From its 1994 San Francisco inception to its various Broadway runs in 1997, 2004, and now, 2013, Luis Bravo’s FOREVER TANGO has always brought dazzling dance excitement to the stage. This latest edition runs through September 15, 2013 and brings with it a new brand of excitement as it is currently featuring (through August 11th) the celebrated dance pairing of Maksim Chmerkovskiy and the very lovely Karina Smirnoff.
The couple, renowned for great success on the popular television program, Dancing With the Stars, has a wide following as evidenced by the enthusiastic groupies and fans now flocking to the Walter Kerr Theatre. That enthusiasm is certainly justified.
When the curtain first rises on the misty starlight hovering above the orchestra, the accordion-heavy sound quickly transports us to the romantic world we are about to enter. With the exception of occasional fine vocal and instrumental solos, the dancing presides majestically throughout the performance. The show features much more than the aforementioned celebrated stars, as the full company includes a total of 16 brilliant dancers forming the couples who dazzle the audience with myriad interpretations of the art of the Tango. The fine onstage orchestra offers a somewhat unique sound created by the musical blending of four accordions and five strings, with both piano and keyboard adding to the glow.
Occasional solo moments from accordion, violin or piano were added highlights of the performance. And speaking of solos, the vocal honors were offered by special guest vocalist and Grammy Award-winning singer/composer, Luis Enrique.
Widely known as The Prince of Salsa, Enrique is featured in performances through Sunday, August 18th. Joined by the visual grandeur of the dancers, the vocal performance of his popular hit, “Yo No sé Mañana,” was the homerun that anchored the show as it both opened and closed Act II with the audience solidly clapping along in delight all the way through the spectacular full company encore.
In my work as a critic I am generally disinclined to use the press quotes so generously supplied by producers, but in this case one passage seemed to capture this show’s essence so well that I must close by sharing it with my readers:
Forever Tango is music, drama, culture, and a way of life. The popularity of tango has exploded all over the world. Sensuous and sophisticated, the tango is a feeling that you dance. A story is channeled through the flick of the leg, the tug of a hand, the tap of a foot, and the arch of an eyebrow. It’s passionate, yet melancholic. Tender, yet violent. You dance it with somebody, but it is so internal, you dance it by yourself.
Forever Tango has returned to the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 W 48th Street), its original Broadway home. Performances continue through Sunday, September 15, 2013. The performance schedule: Tuesday through Saturday at 8 pm with 3 pm matinee performances on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are available via telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200/(800) 432-7250. Prices range from $30.00 to $149.00 with premium seating ranging from $175 to $199. Groups of 10 or more can be purchased through telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6262 in New York or (800) 432-7780 outside the NY Metro area.