By Matthew Blank
08 May 2013
Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, On Your Toes boasts guest music direction by Encores! founding music director Rob Fisher and continues through May 12. The "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" ballet, originally choreographed by George Balanchine, is staged here by Susan Pilarre, who served as a Ballet Mistress of the show’s 1983 Broadway revival.
The cast is led by Christine Baranski (Peggy Porterfield), Kelli Barrett (Frankie Frayne), Walter Bobbie (Sergei Alexandrovitch), Jeremy Cohen (Sidney Cohn), Joaquin De Luz (Konstantine Morrosine), Irina Dvorovenko (Vera Baronova), Dalton Harrod (Young Junior), Randy Skinner (Phil Dolan II), Shonn Wiley (Junior) and Karen Ziemba (Lil Dolan).
The ensemble comprises Adam Bashian, Brandon Bieber, Justin Bowen, Abby Church, Rachel Coloff, Steve Czarnecki, Christine DiGiallonardo, Deanna Doyle, Ashlee Dupré, Sara Edwards, Jason Michael Evans, Kurt Froman, Luke Hawkins, Jessy Hendrickson, Beth Johnson Nicely, Drew King, Mark Mackillop, Sean McGibbon, Mara Newbery, David Scott Purdy, Ariel Shepley, Nicholas Sipes, Kathy Voytko and Alex Wong.
On Your Toes, according to press notes, is "an improbable mix of gangsters, vaudeville and classical ballet [that] was the first musical to successfully integrate classical dance into the Broadway musical format. It tells the story of Junior, a vaudeville hoofer (Shonn Wiley) who gets mixed up with a classical Russian Ballet troupe, and Vera, the troupe’s fiery prima ballerina (Irina Dvorovenko). When the ballet’s leading dancer cannot go on, Junior steps in to save the day. But Vera’s jealous boyfriend (Joaquin De Luz) tries to have him killed during the performance, and he must literally dance for his life."
On Your Toes has a book by George Abbott, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart; music by Rodgers and lyrics by Hart. The original production starred Ray Bolger, Tamara Geva and Monty Woolley. Choreographed by Balanchine, it was the first Broadway musical to credit a choreographer (as opposed to "dance maker"). It opened April 11, 1936, at the Imperial Theatre and ran for 315 performances. Songs include "Glad to be Unhappy," "There’s A Small Hotel" and the legendary ballet "laughter on Tenth Avenue."
Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at NYCityCenter.org, through CityTix at (212) 581-1212, or at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues).