(Rosalyn Sulcas’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/13; via Pam Green.)  

The Théâtre du Châtelet is reopening after a two-and-a-half-year makeover, with a new artistic director and an inclusive new mission.

PARIS — The workmen were everywhere. Backstage and onstage, they were hammering, banging, gluing, carrying, laying tarpaulin, shimmying up ladders and shouting, “Attention!”

In the auditorium, a team checked the red velvet seats, making sure that each was in the correct position. On the stage, performers rehearsed, apparently oblivious to the controlled chaos all around.

“Parade,” a ballet whose original production was a collaboration between Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso, premiered at the Châtelet in 1917.CreditElliott Verdier for The New York Times

It was a week before the scheduled opening, on Friday, of the Théâtre du Châtelet, one of Paris’s most famous stages, which has been closed for a two-and-a-half year, $34.7 million renovation. In one of the lobbies, a large table had been set up for a group of inspectors who had spent the morning examining every aspect of the renovation. They were deciding whether to give formal permission for the theater to open.

“It’s all going to be fine,” said Ruth Mackenzie, the Châtelet’s artistic director. “That’s what I keep telling everyone.” (She was proved right; the commission pronounced a “favorable verdict” at the end of the day.)

Ms. Mackenzie, 62, is small, forthright and cheerful. When asked about her, everyone said the same thing: She is a powerhouse who doesn’t take no for an answer.

(Read more)

Photo: The New York Times

 

 

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