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The cross-pollination of the ballet world with Broadway continues.
Just a week after making history as the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has now lined up her Broadway debut, playing the main love interest, Ivy Smith, in a special two-week engagement in On the Town later this summer.
She steps into the role for 12 performances only, Aug. 25 through Sept. 6 at the Lyric Theatre, taking over for New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild, who originated the role in the current Broadway revival.
The classic New York musical about three World War II sailors on 24-hour shore leave in Manhattan seeking romance, fun and adventure was nominated this year for four Tony Awards — for best musical revival, lead actor Tony Yazbeck, director John Rando and choreographer Joshua Bergasse.
“We are so thrilled to have Misty joining us at this momentous time in her career,” said lead producer Howard Kagan. “On the Town has a long history of progressive, diverse casting, which began with the creative team’s casting of Japanese-American dancer Sono Osato as Ivy Smith in the original 1944 production, in the midst of World War II, as well as featuring one of the first racially integrated ensembles. So it seems fitting that this incredible talent, who has broken through barriers in the dance world, will make her Broadway debut in this show.”
The move follows a remarkable year for Copeland, in which she has graced the cover of Time Magazine as one of 2015’s “100 Most Influential People,” and danced a number of classic leading roles in ballets including Swan Lake. Last year she published her autobiography, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.
Her casting stands to give On the Town a shot in the arm at the box office during the late-summer period, when Broadway shows are competing for tourist dollars.
The production opened last fall to rave reviews, landing on many publications’ Top 10 lists for 2014, including The Hollywood Reporter. However, while business has been steady, its sales have not matched those of several other musicals that opened last season. Total grosses to date are approaching $26 million.
Other ballet stars currently on Broadway are New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope from the Royal Ballet in London, both appearing in An American in Paris, which is directed and choreographed by ballet luminary Christopher Wheeldon.
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