New Tony Bennett Ballet Incorporates The Legendary Singer’s Hand-Drawn Artwork


Tony Bennett is known internationally for his work as a musician. His career spanned 70 years, culminating in his latest album, Love for sale, which was produced in collaboration with Lady Gaga and released last month. Despite this praise, relatively few people know that Bennett is also an accomplished visual artist and has been drawing and painting for almost as long as he has been singing. Zigzag, a new ballet at the American Ballet Theater choreographed by Jessica Lang, is set to the music of the legendary singer and also makes sure to show off his talent in the visual arts.

The set serves as a showcase for Bennett’s designs and was designed by Emmy-winning designer and Tony Derek McLane, whose other projects include Moulin Rouge on Broadway and several iterations of the Oscars. With two simple zigzag lines as the background, three different Bennett pieces appear behind the dancers as a selection of Bennett’s recordings, including a duet with Gaga, play.

The design shown here was made by Bennett. Adding to the star power of the show, the costumes were made by Carolina Herrera’s creative director, Wes Gordon.

Photo: Rosalie O’Connor
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“Tony Bennett did so many amazing drawings and paintings, it was a challenge to choose at first. But there were really two things I wanted to accomplish with his works. One was to create a romantic view of New York City at night, which I tried to do with the long horizontal cityscape, based on one of his drawings, ”McLane says. A D. (Mr. Bennett’s original was actually a daylight view). The designer’s other goal was to celebrate the legacy of the “Fly Me to the Moon” crooner using drawings of musicians he made. “Sir. Bennett clearly has a great affection for the band members he plays with. Honestly, if I could, I would have used 10 more of his designs,” McLane says.

Zigzag is taking place at Lincoln Center’s David H Koch Theater as part of the “Theater, Ballet & An American Icon” program through October 31.

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