Tiler Peck in "Little Dancer" at the Kennedy Center (Matt Karas, courtesy 5th Avenue Theatre)
Remember Little Dancer, the musical starring Tiler Peck and inspired by Edgar Degas' sculpture of the same name? After a 2014 run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the creative team did some major reworking of the material, and now the show is making its West Coast premiere. The revamped production opens at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre tonight, now under the name Marie, Dancing Still.
Bob Fosse in the studio (courtesy Dance Magazine Archives)
It's important to know about the artists who paved the way for us—especially in the musical theater world, which has been driven from the beginning by charismatic dancers and choreographers whose work continues to inspire Broadway babies. If you're a Great White Way fan, you should get to know these legendary artists, some of whom are still making moves.
Today in This Might Actually Be Game-Changing news:
Choreographer/director Jeff Whiting, who's worked all over Broadway, has created an app that streamlines the choreographic process. It's called Stage Write, and it sounds awesome.
Apparently it's simple to use, too. The idea is to create icons for every performer in your piece or show, assigning each one his/her own shape and color. After you sketch out the shape of the stage (including set pieces and other obstacles), you can arrange your performers in the space and move them around—and the app will record it all for you.
No more trying to remember what you worked on last week! No more bizarre diagrams scribbled in notebooks!
OK, a little real talk: The app is kind of pricey right now—$199.99—so at the moment it's mostly used by high-powered Broadway peeps, including Susan Stroman. But we have the technology! (And hopefully as the app becomes more popular, the price will drop a tad.)
Nifty, right? If you do have the funds, you can purchase Stage Write from the iTunes store.
When I was maybe 10, a museum near my hometown exhibited a bronze cast of Edgar Degas' Little Dancer Aged Fourteen sculpture. I went to visit her, and quickly discovered that my first impulse—to imitate her iconic fourth-position pose—was shared by dozens of other baby ballerinas. There was a whole crowd of us gathered around the statue, hanging out in fourth, snapping photos. It was almost instinctual.
Susan Stroman's brand-new musical, Little Dancer, which tells the story of the girl who inspired the statue, opens on Saturday at the Kennedy Center. In tribute, the original Little Dancer sculpture is currently on exhibit at D.C.'s National Gallery of Art. And last week, the cast of the musical—which includes New York City Ballet star Tiler Peck and our friends Juliet Doherty and Sophia Anne Caruso—went to pay their respects to Degas' masterpiece.
Naturally, they all immediately assumed fourth position. Looks like that instinct never dies.
(All photos by Margot Schulman)
The musical's cast. Peck is adorable in her pink tutu—but did your eye go right to Juliet (third from right) and her gorgeous turnout, like mine did?
The whole company. So many Little Dancer doppelgängers!
The musical's stars and creative team (from left): Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens, Susan Stroman, Tiler Peck and Boyd Gaines. Even non-dancers end up hitting some version of fourth position!
Merde (or in musical theater terms, break a leg) to the Little Dancer cast! For tickets and more info about the show, click here. Can't make it to D.C.? You can still get an insider's look at the show, via our interview with Peck about what happens when statues come to life.
In our October issue, we talked to New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck about her musical theater turn in the brand-new show Little Dancer. Inspired by Degas' famous sculpture and directed and choreographed by Broadway guru Susan Stroman, the musical is set to open at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center later this month.
Little Dancer was custom-tailored to Peck, and naturally she'll be bringing all her ballerina amazingness to the part—including her experiences dancing famous ballets. "It's just like doing Romeo and Juliet," she said to us of playing the young Paris Opéra Ballet student Marie von Goethem, who inspired Degas' Little Dancer Aged 14 sculpture. "No one who plays Juliet is actually her age. The key is your mannerisms and the way you hold yourself." Given that Peck also has serious musical theater cred—she made her Broadway debut at age 11 (!) in Stroman's production of The Music Man—we're guessing she'll be pretty darn convincing.
Also, she kind of looks just like the statue! Eerie. (Both photos courtesy The Kennedy Center. Left: Matthew Karas; right: Edgar Degas, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1878–1881), yellow wax, hair, ribbon, linen bodice, satin shoes, muslin tutu, wood base, National Gallery of Art, Washington, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon)
Wondering what all of that dance-drama goodness will actually look like? This Sunday night, the Guggenheim Museum will be offering a sneak peek when its Works & Process series goes inside Little Dancer. The event will include a bunch of excerpts from the show (Peck will be dancing, of course!) and a discussion with Stroman, Lynn Ahrens (who wrote the musical's book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (the composer). And the whole thing will be live-streamed at guggenheim.org/live, starting at 7:30 pm EST.
Little Dancer in your living room—not a bad way to end the weekend, amirite? While you're waiting for Sunday night to roll around, take a look at this behind-the-scenes video from Peck's official Little Dancer photo shoot: