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'Irene,' a vampire-themed world premiere, slated in Wilmington

01/28/2014 06:52PM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print, Arts+Entertainment

The First State Ballet Theatre’s world premiere of  “Irene” will be a special night of drama and passion. The show debuts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, at Wilmington's Grand Opera House.

“Irene” is the brainchild of Wilmington-based guitarist, teacher and composer Shaun Dougherty, who composed the music and libretto for the full-length work. First State Ballet Theatre dancer and choreographer Alex Buckner – who choreographed the company’s Delaware premiere of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and whose work was featured at the 2011 Delaware Arts Summit – will choreograph the piece for the 22-person professional company.

Company president and executive director Robert Grenfell said, “When Shaun proposed this collaboration, we saw immediately that its edgy, sophisticated, urban vibe could add a younger demographic – teens through thirtysomethings – to our typical audience. Since a key component of our mission is to educate the Delaware dance audience of the future, we jumped at the chance to work with Shaun. And the concepts we’ve developed in our production meetings have been fantastic.

“To further broaden our audience, we’ve invited some of Wilmington’s best known culturati to take walk-on roles in the ballet’s ballroom scene,” Grenfell said.

An all-Delaware production, “Irene” will feature a live pit band, including a 12-person string section, a percussion section, pianist, Dougherty on guitar and a conductor. The music is vibrant and rock-inspired, the staging will be dark and mysterious, and the choreography will feature Buckner’s blend of classical and contemporary technique, infused with humor and pathos.

Tickets are available at 1-800-37-GRAND or online at

wilmington first state ballet theatre grand opera house

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