As far as musical theater news is concerned, this week has been liiiiiiiiit. On Tuesday, we reported that Carousel is coming back to Broadway next year in a production featuring several New York City Ballet favorites. Now there's word that two more of our ballet/Broadway baes are at the helm of a new City Center Encores! production of the classic Brigadoon.
The New York Dance and Performance Awards—known fondly as the Bessies—are back! They're the dance world's Academy Awards, if you will. Named after dance pioneer Bessie Schonberg, the Bessies are more and more impressive each year. 2015's nominees are no exception.
The list is huge and sparkling. There's all the ballet that made headlines this year, from Alexei Ratmansky's production of The Sleeping Beauty (nominated for Outstanding Revival), to New York City Ballet principals Robert Fairchild and Amar Ramasar (both nominated for Outstanding Performer), to NYCB Resident Choreographer Justin Peck's Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes (nominated for Outstanding Production).
Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes in Alexei Ratmansky's The Sleeping Beauty (Photo by Andrea Mohin)
There's also a ton of fascinating work that really highlights what the Bessies are about—truly performing and pushing boundaries. Talya Epstein's performance in Star Crap Method is one to note, as is Xavier Le Roy's Outstanding Production nomination for Retrospective, which took place at MoMA PS1 last winter.
Outstanding Performer nominee Talya Epstein in Larissa Velez-Jackson's Star Crap Method (Screenshot via Vimeo)
The Bessies take place on October 19th and it's going to be a magical night for all of these deserving artists.
Dancers (including director Damian Woetzel, right) rocking out at the Vail International Dance Festival. Photo by Caitie Kakigi.
National Dance Day is this Saturday, July 27—and the town of Vail, Colorado, home of the awesome Vail International Dance Festival, is celebrating in style with a three-hour dance-a-thon fundraiser. (It'll benefit four dance-y organizations, including the Festival.)
While anyone and everyone is invited to participate, the event boasts some serious dancelebrities, too. There'll be performances by Vail IDF artists Tiler Peck, Robert Fairchild and Lil Buck, and internet sensation Matt Harding (from the great/hilarious "Where the Hell is Matt?" series) will be filming for his next video during the event. Not sure your moves are up to par? Lessons in everything from hip hop to line dancing will also be given throughout the day.
The dance-a-thon will run from 4-7 pm at the Solaris Plaza in Vail Village. But non-Coloradans can get in on the National Dance Day fun, too! Click here to learn the official NDD routines, and visit the NDD Facebook page to find dance-y events happening near you.
New York City Ballet's awesome media department strikes again!
The company just posted a series of "screen test" videos to its YouTube channel, featuring interviews with eight of the company's most charismatic dancers. What do they talk about? Well, everything, from their pre-show rituals to their adventures in scuba diving. It's pretty fun to see the glamazons we worship onstage as normal, down-to-earth people (who love Center Stage, just like us!).
Here are a few of our favorites.
Principal Robert Fairchild:
Principal Ashley Bouder:
Corps member Marika Anderson:
We've been talking a lot about Christopher Wheeldon's An American in Paris, and for good reason—the show's 14 Tony nominations might have something to do with it, as well as Wheeldon's genius choreography.
Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope of An American in Paris performing on "Live! With Kelly and Michael." (Screenshot via YouTube)
Obviously with all the buzz around An American in Paris, we want to relive the magic again and again, but only short clips are available online. Luckily though, the stars of the show, New York City Ballet's Robert Fairchild and the Royal Ballet's Leanne Cope, were guests on "Live! With Kelly and Michael" this past Friday. The duo performed a lovely bit of choreography, and it was amazing to see how both dancers' ballet backgrounds translated into the world of musical theater. They performed a very Wheeldon pas de deux: Cope's legs-for-days extended in high développés as Fairchild whisked her around the stage. We were even treated to Fairchild's singing voice, and it didn't disappoint. While the clip isn't front row on Broadway, it'll certainly do! Watch the entire segment below:
Pop quiz! Who's getting really excited for this Sunday's Tony Awards?
a) The Broadway community.
b) Your grandma.
c) Anybody who loves dance.
d) ME ME OMG ME.
e) All of the above.
The correct answer, of course, is E. But let's put special emphasis on C here for a minute, shall we? Because the official lineup of Tony Award performers was recently announced, and holy LaDucas is it ever jam-packed with dance.
Oh yeah. There's gonna be a LOT of this. (Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope in An American in Paris; photo Sara Krulwich/New York Times)
First of all, there'll just be more performers on stage, period, than at any previous Tony Awards. And since this was a particularly glorious year for dance on Broadway, a lot of them are going to be world-class dancers.
Top highlights include:
-the American in Paris mashup of "An American in Paris (pas de deux)," "'S Wonderful" and "I Got Rhythm," featuring Tony nominees Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild doing fellow nominee Christopher Wheeldon's choreo;
-On the Town's medley of "Lucky to Be Me," "New York, New York" and "Times Square Ballet," with choreography by Josh Bergasse performed by Tony nom Tony Yazbeck and the stellar ensemble (hi Ricky Ubeda!);
In case you're wondering what Mia choreo on Broadway looks like, here's a sneak preview. (The cast of Finding Neverland; photo Sara Krulwich/New York Times)
Also, Kirstin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming—whom I'd like to present with a pre-Tonys award for Broadway People I'd Like to Be Best Friends With (prize is a selfie with yours truly; COME FIND ME TO CLAIM IT!)—will be hosting. So, that'll be great, obviously.
Click here for the full list of performances, and be sure to catch all the musical theater action this Sunday at 8 pm ET on CBS.
The Tonys are coming, the Tonys are coming! It's like musical theater Christmas!
The 2015 Tony Award nominations were announced this morning by the ever-glamorous Broadway (and TV and movie) star Mary Louise Parker and Bruce Willis (whom you know as "Dancing with the Stars" front-runner Rumer Willis' dad). And guys, there are so many amazing things to report. Because, well, ballet.
Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope in Christopher Wheeldon's An American in Paris (Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown)
New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild and Royal Ballet first artist Leanne Cope received Tony nominations for their lead performances in An American in Paris. Christopher Wheeldon—ballet choreographer extraordinaire—earned TWO nominations for the show, for both best direction and best choreography of a musical.
Joshua Bergasse also earned a nom for his choreography of On the Town. Remember when he taught us 16 counts of the number "New York, New York"? You might want to revisit that combo before June 7—if the cast performs it at the awards ceremony, you can dance along with them in front of your TV. (Y'all know I certainly will be.)
Joshua Bergasse (front) rehearsing the cast of On the Town (Photo by Jenny Anderson, courtesy Matt Ross Public Relations)
Other choreographers nominated include Casey Nicholaw (Something Rotten!), Christopher Gattelli (The King and I) and Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time).
Chita Rivera—as in West Side Story, Fosse and OVERALL BROADWAY LEGEND CHITA RIVERA—received a nomination as best female lead performer in a musical for her role in The Visit. She plays an aging bajillionaire who returns to her small hometown to seek revenge on a former boyfriend—and the town itself. And while she doesn't do a whole lotta dancing in the show, I think we can expect a pretty stellar performance at the Awards. After all, it's her 10th Tony nomination, so...go big or go
fun home, amirite?
All in all, An American in Paris racked up 12 Tony nominations—the most this year, tied with Fun Home. Get the full list of nominees here, and start placing your bets now! Who do you think should win for best choreography? Was anyone (or any show) snubbed? Let us know what you think in the comments!