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Misty Copeland of American Ballet Theater to Join ‘On the Town’


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From the press release:

Copeland will be performing from August 25 - September 6 at the Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evening shows and the Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday matinees. The show will also have a Saturday and Sunday evening performance during those weeks.

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If anyone has been following Broadway grosses, OTT is doing very poorly.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/grosses.cfm#.VZrjMRNViko

The fact that Misty is only scheduled for a partial schedule before Labor Day tells me that the producers are contemplating whether to keep the show open or not and if there's an uptick in interest because of Copeland. If not the show will likely close after Labor Day.

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Wonder why she isn't doing the evening shows... aren't those the biggest box office draws?

Eight shows a week can be tough! For anyone. Depending on the show and choreography, of course. I can't speak for "OTT", but it's possible it's harder to do eight times than one "Swan Lake" in a week. Plus there's the singing and the acting part of it all. Some stars even have it in their contracts they only do six shows a week. And after Copeland, who?? Teaching a role takes time and money and the cast has to rehearse each new person coming into a show. If the show is already not doing well financially, my guess is that it will close. Producers must have known for a bit of time about Megan leaving, so Misty's name was most likely in the mix for awhile. It's to their benefit now that she's become a Principal at ABT. They would not have been able to advertise that had she not been promoted. "New York, New York", it's a helluva town!"

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Sara Mearns filled in as Ivy for a couple of shows previousy, as did Tiler Peck for a few shows. So I'm not sure how difficult the choreography is to learn. My recollection is that Ivy is not in a huge number of scenes, although there is one big dance number featuring Ivy. It's a supporting part, not a lead role.

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Eight shows a week can be tough! For anyone. Depending on the show and choreography, of course. I can't speak for "OTT", but it's possible it's harder to do eight times than one "Swan Lake" in a week. Plus there's the singing and the acting part of it all. Some stars even have it in their contracts they only do six shows a week. And after Copeland, who?? Teaching a role takes time and money and the cast has to rehearse each new person coming into a show. If the show is already not doing well financially, my guess is that it will close. Producers must have known for a bit of time about Megan leaving, so Misty's name was most likely in the mix for awhile. It's to their benefit now that she's become a Principal at ABT. They would not have been able to advertise that had she not been promoted. "New York, New York", it's a helluva town!"

Just curious if Copeland can sing? Is this something in her future...to be moving towards Broadway? In case things don't go her way with the ballet world?

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I'd read somewhere - maybe the NY Times? - that "On the Town" is really in too large a theater, one impossible to fill for the kind of show it is. The article stated that had it been in a smaller theater, it would've been considered a hit. Someone made a huge mistake in determining audience attendance. What a shame.

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Just curious if Copeland can sing? Is this something in her future...to be moving towards Broadway? In case things don't go her way with the ballet world?

I don't think that Copeland has a singing background. However, I saw OTT about 9 months ago with Fairchild, and Ivy had one song (which does not require the possession of a big singing voice). I don't imagine that Copeland will leave ABT anytime soon (sorry atm711), but I could see her joining the cast of another musical if this goes well (like R Fairchild/T Peck).

I enjoyed the show, but I think that the Lyric Theater is way too large (which could explain why it's not selling well). There is a candy shop in the building, for perspective.

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Bigger question: What is with ballet dancers flocking to Broadway? I see a trend, and am wondering why? Is ballet not enough for them? Does ballet not offer enough of a living salary? Is there a bigger perspective that needs to be looked at towards a declining ballet culture? This may be a question(s) for another thread....

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I think more ballet dancers are going to Broadway because more choreographers are doing work for ballet companies and Broadway, just like Balanchine, and roles are being created/expanded for them.

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A major problem with this show is that the producers are employing a large, full orchestra in order to recreate the sound of the show from the original production of 1944, and employing so many musicians is a major drain on production expenses. It also wasn’t marketed well to tourists. There are no celebrities or well-known Broadway performers in the cast. When I saw the show several months back the house was half-full. Now that tourist season is in full swing it’s still the lowest-grossing musical on Broadway. I don’t blame the producers for going after Copeland to try to boost the box office. The role of Ivy Smith was originated by Sono Osato, who probably couldn’t sing well, so Comden & Green gave the character only one chance to sing, during a music lesson with her alcoholic teacher, when it’s okay for her to sound shrill and off-key. There are, however, three major ballets in the show, and though I thought the choreography was good, it wasn’t especially challenging for Megan Fairchild. Copeland should be just fine. Eight shows a week? Professional Broadway dancers can handle that, why not ballet dancers? (Hee Seo, anyone?) Copeland may have to attend some special events & may need her nights off. It will be interesting to see if any local theater critics review her performance in this show. Unless her buddy Taye Diggs recommends a good acting and vocal coach, I’m certain her performance will be just as wooden as it was in Romeo & Juliet.

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Eight shows a week? Professional Broadway dancers can handle that, why not ballet dancers?

Megan Fairchild talked about how sore she was using different muscles when she was getting ready for the role. For a ballet dancer to take on a new movement style is a big stress on the body. Ballet dancers talk about being vulnerable to injury when they have to switch styles and techniques in the rep that their companies perform.

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I saw this show twice and once Megan Fairchild was out and Tony Yazbeck had a dance double do his ballet sequence. I then saw this show during Tony season and all the cast was there and Tony did his own dancing. But Robert Fairchild now takes Wed evenings off from American in Paris. Very often Broadway dancers take breaks once Tony season is over.

ETA: I think Hamilton (set to open) also has "alternate cast days" too.

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Unless her buddy Taye Diggs recommends a good acting and vocal coach, Im certain her performance will be just as wooden as it was in Romeo & Juliet.

Diggs is quoted in the NYT article - he thinks she'll be fine. Anyhow, Ivy basically dances and looks pretty for the entire show.

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Bigger question: What is with ballet dancers flocking to Broadway? I see a trend, and am wondering why? Is ballet not enough for them? Does ballet not offer enough of a living salary? Is there a bigger perspective that needs to be looked at towards a declining ballet culture? This may be a question(s) for another thread....

What trend? Two shows in a season that has well known ballet dancers is hardly a "flock". Before AIP and OTT this season, I can't re-call any big name ballet dancers running to do Broadway. Irina did an "Encores" of "On Your Toes", but that was strictly a limited run. Ashley Tuttle did "Movin' Out" a few years back. I think "After Midnight" might have had one or two ex ballet dancers in it. But in truth most really good Broadway dancers do study ballet, along with their jazz, tap, contemporary and modern, etc. As well as their acting and singing studies. They need to be versatile and able to do (and do well) anything a choreographer might throw at them. Fosse used to say he loved the dancer who could do ballet really well AND do his particular style. Michael Kidd could spot a ballet trained dancer at any audition. Oona White used to give 16 changements at her auditions and said she could tell who could dance and who couldn't just from seeing that. In many ways Broadway dancers are far more adaptive than dancers in a classical company. That said, I think the average Broadway "gypsy" may earn more than say a corps member in a major company. But, of course, that depends on if one can land a show that is long lived. So many shows don't run for very long. If one can land a place in "Phantom" or "Lion King", then of course one can buy that house in the country! If not, it's endless auditions and try outs. Right now I don't see a 'trend' in more ballet dancers crossing over. That could change, of course, if Wheeldon does more shows, or if Ratmansky were to try his hand at a musical. Or if Justin Peck were to say yes to trying on Musical Theater. All worthy talents that could make a difference for the Broadway stage.

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years ago of course saw makarova and galina panov in on your toes...

OMG! Forgot about Makarova. She was brilliant in "OYT". And, of course years ago there was Zorina. But not so much in recent times. The choreography in many B'way shows wouldn't be a good fit. Kinky Boots, MAtilda, Les Miz to name just a few. All good or fun shows, but not so much need for ballet dancers making a crossover. I still believe it will take a more concentrated effort by name "ballet" choreographers to be involved in shows to make any trend happen.

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