Misty Copeland will star in the Broadway musical 'On the Town'

Copeland will take on a role previously performed by New York City Ballet dancer Megan Fairchild. The current production of 'Town' was nominated for such Tony Awards as Best Revival of a Musical and Best Choreography.

Mary Altaffer/AP
Misty Copeland speaks to reporters during a news conference.

Ballet dancer Misty Copeland will appear on the Broadway stage.

Ms. Copeland, who recently became the first African-American woman to become a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, will reportedly star in the Broadway musical “On the Town.” 

Copeland will star as Ivy Smith, a lead role currently being played by Megan Fairchild, who is also a professional ballet dancer who was previously a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Copeland will begin her appearances in late August. 

“Town” originally opened on Broadway in the 1940s and has been revived several times since then. The newest version opened in 2014 and was nominated for Best Revival of a Musical as well as Best Choreography and Best Direction for John Rando. Actor Tony Yazbeck earned a Best Lead Actor in a Musical Tony nomination for his role as Gabey, a World War II sailor who along with his friends Ozzie (Clyde Alves) and Chip (Jay Armstrong Johnson) are on leave for 24 hours in New York City. The 1949 film version of “Town” starred Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin as the trio of sailors, while Vera-Ellen played Ivy Smith and Betty Garrett and Ann Miller portrayed other love interests Hildy and Claire, respectively. The film won an Academy Award for Best Score and the movie is often called one of the best musical films of all time.

The musical has some other links with the ballet apart from Copeland and Ms. Fairchild’s participation. “Town” was originally choreographed by Jerome Robbins, who was a choreographer for and performed for American Ballet Theatre (ABT). “Town” itself is based on Mr. Robbins’ ballet “Fancy Free,” which he created for the ABT. In addition, New York City Ballet dancer Tiler Peck served as a substitute for Fairchild while Fairchild held the role of Ivy, filling in for some shows this past March.

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