Milwaukee Ballet Puts Oscar Wilde’s Words to Movement in 'Dorian Gray'

Feb 10, 2016

In his tenure as artistic director of the Milwaukee Ballet, Michael Pink has developed a number of new works - from Dracula to Peter Pan and Mirror, Mirror. His newest, Dorian Gray, is based on the Oscar Wilde novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

While it’s Pink’s newest work, it has been in development for a long time. Dorian Gray gets its American premiere Friday night at the Pabst Theater.

The ballet depicts the story through both dance and spoken word. The role of Lord Henry is played by actor James Zager.

“When James speaks the wonderful words of Oscar Wilde, they are corruptive, they’re seductive, they’re the words that really manipulate the situation. And the beauty is in the unspoken word, which of course is the physical form of dance,” says Michael Pink.

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the story of a young man, Dorian Gray, who sells his soul to Lord Henry so that he may remain young, while a painting of his young self ages for him. The piece explores the concepts of beauty, morality and corruption.

“As always with our work, because there is so much about the movement in the storytelling, it should again engage our audience in an internal dialogue,” says Pink.