will be General Admission. Performances are scheduled for: Thursday, Sept. 9 at 8p; Friday, Sept. 10 at 8p; Saturday, Sept. 11 at 2p and 8p; and Sunday, Sept. 12 at 2p and 7p.

The Suzanne Roberts Theatre is located at 480 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19146. It is one of more than a dozen cultural and performing arts venues that together make up the Avenue of the Arts along South Broad Street in Center City.

photo credit Alexander Iziliaev

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