One of the music world’s most iconic albums is set to be celebrated by the inventive and exhilarating Mark Morris Dance Group. Pepperland is a unique tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Clubs Band and comes to Norwich Theatre Royal on April 23-24.
Created by Morris himself, it was commissioned at the request of the City of Liverpool to kick off the album’s birthday celebrations in May 2017.
It features an original score by Ethan Iverson which mixes new arrangements of the likes of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With A Little Help From My Friends, When I’m Sixty Four and Penny Lane, plus six original pieces inspired by the album.
A mix of voice, saxophone, trombone, keyboards and percussion will aim to highlight the non-rock-and-roll elements of the music.
This will combine with the ingenuity, musicality, wit and humanity for which the company is known.
Some stunning brightly-coloured costumes and an innovative set will also ensure the piece is a feast for all the senses.
For Mark Morris, the album is very important because of the impact it had on popular culture. He said: “Beatlemania in the UK, and particularly in the US, was a pivotal event in the turbulent social and political semi-revolution of the late 1960s.”
“As a very young person, I was dazzled and confused by the music. I loved it and I loved The Beatles. Then, over the years, I lost touch and lost interest partly because of overexposure. When I was approached to participate in the commemorative project in Liverpool, I re-examined the recording and found so much of interest in it that I eagerly took on the big project of turning these very familiar songs into a music and dance show. Pepperland is the exciting result.”
The composer Ethan Iverson is promising some fantastic music. He said: “Half the piece will be arrangements of the songs we all know. The other half will be brand new danceable pieces responding to the strong undercurrent of classical music present on the original album.”
Mark Morris formed the company back in 1980 and they have won international critical acclaim for their work.
Live music and community engagement are key elements of what they do and as well as performing, the Mark Morris Dance Group aims to provide educational opportunities through dance to people of all ages and abilities while on tour or via their base in Brooklyn, New York.
The group is coming to Norwich Theatre Royal as part of the venue’s commitment to the Dance Consortium, a group of 20 large UK theatres who share a passion for engaging people with contemporary dance from different parts of the world.
Pepperland will be at the Norwich Theatre Royal on Tuesday 23-Wednesday 24 April at 8pm and Wednesday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets £10-£32.50. Discounts for Friends, Over-60s and Under-18s.
To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.