Now in its ninth year, APASSIONATA Europe's most successful live entertainment show, featuring more than 40 horses and seen by more than five million fans in over forty cities, will make its North American debut on April 27, 2012, at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. The new show entitled "The Beginning" will kick off an eighteen month, sixty-six city arena North American tour.
The show plays Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ (New York) June 1-3. Other tour cities announced include Charlotte, Norfolk, Greenville, Baltimore, Raleigh, Atlanta, Detroit, Toronto, Indianapolis, Washington D.C., St. Paul, and Pittsburgh [see website information for each venue at the end of the release]. See photos of the horses in action below!
For almost a decade this theatrical sensation, with original music scored specifically to work with the horses, has enchanted families and horse lovers alike with the finest horsemanship, including magnificent dressage and exhilarating stunt riding, highlighting the natural elegance, nobility, speed and agility of these animals. Different breeds – including Friesians, Bretons, Welsh-Arab Cross, Lusitanos, Icelandic Ponies, Arabians, Shetland Ponies and Donkeys – have been brought together from Europe and North America to create this evocative, thrilling theatrical event, where everything from the courageous to the compassionate, and complex to the comic is observed.
The show's success in Europe has been so remarkable and consistent that producer-creator Peter Massine and his American producing partner Tanya Grubich were motivated to bring the experience and excitement of APASSIONATA to North America, which boasts the largest equine interest in the world.
Massine said, "As APASSIONATA has grown to performing for over 545,000 people during its annual 30-city tours of the capitals of Europe, we are eager to introduce the show to the United States and Canada. Our main aim is to provide entertainment for the whole family. Whether you are young or old, everyone enjoys the two hours they spend with our horses."
APASSIONATA will be a sponsor of the annual Kentucky Derby Festival as part of the US launch.
Until APASSIONATA, horses had been seen by the public in competitive horse shows, dressage exhibitions, competitive racing, and American rodeos – but in APASSIONATA, Massine entirely re-envisioned how horses could be brought to the stage in a thrilling, dramatic and mesmerizing theatrical presentation.
Starting in 2003, APASSIONATA became an immediate sensation wherever it played. Soon after in 2004, the show began receiving accolades honoring creative and business endeavors including last year's PRG Live Entertainment's "Best Show" award, among the highest honors in live entertainment on the European continent.
When Massine originally created APASSIONATA, he sought out legendary horsemen and women of Europe, many of whom had spent their lives working with these animals or have continued the lineage of families that have worked with horses for generations. These equipes cross over many breeds of horses, and the wide range of how horse and man have interacted with each other.
"Although showmanship is an important component of APASSIONATA," Massine said, "this isn't just a show about what kind of tricks humans can train horses to do, or how fast they can be ridden, or how high can they jump. When I was a boy in Northern Germany, horses were a part of our everyday lives. It was only later when I lived in cities, that I understood how important that connection with horses was to me as a child. If we could re-create the relationship between man and horse on stage, we would have the basis for a magnificent entertainment. And with the success we've had with this show so far, I think the public would agree."
Massine and Grubich are taking great care in bringing APASSIONATA to North America. The full care and feeding and transportation of the equine cast of more than forty is a major logistical undertaking. The European horses need to be carefully introduced to their new North American environment, as well as be conditioned to new horses acquired here for the cast. The show plays arenas on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but from Monday to Thursday the horses are housed and cared for in one of eight fully equipped and staffed centers, strategically located around the continent.
In addition the producers have brought together an award winning, critically acclaimed, Broadway creative team for its North American debut tour. This team is lead by director Scott Faris, working with Holger Ehlers, Author, Artistic and Musical Director of the European tour, to bring all the elements together for the North American production. Faris has staged a dozen productions of the Broadway musical "Chicago," "EFX!" at MGM Grand, "Bette Midler – The Showgirl Must Go On" at Caesar's Palace, George Lucas' "Live Adventure" in Japan, and "Walking With Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular," which played a record-breaking forty month North American arena tour. He was a veteran of the "Siegfried and Roy" team at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.