Choreographer Matthew Bourne, leader of his London-based Adventures in Motion Pictures company, shot to fame when his gay version of “Swan Lake” took the West End and Broadway by storm after being premiered at London’s Sadler’s Wells theater in 1995.
Though he changed the swans from hens to cobs, cast a man — Royal Ballet star Adam Cooper — in the leading female role of Odette/Odile, and set the whole thing close to the present, his was no mere assault on a classic love story. Not sensationalist, but sensational, Bourne’s “Swan Lake” re-created the work in his own original style. Odette — classically a tragic heroine — became a symbol of temptation who threw the minds of others (and likely many in the audience) into a whirl. In 1999, Bourne’s transformation of the fairy tale into a powerful human drama won him Tony Awards both for Best Director of a Musical and Best Choreography.
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