Dancers Jody Anderson & Alexander Bayo. Photographer Don Middleton.
Dancers Jody Anderson & Alexander Bayo. Photographer Don Middleton.

Choreography: George Balanchine
Music: Richard Rodgers/Hershy Kay

George Balanchine originally choreographed Slaughter on Tenth Avenue in 1936 for the musical On Your Toes, in which Ray Bolger played The Hoofer and Tamara Geva portrayed The Stripper. The show was a parody of Broadway, Russian ballet, and the mob. Briefly told, it is the story of a jealous Russian premier danseur who hires a mobster to kill a rival during the premiere of a new ballet.

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue is the story of a tacky strip joint and the customer who falls in love with the Big Boss’ girl. On Your Toes was the first of four Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musicals choreographed by Balanchine. It was followed by Babes in Arms, I Married an Angel, and The Boys from Syracuse.

Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) met Lorenz Hart in 1918 and began to collaborate with him, producing many songs for musicals and revues on Broadway and in London’s West End. After Hart’s death in 1943, Rodgers began collaborating with Oscar Hammerstein II resulting in many successes such as Oklahoma, Carousel, Allegro, The King and I (choreographed by Jerome Robbins) ,The Sound of Music, and South Pacific.

Hershy Kay (1919-1981) established himself as a preeminent orchestrator of musicals with Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town in 1944. His works for the ballet include CakewalkClownsWestern SymphonyThe ConcertStars and StripesWho Cares?, and Union Jack. A composer in his own right, Hershy Kay also reconstructed Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s Grande Tarantelle for Piano and Orchestra, which later became the Balanchine ballet Tarantella.


World Premiere: February 5, 1970 by the New York City Ballet,
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, New York City

Kansas City Ballet Premiere: October 27, 1994, Lyric Theatre


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