Cue & A: On the Town's Megan Fairchild on Her Dance Idols, First Onstage Mishap and a Memorable Will Swenson Moment

News   Cue & A: On the Town's Megan Fairchild on Her Dance Idols, First Onstage Mishap and a Memorable Will Swenson Moment
 
Megan Fairchild, the ballet star currently thrilling audiences with her Broadway debut in On the Town, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Megan Fairchild
Megan Fairchild Photo by Paul Kolnik

Fairchild is a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Featured roles include George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Coppélia, Donizetti Variations, Duo Concertant, Jewels, Raymonda Variations, Serenade, Tarantella, Theme and Variations, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux; Jerome Robbins’ Andantino, Dances at a Gathering, The Four Seasons; Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto, The Sleeping Beauty, Zakouski; Alexei Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons, Namouna; Susan Stroman’s Double Feature and Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV.

She was seen as the Sugar Plum Fairy in PBS’ "Live From Lincoln Center" telecast of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” which was also screened in movie theatres worldwide.

Full given name: Megan Kristine Fairchild (married name is Megan Fairchild Veyette)
Where you were born/Where you grew up: Salt Lake City, UT/ grew up in Sandy, UT
Zodiac sign: Gemini
What your parents did/do for a living: My mom is a clinical dietitian in a hospital. Dad is a regional habitat manager for Utah Wildlife Resources.
Siblings: Little brother Robbie is also a principal with NYC Ballet and is currently the lead in American in Paris.
Special skills: Knitting stockings for Christmas, gloves, hats, ornaments.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Juggling
First Broadway show you ever saw: Aida. I cried the whole subway ride home.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Movin’ Out. I am now really good friends with John Selya, and I would have loved to see him rock this. Kicking myself for never seeing it.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Haven’t seen it yet, but can’t wait to see Fun Home. That is what I would recommend right now to friends. I was blown away by Sydney Lucas’ Tony performance.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "Good Mornin’" from Singin' in the Rain. Plus I am a morning person, so it goes well with my happy morning attitude.
Favorite musicals: Hair, Les Mis, Book of Mormon, American Idiot
Stage, screen or dance stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Gene Kelly
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: Getting a flower from Will Swenson when I was in the audience seeing Hair.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. It is a gorgeous Balanchine ballet that is a staple of our company at NYC Ballet. Light blue/dark lighting, long tulle skirts on a corps de ballet of women. It is a really spiritual ballet to watch. I don’t know how much I would love classical music if I didn’t know the ballets that go along with them. The steps bring the music to life. Then I am in love forever.
You personal performance idols: Julie Kent, Miranda Weese, Jennifer Ringer (principal ballerinas from ABT and NYCB)
MAC or PC? Mac
Most-visited websites: Facebook, Netflix, Fordham website
Favorite Tweeters: Jackie Hoffman
Most played song on your iPod: Anything Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Last book you read: My statistics book for school
Must-see TV show(s): "Outlander"!!!!!
Last good movie you saw: "Singin’ in the Rain," "When Harry Met Sally," "Christmas Vacation"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Andrew Rannells
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Seeing how many likes an Instagram picture of mine gets
Best Holiday or Birthday gift you ever received: Card from my husband. He hates writing cards, but knows they mean a lot to me. He always writes the most wonderful messages, even though he hates doing it.
Favorite Halloween costume you ever wore: Little Red Riding Hood, and my husband was the Wolf
Three favorite cities: Paris, Florence, Baden-Baden
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Michael Jackson’s "History"
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: I don’t do it often but love a good cocktail from Glass House Tavern and those amazing fried risotto balls with truffle!!!
Favorite liquid refreshment: Almond milk, vanilla unsweetened
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: 15 minute ballet barre in the wings, chat with friends, do my makeup in 10. Sometimes an espresso. Then Theraband exercises in Elizabeth Stanley’s dressing room while we chat as she gets her wig on.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: I missed the beginning of my song with Jackie, “Do do re do,” during a preview. We had a note earlier that day about trying to put her last line into the vamps of the song — they were trying to tighten up the show. That night in the performance, her lines lasted longer than one vamp, and I thought the orchestra would vamp one more time. Well, the orchestra moved on to the song, and I didn’t sing anything for the whole first phrase. Jackie and I were in different places for a couple seconds there, singing over each other.

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Jim Moore, our conductor, started singing out where we should be, and so I just started matching him. TERROR!!!!! The best was hearing the stories everyone told me of similar occasions they had witnessed or experienced. I think Michael Rupert told me he had to stop the orchestra once and start over again! I just remember thinking in the moment, “I don’t have the musical knowledge to deal with this situation!!!!” That experience taught me a lot.

What drew you to this project? The idea of being out of my comfort zone and stretching myself
How are you finding the demands and process to differ from the ballet world? The people are more pleasant and easy to be with. (The ballet can be quite the pressure cooker.) I think musical theatre people are naturally jolly people…at least at my show! I have made a whole cast of new friends. But eight shows a week can be hard. Certain weeks it is a new mental struggle getting through all those shows. Hopefully I have developed more stamina for working through exhaustion.
It’s been a bit of a ballet family affair recently with your brother and sister-in-law both starring in musicals. Does your husband have any musical theatre aspirations? He plays Riff when we do West Side Story Suite at NYCB. He sings “Cool.” He is amazing in it! And such a natural Riff. He could do musical theatre, but I think he is a little terrified after watching me go through the schedule this year. It would need to be something really worthwhile!
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this show/character? Getting to be onstage with a comedian (Jackie Hoffman) every night, while she does her thing. The dancing is fun, but I have always been doing that my whole life. Getting to do my scene and sing, and also be out there with Jackie when the audience laughs and applauds is really so fun.
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about? I am currently a collaborator with Cole Haan for their ballet flats, and also represent their line of Zero Grand products for women, alongside two other ballerina friends from NYCB. It has been an unbelievable experience. I can’t believe how much they want our input. We get to tell them how we like shoes to fit, we get to nix color combos we aren’t in love with. We are truly there at the drawing board with them. And then the photo shoots are so cool. Cole Haan is really prioritizing comfort as well as style, which is hugely important to ballet dancers.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain. I can’t believe I just put that into the ether. Also the ballerina role of Jerome Robbins' The Concert, which is a comedic ballet we do at NYCB.
Leading man role you wish you could play: I am too happy being a woman, I think. wink
Something about you that surprises people: I swear…sometimes. wink
Something you're incredibly proud of: My house in Dobbs Ferry (Westchester, NY). It was built circa 1870. It is a lot of upkeep to own a house, but I think that makes me even more proud.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I can knock back a whole box of cookies, you know the sugar ones from the grocery store bakery with the icing? Ya. I’ve done that. Multiple times.
Three things you can't live without: My husband Andy, my basset hound Trudy and my new lab/daschund puppy Hobbs.
"I'll never understand why..." ...teachers don’t make more money.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Don’t compare yourself to others. What is unique about you is what people will find interesting or useful.
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