Make Sure You’re Smarter Than a 5th Grader When It Comes to José Limón

From John Lennon to Johann Gutenberg, no one, it seems, is safe from becoming fodder for a musical. The President. The President-elect. Those totally crazy-but-lovable Edies of Grey Gardens. Now we can add to the list famed dancer and choreographer José Limón, whose unfinished memoir has been adapted for a new family musical called José Limón: The Making of an Artist.

It’s kind of like Shrek (also recently given the musical treatment), only instead of a green ogre with a donkey for a best friend, the main character is a Mexican immigrant who ultimately becomes one of the greatest modern dance choreographers of all time. Brought to us by Making Books Sing, a New York City–based company that creates kid-friendly theater, José Limón makes its world premiere later this month with a three-borough tour that includes performances at Symphony Space.

Don’t be put off by the “kid-friendly” label – Making Books Sing, which began 13 years ago as an offshoot of NYC’s highly acclaimed Vineyard Theatre, is known for top-notch productions like 2007’s A Shelter in Our Car. You might have to share a theater with a bunch of schoolchildren, but you won’t have to miss a night out to catch the performances, which take place in the mornings and afternoons.

Don’t live in New York? School yourself by renting Jose Limon – Three Modern Dance Classics, a DVD which features three of his most famous works from the ’40s and ’50s: The Moor’s Pavane, The Traitor, The Emperor Jones.