Milken -- the Musical
September 16, 1996: 8:32 p.m. ET

Disgraced financier's life becomes hip-hop, techno-music ballet
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Michael Milken is back.
     But this time, he isn't the king of junk-bond financing.
     This time, Milken -- or at least a slick-headed fictional character with the same name -- stars in "The Predator's Ball," a new ballet satirizing 1980s financial excess.
     Choreographer Karole Armitage has picked the disgraced financier as the topic for a hip-hop, techno, rock-and-roll extravaganza that will play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this November.
     Named after the famous gatherings Milken held annually to boost his junk-bond empire, the ballet/theater/musical piece is, says Armitage "almost like a classical Greek story -- a rise to a very powerful position, and then the fall."
     Of course, unlike Armitage's ballet, neither Greek tragedies nor Drexel Burnham Lambert -- the now-defunct Wall Street firm that employed Milken -- were heavy on hula hoops or rap. (163K WAV) or (163K AIF)
     In real life, Milken -- despite serving time for securities-law violations -- hasn't disappeared from the public scene or the financial world.
     Though banned for life from the securities business, Milken spends time raising money for cancer, a cause he has championed after a bout with prostate cancer now in remission.
     And Milken has emerged as a merger adviser, reaping $50 million, for example, for his part in bringing together Time Warner Inc. and CNN parent Turner Broadcasting.
     But Armitage's show concentrates on vintage Milken -- the doomed relationship between him and arbitrageur Ivan Boesky, the other big-time bad guy in the annals of 1980s high finance (click here for QuickTime movie).
     "Milken," said Armitage, "was drawn to (Boesky) like being drawn to an abyss."
     Although we first see a more innocent Milken wowing his schoolmates with his intellectual prowess (click here for QuickTime movie), it is Boesky, in Armitage's version of the story, that makes the story go.
     "It's about this climb, the escalation," she said, "until Milken hooks up with Boesky -- and the dark side enters."Back to top


The Brooklyn Academy of Music

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