A Historic Appointment and Broadway Debut

Photo By: Joan Marcus

The Broadway community is arguably one of the most progressive in the world, with shows featuring diverse ensembles, creative teams, themes, and settings. With that in mind, this summer, theater enthusiasts and international visitors to NYC have a momentous and historic Broadway debut to add to their travel plans.

In June, the American Ballet Theater announced the appointment of their first ever African-American principal ballerina, Misty Copeland. On the heels of that announcement comes word that Misty will soon make her Broadway debut as Ivy Smith in On The Town, for a two-week limited engagement, from August 25–September 6, 2015.

Copeland has an international following for her outspoken pursuit of the highly coveted position of principal ballerina. She has been featured in a number of high-profile ad campaigns, as her story is inspiring to a variety of individuals and speaks of overcoming boundaries placed in one’s way on the road to achieving goals. Throughout her life, she was admonished for her passion and told she did not have the proper body type to be a ballerina. In spite of the criticism and a late start in ballet (at age 13), she proved herself a prodigy and quickly became a top ballerina both domestically and on the international scene.

Copeland’s Broadway debut is particularly fitting, as the character Ivy Smith is an aspiring dancer, who has traditionally been played on Broadway by professional ballerinas. Most recently, Megan Fairchild, a principal in the New York City Ballet, filled the “pointe” shoes.

In On The Town’s original Broadway production, Sono Osato, a Japanese-American dancer originated the role.

Producer Howard Kagan said, “We are so thrilled to have Misty joining us at this momentous time in her career. 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.”

Sono Osato in On The Town

NYC is renowned as a mecca of culture, cuisine, and activities unavailable elsewhere in the world. Broadway is undoubtedly the calling card of NYC, with 70% of ticket sales comprised of out-of-town purchases, made by travelers visiting the Big Apple. Travelers invested in diverse theatrical representation should add a ticket for On The Town to their itinerary in advance of August 25, by booking ahead through a local agent or operator.

Rachel Peace for The Broadway Collection

Tags: American Ballet Theater, Ballerina, Misty Copeland, On the Town, Under Armour