NYCDA executive director Joe Lanteri with dance legend Bebe Neuwirth on the red carpet (photo via @nycda on Instagram)

The annual New York City Dance Alliance Foundation fundraising gala, "Bright Lights Shining Stars," is usually a star-studded affair. But last night's 2017 event proved to be extra epic, thanks to tons of superb performances and appearances by some of Broadway's best—and most legendary—dancers.

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Playbill

Well, if you're Broadway vlogger and dance newbie Tyler Mount, super-easy! In a special video for Playbill.com, Broadway CATS Christine Cornish Smith, Tyler Hanes and Ahmad Simmons lead Mount through a phrase from the feline-tastic musical's opening number, "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats."

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Photo by Jeremy Daniel

When a Broadway show invites you to take a backstage tour, you go. When that show happens to be the dancey new hit Bandstand, you MOST DEFINITELY go—and you livestream the whole thing so everyone else can get in on the #backstageparty magic too.

That's exactly what happened the other night, when we got to follow ensemble dancer Morgan Marcell through her pre-show routine at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Marcell told us about her typical warm-up, showed us her dressing room and even let us watch her rehearse some of the show's moves onstage with her dance partner Ryan Vandenboom and Bandstand's dance captain Marc A. Heitzman.

It. Was. Everything. 🎉🎺⭐️🎶😍✨🎭

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Dance News

Hot new musical alert! Producers announced last week that Bandstand, a super dance-y new show and one of Andy Blankenbuehler's latest projects, will open on the Great White Way in April 2017. Hamilton heavyweight Blankenbuehler, who led Bandstand's original creative team during its initial run at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2015, is serving as both director and choreographer.

The jazzy show is set in a 1945 nightclub and centers on a radio contest searching for the next big swing band. So far, the only cast members announced are the leads: Tony nominee Laura Osnes (known for Cinderella), who plays a singer and WWII widow named Julia, and Corey Cott (of Gigi), who plays Donny, a singer/songwriter and WWII veteran hoping to win the contest.

"As a director, I'm so lucky to be involved with a show that is so rich in emotion and heart," Blankenbuehler said to BroadwayWorld.com. "As a choreographer, I'm over the moon to be dancing to a score that sizzles like nothing else on Broadway."

And he's not kidding. Check out the promo video from the show's Paper Mill run and get excited, because the choreo is seriously FIERCE. ?

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Broadway on TV alert! Broadway on TV alert! PBS is airing a new documentary this week that gets down and dirty with the team behind the current revival of Annie.

"Annie: It's the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage" zooms in on the creation of a single number in the show (that'd be "It's the Hard-Knock Life," of course). There's a ton of interesting footage of both the super-talented orphans and the awesome creative team—including one of our all-time faves, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler—at work. You'll get a look at everything from the costume and set designs to the dance rehearsals. And naturally, there's plenty of the cast of orphans just being their insanely cute selves.

The film airs this Friday, June 28 at 9 pm EST (click here to check your local listings). In the meantime, take a peek at this trailer, which features Blankenbuehler doing his not-to-be-missed "angry orphan" face:

Dance News

Backstage at BroadwayCon 2017, Hamilton's Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler told DS all about his new Broadway show Bandstand, which starts previews March 31. Set in 1945, Bandstand follows a ragtag group of just-returned World War II veterans forming—what else?—a swing band, so they can enter a national talent contest. Whether you're a longtime Hamilfan or just dream of dancing for a top Broadway choreographer like Blankenbuehler, trust us: this exclusive Q&A is major motivation.

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Dance News

Breaking news, Broadway babies! The Cats revival casting has finally been announcedand it's a fabulous who's who list of major dance celebs.

The London Cats revival (courtesy DKC/O&M)

Leading the way is the amazing Ricky Ubeda as Mr. Mistoffelees. The "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 11 winner is no Great White Way newbie: He made his official Broadway debut last year, when he joined the ensemble of On The Town. But it is his first time playing a major role—and showing off his singing chops solo!

The list also includes other On The Town alums: New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin as Victoria (aka the super graceful "white cat"), and Jess LeProtto (also of Newsies and "So You Think You Can Dance") as the mischievous Mungojerrie.

Other highlights? Shonica Goodenfresh off her Hamilton runwill play Rumpleteazer; New York City Dance Alliance all-star Kolton Krouse will make his Broadway debut as Tumblebrutus; and fellow NYCDA kid Corey Snide, a Juilliard grad who was one of Billy Elliot's Billys, will play Coricopat.

One thing's for certain: This cast of A-list dancers + Andy Blankenbuehler's choreo is sure to = Broadway gold. The production officially opens July 31. Get your tickets now, and check out the full casting list here.

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Happy month of endless Hamilton celebration Tonys season, Broadway fans! This morning, delightful Book of Mormon alums Andrew Rannells and Nikki M. James announced the 2016 Tony Award nominees. Can you guess which show not only dominated the list, but actually broke the Tony nomination record—which, fun fact, was previously held by The Producers and Billy Elliot? We'll give you .5 seconds. (Don't throw away your shot.)

That's right: In a surprise to pretty much nobody, Hamilton led this year's Tony pack, picking up a staggering 16 noms. That includes nods in all the "biggie" categories (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score), a slew of acting nominations and—YAY!—a nom for genius choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler. In fact, the Best Choreography category is crowded with fantastic names this year, including Savion Glover for Shuffle Along and Hofesh Shechter for Fiddler on the Roof.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) and the fabulous dancers of Hamilton (photo by Joan Marcus, courtesy Hamilton)

Full list of nominations is below. Tune in to the 70th annual Tony Award ceremony June 12 to see what promises to be a fabulous set of performances—and to find out who takes home what. (And hey, Hamilton fans: Get ready for our July/August issue. Just you wait...just you wait.)

Best Play

Eclipsed

The Father

The Humans

King Charles III

Best Musical

Bright Star

Hamilton

School of Rock—The Musical

Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Waitress

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Blackbird

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Noises Off

Best Revival of a Musical

The Color Purple

Fiddler on the Roof

She Loves Me

Spring Awakening

Best Book of a Musical

Bright Star, Steve Martin

Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda

School of Rock—The Musical, Julian Fellowes

Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, George C. Wolfe

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Bright Star (Music: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell / Lyrics: Edie Brickell)

Hamilton (Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda)

School of Rock—The Musical (Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber / Lyrics: Glenn Slater)

Waitress (Music & Lyrics: Sara Bareilles)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Jeff Daniels, Blackbird

Frank Langella, The Father

Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III

Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Laurie Metcalf, Misery

Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed

Sophie Okonedo, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Michelle Williams, Blackbird

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Alex Brightman, School of Rock—The Musical

Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof

Zachary Levi, She Loves Me

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Laura Benanti, She Loves Me

Carmen Cusack, Bright Star

Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple

Jessie Mueller, Waitress

Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Reed Birney, The Humans

Bill Camp, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

David Furr, Noises Off

Richard Goulding, King Charles III

Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Pascale Armand, Eclipsed

Megan Hilty, Noises Off

Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans

Andrea Martin, Noises Off

Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Daveed Diggs, Hamilton

Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress

Jonathan Groff, Hamilton

Christopher Jackson, Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple

Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton

Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me

Jennifer Simard, Disaster!

Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin

Christopher Oram, Hughie

Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

David Zinn, The Humans

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Es Devlin & Finn Ross, American Psycho

David Korins, Hamilton

Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

David Rockwell, She Loves Me

Best Costume Design of a Play

Jane Greenwood, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Michael Krass, Noises Off

Clint Ramos, Eclipsed

Tom Scutt, King Charles III

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting

Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me

Ann Roth, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Justin Townsend, The Humans

Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Howell Binkley, Hamilton

Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening

Justin Townsend, American Psycho

Best Direction of a Play

Rupert Goold, King Charles III

Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Joe Mantello, The Humans

Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed

Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Direction of a Musical

Michael Arden, Spring Awakening

John Doyle, The Color Purple

Scott Ellis, She Loves Me

Thomas Kail, Hamilton

George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton

Savion Glover, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof

Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea

Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan

Best Orchestrations

August Eriksmoen, Bright Star

Larry Hochman, She Loves Me

Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton

Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

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