History-Maker Misty Copeland Will Jeté Into the Cast of On the Town

News   History-Maker Misty Copeland Will Jeté Into the Cast of On the Town Busy week for Misty Copeland, the ballerina who was promoted just last week to principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre--the first African-American actress to make that leap. Copeland will make more history next month when she joins the Broadway cast of On the Town, stepping into the role of aspiring ballet dancer Ivy Smith, the show's elusive Miss Turnstiles.
Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland

She will dance the role for two weeks, Aug. 25-Sept. 6, replacing Megan Fairchild, a New York City Ballet principal dancer who is leaving the show to return to that dance company. A permanent replacement has not yet been announced.

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

Copeland will appear only 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.

At a June 30 press conference about the ABT appointment, Copeland was quoted saying, "I had moments of doubting myself, and wanting to quit, because I didn’t know that there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level. At the same time, it made me so hungry to push through, to carry the next generation. So it’s not me up here — and I'm constantly saying that — it’s everyone that came before me that got me to this position."

Copeland was born in Kansas City, MO, and raised in San Pedro, CA. She began her ballet studies at the age of 13 at the San Pedro City Ballet and won first place in the Music Center Spotlight Awards. She continued her studies at the Lauridsen Ballet Center. Copeland studied at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive on full scholarship and was declared ABT’s National Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000. Copeland joined ABT’s Studio Company in September 2000 and joined the main Company as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001. She was appointed a soloist in August 2007. Copeland received the 2008 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts and was named National Youth of the Year Ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2013. In 2014, President Obama appointed Copeland to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. She is the recipient of a 2014 Dance Magazine Award and appeared on the cover of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2015. She is the author of the best-selling memoir, "Life in Motion" and the children’s book "Firebird."

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