European Equine Spectacle Announces Tour

Europe’s most successful live entertainment show

“The Beginning”
— featuring more than 40 horses –

APASSIONATA “The Beginning” makes its North American debut April 27, 2012 in Louisville, KY, followed by an initial eighteen-month, sixty-six-city arena tour

Tickets on sale Friday, February 24 for Louisville, Charlotte, Norfolk, Greenville,

East Rutherford NJ, Baltimore, Raleigh, Detroit, and Toronto engagements

Los Angeles, (Davidson and Choy) – APASSIONATA, Europe’s most successful live entertainment show, featuring more than 40 horses, announces that it has engaged an award-winning creative team for its North American debut tour, beginning April 27, 2012 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.

The show, now in its ninth year in Europe, has played to an audience of more than five million in over 15 countries.  It now comes to North America for the first time with an initial eighteen-month tour.   Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 24 for engagements in Louisville, Charlotte, Norfolk, Greenville, East Rutherford NJ, Baltimore, Raleigh, Detroit, and Toronto [see website information for each venue at the end of the release].

Producers Peter Mass ine

and Tanya Grubich are taking great care bringing APASSIONATA to North America, and have brought together an award winning, critically acclaimed, Broadway creative team for the show’s debut here.

This team, lead by director Scott Faris working with Holger Ehlers, Author, Artistic and Musical Director of the European tour, will stage a new APASSIONATA production, “The Beginning,” especially for this tour.  Faris is joined by costume consultant William Ivey Long, lighting designer Ken Billington, and choreographer Lorin Latarro.

Faris has staged a dozen productions of the Broadway musical “Chicago,” “EFX!” at MGM Grand, “Bette Midler – The Showgirl Must Go On” at Caesar’s Palace, George Lucas’ “Live Adventure” in Japan, and “Walking With Dinosaurs – The Arena  Spectacular,” which played a record-breaking forty month North American arena tour.  He was a veteran of the “Siegfried and Roy” team at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

Director Faris said, “The show brings together top class horsemanship and many exotic breeds of horses not often seen in the US. APASSIONATA gives the audience an experience that will not be forgotten.   The intense communication between horse and rider will thrill horse enthusiasts and audiences of all ages.”

Joining Faris is five-time Tony winning costume consultant William Ivey Long; the recent production “Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway” marked Long’s sixty-first Broadway credit.  Long has collaborated with director Susan Stroman nine times, including “The Producers” (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Awards), “Young Frankenstein,” “The Music Man,” “Contact,” and “Crazy For You” (Tony, Outer Critics Circle Awards).  Other Broadway credits include Grey Gardens (Tony Award), Hairspray (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Awards), The Boy From Oz, Guys and Dolls (Drama Desk Award), and Nine (Tony, Drama Desk, Maharam Awards).  Long designed costumes for the Rolling Stones Steel Wheels Tour and for Siegfried and Roy at the Mirage Hotel.

Lighting designer Ken Billington has designed over 150 Broadway and off-Broadway shows including “Chicago,” “Fame,” “Lily Tomlin in The Search for Signs,” “Candide,” “Annie,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Side by Side by Sondheim,” and “On the Twentieth Century.”   His projects also include “Fantasmic!” at Disneyland, “Jubilee!” at Bally’s Las Vegas, supervising “Riverdance,” and for 26 years, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. Ken is the recipient of the Tony, Drama Desk, Los Angeles Drama Critics, and Ace Awards, as well as the Lumen for his architectural lighting.

Choreographer Lorin Latarro choreographed Encore’s “Fanny” at City Center, “Live From Lincoln Center” for PBS and Green Day’s “American Idiot” (Associate).   As a performer, Lorin has been in 14 Broadway shows including lead roles in “Movin’ Out,” “Guys and Dolls,” “A Chorus Line,” “Fosse,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” and “Spamalot.”  She has danced with Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp and Momix.

Internationally acclaimed teams of equestrians joining APASSIONATA “The Beginning” include Sylvie Willms of the renowned Willms Family, who has devoted itself to the training and art of riding of thoroughbred horses for more than 300 years in both Belgium and France. Sylvie has been with APASSIONATA since 2003 and wows audiences with her superb freestyle Liberty Dressage and Friesian Quadrille.

Also coming to North America is team Valença, trained by Luis Valença. The reputation of this legendary grand master of the Portuguese School of the Art of Riding precedes him worldwide. Valença and his daughters have devoted their lives entirely to the training of Lusitanos and their horses have mastered to perfection various riding styles including Iberian Quadrille and Garrocha, which will be reflected in their riders’ brilliant skills.

One of France’s most talented equestrians, Laurent Jahan, will bring both his impressive exhibition of donkey comedy and his Pony Fantastique with the massive Breton, a stunning breed of draft horse. Jahan patiently spent more than three years training his donkeys, who have become fan favorites in APASSIONATA.


For almost a decade this theatrical sensation, with original music scored specifically to work with the horses, has enchanted families and horse lovers alike with the finest horsemanship including magnificent dressage and exhilarating stunt riding, highlighting the natural elegance, nobility, speed and agility of these animals.  Different breeds – from Shetland ponies to Friesians – have been brought together from Europe and North America to create this evocative, thrilling theatrical event, where everything from the courageous to the compassionate, and complex to the comic is observed.

The show’s success in Europe has been so remarkable and consistent that producer-creator Peter Massine and his American producing partner Tanya Grubich were motivated to bring the experience and excitement of APASSIONATA to North America, which boasts the largest equine interest in the world.  When Massine originally created APASSIONATA, he sought out legendary horsemen and women of Europe, many of which had spent their lives working with these animals or have continued the lineage of families that have worked with horses for generations.  These équipes cross over many breeds of horses, and the wide range of how horse and man have interacted with each other.

APASSIONATA is also proud to be a sponsor of the annual Kentucky Derby Festival as part of the North American launch.

Please visit for the tour schedule.

Tour Dates, Venues and Cities

April 27-29             Freedom Hall                         Louisville, Kentucky                    

May 4-6                   Bojangle’s Coliseum              Charlotte, North Carolina           

May 11-13               Scope Arena                           Norfolk, Virginia                         

May 18-20               Bi-Lo Center                          Greenville, South Carolina          

June 1-3                  Izod Center                            East Rutherford, New Jersey      

June 8-10                1st Mariner Arena                   Baltimore, Maryland                    

June 15-17              RBC Center                            Raleigh, North Carolina              

July 13-15                Joe Louis Arena                     Detroit, Michigan                        

July 20-22                Ricoh Coliseum                     Toronto, Ontario