ALICE (in wonderland) Artists

Left to right: Janessa Touchet; Sarah Hairston, Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy students; Maizyalet Velázquez | Photography: Peter Mueller

ALICE (in wonderland)


Carmon DeLeone | Music Director

Carmon DeLeone, Music Director of The Cincinnati Ballet, The Middletown (OH) Symphony, and Conductor Laureate of The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra possesses an impressive list of accomplishments. At New York's Carnegie Hall, he has served as Conductor and Host of the Family Concert Series with the Orchestra of St. Lukes. He has conducted frequent performances in Europe with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, and has been named the Illinois "Music Director of the Year." Under Mr. DeLeone’s leadership, The Illinois Philharmonic was twice named the “Illinois Orchestra of the Year.”

As a composer, he most recently premiered his Fanfare, Funk and Fandango (An American Dance Set). He has composed many original scores for the ballet, most recently his Princess & the Pea. His best known work, the full-length ballet in two acts, Peter Pan, is enjoying continued praise in major cities from coast to coast, as well as overseas. Maestro DeLeone conducted the debut of Peter Pan in London during a 28-performance run with the Atlanta Ballet at the prestigious Royal Festival Hall. His list of ballet score creations also includes FrevoGuernicaWith Timbrel and Dance Praise His Name, and Ruth Page's Billy Sunday, which was nationally televised in 1983.
During his 12-year tenure as Assistant, and later Resident Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Maestro DeLeone served on its staff with Music Directors Max Rudolf, Thomas Schippers, Walter Susskind, and Erich Kunzel. He was also selected personally by Maestro Erich Leinsdorf to participate in an intensive master conducting seminar at Lincoln Center.

Maestro DeLeone earned B.M., B.S., and M.M. degrees from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. He served at CCM as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Opera and Music Theatre. He has been presented with the Conservatory's "Distinguished Alumni Award."
Maestro DeLeone is very pleased to have made his New York conducting debut with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for their season-opening gala performance of Carmina Burana and Revelations at New York's City Center. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and was immediately re-engaged to host and conduct all of the following year's series of Family Concerts.
 Maestro DeLeone is a proud recipient of Cincinnati's most prestigious "Post-Corbett Award" for excellence in the arts and was recently named as “A Gentleman Of Style And Substance” by Cincinnati Magazine. He lives in Cincinnati (North Avondale) with his wife of 40-plus years, Kathleen.

James Kronzer | Scenic Designer

James Kronzer resides in Washington DC where he has designed shows for The Shakespeare Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theater, Signature Theater, Woolly Mammoth and Studio Theatre among others. He has also designed scenery for Washington Ballet’s recent production of Cinderella. His work has been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway and regionally in Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Atlanta, Denver, Florida, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Boston, Vermont and Knoxville. His numerous national tours include The Wizard of Oz, Seussical the Musical, Thomas Live!, Backyardigans, Showboat and Barbie Live in Fairytopia. He has been Design Coordinator for the National Tours of Spamalot for Phoenix Productions and Shrek, Drowsy Chaperone, The Producers, Fosse and Annie for NETworks. He has designed shows for Norwegian Cruise Lines as well as a new musical for Disney Cruise Lines called Twice Charmed. His work has also been seen on TV for numerous comedy
specials for Showtime and Comedy Central featuring Whitney Cummings, DL Hughley, Louie Anderson and Jim Gaffigan among others. He began his career as a Design Assistant for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theater in London. Awards he has received include eight Helen Hayes Awards (DC) and two Barrymore Awards (Philadelphia). He is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and is a member of United Scenic Artists. More of his work can be seen at


Matthew Pierce | Composer

Matthew Pierce was born into a family rich in artistic talent. His parents gave him his start in the world of music in 1976 with formal violin training, and also instilled in him an appreciation for the regional bluegrass and American folk music of his father's Tennessee roots. After completing his Masters of Music at The Peabody Conservatory, he moved to New York and abandoned the classical violin performance avenue he initially sought and became a prominent member of the downtown Off- Broadway theater scene. As resident composer of HERE Theater he won a Meet the Composer grant, wrote many incidental and dance scores and performed a selection from his opera, The Cry Pitch Carrolls at the 1999 Village Voice Obie Awards. Because of his early exposure to the ballet world (his brother Benjamin is a former principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet), Pierce developed a special passion for the music of dance. He has written ballet scores for Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Ohio Ballet, Ballet Met, Cincinnati Ballet, Miami Ballet, New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet. Night, a full orchestra score set to a Chagall inspired dreamscape ballet has been seen at the Opera Garnier in Paris, Covent Garden in London and City Center in New York. His most recent work for San Francisco Ballet, Imaginal Disc was voted "Best Cultural Event of 2003" by the San Francisco Chronicle. John Schaefer has featured Pierce's work with the guitarist Byron Estep in their new music duo The Unsung String Duo on the National Public Radio show New Sounds. Pierce has also performed on recordings by pop artists Jewel, Sheryl Crow and Suzanne Vega and on Philip Glass' score, Kundun and is currently a professor of violin and the orchestra director at Five Towns College in Long Island, NY.

Clifton Taylor | Lighting Designer

Clifton Taylor is pleased to be returning to the Washington Ballet to work with Septime Webre. Previously he has designed Oui/Non for the company as well as all the ballets for the Jazz Blues Project. At the Kennedy Center, his work has also been seen with the National Symphony Orchestra, the American Ballet Theater, Alvin Ailey, Lar Lubovitch, Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco, Sardono Dance Theater, and Dance, the Spirit of Cambodia. Mr. Taylor has created lighting, projection and scenic designs for theater, dance and opera companies around the world. Broadway credits include: Jay Johnson: The Two and Only (Ovation Award & LA Drama Critics Circle Nomination), Frozen (Lortel Nomination), Hot Feet, (Henry Hewes Nomination).

In addition, Mr. Taylor is a sought after teacher and lecturer on theatrical lighting especially in the area of color. In 2002 he was awarded a grant from the Asian Cultural Council to develop and teach a course in design for the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In 2003, he led a master class for Indonesian theatrical designers in Solo, Indonesia. He has taught at the Broadway Lighting Master Class since 1997, and is a former member of the Juilliard School’s Dance Faculty. In addition, he has guest lectured throughout the US at major universities and professional conferences. Mr. Taylor was educated at New York University and resides in New York City with his family. More information can be found at

Liz Vandal | Costume Designer

Liz Vandal began her career as a fashion designer in 1988. Her style was inspired by futuristic superheroes and medieval armor. She used materials such as vinyl, plastic and polyurethane to bring her fantastic creations to life.

In 1990, Vandal began working closely with Édouard Lock, founder of the Montreal dance company La La La Human Steps. She designed the costumes for his shows Infante c'est destroy (1991), 2 (1995), Exaucé/Salt (1999), Amelia (2002), André Auria (2002) for the Opéra de Paris, Amjad (2007) and Nouvelle Création (2012).
Other choreographers and dance companies turn to Vandal regularly because of her ability to combine costumes and body movement. She has worked for la Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Margie Gillis, Bill Coleman, José Navas, O Vertigo, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, The Washington Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, Mannheim Theater and Stuttgart Ballet (Germany), among others.
Since founding her company in 1992 with partner Yveline Bonjean, Vandal has created and innovated costumes in the fields of fashion, theatre, opera, music and film. The Backstreet Boys hired her to design the costumes for their Black & Blue tour and her work appeared in the films The Lathe of Heaven directed by Philip Haas and La Turbulence des fluides directed by Manon Briand, both released in 2002.
In May 2009, she designed costumes for Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, which was Vandal’s first collaboration in the wonderful circus world. For several years, Vandal has collaborated with The Washington Ballet. She designed costumes for Carmina Burana, Juanita y AliciaCarmen, Journey Home, Rite of Spring and Oui\Non.
For ALICE (in wonderland), Vandal has partnered with MTI Company to collaborate on the high technology fabric transformation, bringing technology into tradition.

Eric J. Van Wyk | Puppet Designer

Eric J. Van Wyk, Puppet Maker, received his M.F.A. in Scenic Design from the University of Maryland—College Park and his B.A. in Fine Arts from Dordt College and is excited to make his debut with The Washington Ballet. His credits at the Children's Theatre Co. in Minneapolis include being Scenic Designer for Mercy Watson to the Rescue!, Babe, The Sheep-Pig, Puppet and Scenic Designer for The Biggest Little House in the Forest, Puppet Designer for A Wrinkle in Time, Cinderella and Puppet Consultant for Bert & Ernie, Goodnight! Minneapolis credits also include Open Eye Figure Theatre's Milly & Tillie as Scenic Designer, The Holiday Pageant as Assistant Scenic Designer and the Guthrie Theater’s 39 Steps as Assistant Shadow Puppet Designer. Regional credits include the scenic design of Breath, Boom! at the Studio Theater 2nd stage and the puppetry design of The Neverending Story at Imagination Stage. He is a recipient of a 2009 Jim Henson Foundation Seed Grant for his shadow puppet work O the Sky! and a Puppeteers of America grant for his puppet design of Aslan for the upcoming production of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe with Imagination Stage and the Washington Ballet. Eric thanks his wife and son for inspiration and enjoying objects in motion.

Septime Webre | Choreographer 

Septime Webre was appointed artistic director of The Washington Ballet in June 1999 after six years as artistic director of American Repertory Ballet in New Jersey. Much in demand as a choreographer, he has created works that appear in the repertoires of many companies in North America, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Austin, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Hawaii, and Colorado Ballet, among others. As a dancer Mr. Webre was featured in works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Antony Tudor, Alvin Ailey, and Merce Cunningham, as well as in principal and solo roles from the classical repertoire. Mr. Webre has frequently judged numerous international ballet competitions including those in Varna, Bulgaria; Istanbul, Turkey; Cape Town, South Africa; Boston, Massachusetts, and the Youth America Gran Prix in New York. He sits on the board of directors of Dance/USA, and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington. He has been honored by Young Audiences of the District of Columbia and has received a number of fellowships for his choreography. Mr. Webre is the seventh son in a large Cuban-American family and he graduated from the  University of Texas with a B.A. in history/pre-law.

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