“Peter Martins approached Stroman about creating a companion piece. Stroman went back to Duke’s music and created three additional sections, Frankie and Johnny…and Rose; Sunset; and Johnny’s Lament, which, when combined with Blossom Got Kissed, make for a full (and fantastic) consummate ballet.
Frankie and Johnny…and Rose is set to ‘The Single Petal of a Rose,’ ‘Love You Madly,’ ‘Such Sweet Thunder’ and ‘Frankie and Johnny.’ First we meet Johnny (Amar Ramasar) and Rose (Tiler Peck), who engage in a pretty, sweet pas de deux. The music has a great slow burn, and the beautiful dancing tells us that Johnny and Rose are lovers.
But then Frankie (Sara Mearns) appears. Uh oh! Johnny is about to be caught! Never fear – he’ll dance his way out of it. The music picks up now; we’re really getting into that great jazz swing. The movements have more flair, more character. Johnny dances with Frankie while trying to hide Rose. Rose is discovered and the two ladies give him what for, en pointe, of course. It was here that Peck’s sultry, black swan side came out. She looked sensational up there, strutting in a beautiful William Ivey Long costume, cut just so to make her look like a rose.
When Frankie and Rose finally leave Johnny, we discover the player has a third lady waiting in the wings. And thus we transition to Sunset, set to Duke’s ‘Sunset and the Mockingbird.’ Here, Laruen Lovette dances alone on stage.
The third vignette is Johnny’s Lament and it is set to ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.’ Here, Ramasar’s Johnny danced alone on stage to Duke’s great jazz tune. He looked like what I imagine some suave, sophisticated guy might be doing while getting ready to go out on the town. Dancing around the apartment with a jazz record playing, maybe a highball to get him going… But I digress. Ramasar was sexy and commanding here, clearly relishing both the music and the moves. This was the first time I feel like I got a glimpse at Ramasar’s personality. He’s always struck me as a skilled dancer, but his charisma shone here."