Milwaukee Ballet to perform 'Dorian Gray'

Posted at 7:13 PM, Feb 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 22:27:19-05

The Milwaukee Ballet will debut a unique production over Valentine's Day weekend. The company is preparing a show called "Dorian Gray" for the Pabst Theater. We were invited to a dress rehearsal behind the scenes.

Lunchtime at the Milwaukee Ballet means a moment to refuel and have some body work done. It's an important afternoon: the first dress rehearsal for the new production.

But before they begin, Wardrobe Mistress Krista Allenstein shows us around.

"This is the costume shop that we're going into-- they're very busy with Dorian Gray right now," says Allenstein.

The room is for tailoring and also arranging flowers for the costumes. Part of Krista's job involves shoes and cleaning.

"These are the ladies shoes, the point shoes. This is where I clean the tutus-- this (tutu) is never washed-- I can do a little bit of hand work on it but we can't dry clean it it would destroy it."

She also must dye shoes.

WEB EXTRA: Go behind the scenes of the Milwaukee Ballet

"We had a show called something blue and every point shoe had to be a specific type of blue to match their dress."

 Then Krista takes us into the basement.

"This is where we store a lot of our costumes that are waiting for the next performance."

She shows us some slippes that look like lizard feet.

"These are actually the geese feet for The Nutcracker."

How many people can be surrounded by boxes labeled Dracula... And rows and rows of elaborate costumes? This former stay at home mom loves it, especially the international flavor. She keeps an atlas detailing hometowns.

"We have people here from Ireland, Australia."

 That's just to name a few. Now we're getting close to rehearsal and Krista goes back to work. It's a fast pace as she helps dancers find leotards, shoes and gloves.

The show is a world premiere created by Artistic Director Michael Pink and based on the book "The Picture of Dorian Gray." It's described as the story of an innocent young man's seduction, moral corruption and eventual downfall. 

"It'll be interesting how it's done. it's not a children's production at all, for that wait until Alice in Wonderland which we're doing in May," says Allenstein. "But it will be great. It's over Valentine's Day so that can be a fun date night."

The cast and crew can't wait to showcase what they've been working on.

"I love when we start-- the leading up to that point I have more butterflies. Once we start you just go, I always say it's like a juggernaut-- it will plow through whether we're ready or not, it will be great."

This is the first "story ballet" at the Pabst Theater which means they're using a spoken word actor. The show debuts Friday, February 12 and runs two weekends.