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‘Free to Be … You and Me’

Seminal program inspires dance for Trey McIntyre Project


 For those who experienced Marlo Thomas’ and Alan Alda’s 1970s star-packed television special “Free to Be … You and Me,” which questioned outdated gender roles and influenced children’s self-image, the upcoming program by the Trey McIntyre Project at the Sun Valley Pavilion will no doubt continue that mind expansion into today’s world.
    The international, innovative dance team now based in Boise will perform “Ladies and Gentle Man,” its newest work, Friday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. Tickets can be found at and range in price from $15-$115.
    The TV special included Mel Brooks, football hero Rosey Grier singing “It’s Alright To Cry,” Alda’s poems and stories about growing up with fairness and equality, and even a young Michael Jackson with Roberta Flack singing “When We Grow Up,” about becoming and loving who you are. “William’s Doll” is a song about a boy who wants a doll, and only grandma can see how it will make him a more tender dad in the future.
    The special was Thomas’ brainchild, a way to teach her niece about life and to refute the gender bias in children’s literature. It benefited the Ms. Foundation for Women.
    When Alda caught the Trey McIntyre Project dancing Jacob’s Pillow in 2010, he approached McIntyre about developing a work around the original special’s content. That gave the troupe the rights to the catalogue and provided some celebrity-recorded contributions. The result is being hailed by critics as some of McIntyre’s most innovative choreography to date.
    The full company will perform “Leatherwing Bat” and “Bad Winter” as well.

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