No, Misty Copeland making history as the first black principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre isn’t enough. Days after the momentous announcement, Broadway was quick to scoop in and snag Copeland for the revival of 1944’s “On the Town” musical by Leonard Bernstein, which stemmed from Jerome Robbins’ “Fancy Free.” Cast as the female lead–beauty pageant winner, Ivy Smith–Misty briefly spoke to TIME about how the opportunity presented itself following last week’s big news.
“I was contacted by them and they actually wanted me to go in pretty quickly, and it was all just ‘Oh my gosh, this is not something I ever thought I would do,'” she said. “If I’m going to be part of a Broadway show, I think this is the one.” Howard Kagen, “On the Town’s” producer also provided some background and insight into the production from 71 years ago and how Copeland fits into the equation.
“‘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,” Kagen said. “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.”
Copeland is set to steal the spotlight and snatch the heart of one of three New York City sailors with some tunes. Yes, Misty will succinctly sing a few songs during her run from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6 and somehow, with the short amount of time until her debut, she’s up for the challenge. What can’t Misty do?
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