Dance on Broadway

SpongeBob SquarePants and Mean Girls Tie for Most Tony Nominations

The Tony nominations prove that a yellow sponge has a place on Broadway. Photo by Joan Marcus, Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown.

It's Broadway awards season (hello Tony, Chita Rivera and Drama Desk Awards!), and this year, there's a lot for fans to sing and dance about. If you're a millennial, your heart is certainly happy with this morning's Tony announcement: SpongeBob SquarePants and Mean Girls scored the most nominations for a musical at 12 each. (The two-part play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child got 10.)

Mean Girls leads the pack with 12 Tony nominations. Photo by Joan Marcus, Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown.


The Band's Visit wasn't far behind with 11, and revivals fared especially well with 10 nods each for Carousel and My Fair Lady and 8 for Once On This Island, choreographed by our April cover star Camille A. Brown. (Though she didn't get a Best Choreography nod, we think Brown belongs in the category.) Unsurprisingly, Justin Peck was called out for his Carousel choreography in perhaps the danciest show of the season. This year, a play even got a Best Choreography nom, as Steven Hoggett was praised for his movement direction in the very popular Harry Potter production.

Our hats are off to Christopher Gattelli who received recognition for choreography in the absurdly fun SpongeBob and the impeccable revival of My Fair Lady. The man who can make moves for an underwater kitchen sponge and Brits in 1913 London in the same season is truly versatile.

On Friday, the Chita Rivera Awards nominations were also announced. We love the committee's annual recognition of dance on Broadway, off-Broadway and film, shining a light not only on the headliners but the all-important ensembles.

Rounding out the trifecta, the Drama Desk Awards nominations came out last Thursday. Putting all New York City productions on an even playing field, Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway shows vie for the same awards.

Tony Awards Nominations

Ahead of the June 10 Tony Awards show on CBS, here are the musicals and stars that were tapped for a potential win in select categories. (For a full list of nominees in all categories, click here.)

Best Choreography

Christopher Gattelli, My Fair Lady

Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Steven Hoggett, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two

Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls

Justin Peck, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

Best Musical

The Band's Visit

Frozen

Mean Girls

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Revival of a Musical

My Fair Lady

Once On This Island

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady

Joshua Henry, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

Tony Shalhoub, The Band's Visit

Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Lauren Ambrose, My Fair Lady

Hailey Kilgore, Once On This Island

LaChanze, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Katrina Lenk, The Band's Visit

Taylor Louderman, Mean Girls

Jessie Mueller, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady

Alexander Gemignani, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

Grey Henson, Mean Girls

Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Ari'el Stachel, The Band's Visit

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Ariana DeBose, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Renée Fleming, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

Lindsay Mendez, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

Ashley Park, Mean Girls

Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady

Ariana DeBose sparkles as Disco Donna in Summer. Photo by Kevin Berne, Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown.

Best Direction of a Musical

Michael Arden, Once On This Island

David Cromer, The Band's Visit

Tina Landau, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls

Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady

Chita Rivera will receive a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.

Chita Rivera Awards Nominations

Here are the 2017–18 nominees ahead of the May 20 ceremony:

Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show

Camille A. Brown, Once On This Island

Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants

Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls Justin Peck, Carousel

Sergio Trujillo, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show

Carousel

Mean Girls

Once On This Island

SpongeBob SquarePants

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show

Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady

Andrei Chagas, Carousel

Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants

Amar Ramasar, Carousel

Tony Yazbeck, Prince of Broadway

Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show

Yesenia Ayala, Carousel

Ariana DeBose, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Hailey Kilgore, Once On This Island

Katrina Lenk, The Band's Visit

Skye Mattox, Carousel

Ashley Park, Mean Girls

Brittany Pollack, Carousel

Outstanding Choreography in an Off-Broadway Show

Nejla Yatkin, The Boy Who Danced on Air

Sonya Tayeh, Hundred Days

Zach Morris & Jennine Willett, Ghost Light

Chris Bailey, Jerry Springer: The Opera

Monica Bill Barnes, One Night Only

Outstanding Female Dancer in an Off-Broadway Show

Anna Bass, One Night Only

Monica Bill Barnes, One Night Only

Elizabeth Carena, Ghost Light

Tiffany Mann, Jerry Springer: The Opera

Kenita R. Miller, Bella

Outstanding Male Dancer in an Off-Broadway Show

Colin Campbell, Disco Pigs

Robert Fairchild, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Troy Iwata, The Boy Who Danced on Air

Evan Ruggiero, Bastard Jones

Nikhil Saboo, The Boy Who Danced on Air

At the Movies

In the film category, theses movies with theatrical release got a nod for their choreography:

Basmati Blues (Noemie LaFrance, Rajeev, Dimple Ganguly, Vijay Ganguly and Ryan Heffington)

Finding Your Feet (Mark Jennings)

Hello Again (Todd Underwood)

Polina (Angelin Preljocaj)

The Greatest Showman (Shannon Holtzapffel, Ashley Wallen)

Three dance documentaries also received nominations: Step, Bobbi Jene (starring Bobbi Jene Smith) and Anatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer (starring Marcelo Gomes).

The Greatest Showman. Photo by Niko Tavernise, Courtesy 20th Century Fox.

Drama Desk Award Nominations

Here are the highlights dancers should know before winners are announced at a June 3 ceremony. (Get the full list here.)

Outstanding Musical

Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company

KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theatre Company/Woodshed Collective

Mean Girls

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59

SpongeBob SquarePants

Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Amerike—The Golden Land, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Carousel

My Fair Lady, Lincoln Center Theater

Once on This Island

Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company

Outstanding Actor in a Musical

Jelani Alladin, Frozen

Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady

Joshua Henry, Carousel

Evan Ruggiero, Bastard Jones, the cell

Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants

Outstanding Actress in a Musical

Gizel Jiménez, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater

LaChanze, Summer

Jessie Mueller, Carousel

Ashley Park, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective

Daphne Rubin-Vega, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical

Damon Daunno, The Lucky Ones, Ars Nova

Alexander Gemignani, Carousel

Grey Henson, Mean Girls

Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants

Tony Yazbeck, Prince of Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical

Lindsay Mendez, Carousel

Kenita R. Miller, Once on This Island

Ashley Park, Mean Girls

Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady

Kate Rockwell, Mean Girls

Outstanding Director of a Musical

Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59

Teddy Bergman, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective

Jack O'Brien, Carousel

Tina Landau, SpongeBob SquarePants

Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady

The LaDuca Award for Outstanding Choreography

Camille A. Brown, Once on This Island

Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants

Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls

Justin Peck, Carousel

Nejla Yatkin, The Boy Who Danced on Air, Abingdon Theatre Company

The Conversation
News
Valdes and Alonso. Photo by Nancy Reyes, courtesy BNC

Alicia Alonso's famed ballet company in Cuba has a new leader: the beloved hometown prima ballerina Viengsay Valdés.

Ballet Nacional of Cuba just named Valdés deputy artistic director, which means she will immediately assume the daily responsibilities of running the company. Alonso, 98, will retain the title of general director, but in practice, Valdés will be the one making all the artistic decisions.

Keep reading... Show less
Advice for Dancers
Photo by Ahmad Odeh/Unsplash

I'm terrified of performing choreography that changes directions. I messed up last year when the stage lights caused me to become disoriented. What can I do to prevent this from happening again? I can perform the combination just fine in the studio with the mirror.

—Scared, San Francisco, CA

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
It's not about what you have, but how you use. Photo by Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

From the angles of your feet to the size of your head, it can sometimes seem like there is no part of a dancer's body that is not under scrutiny. It's easy to get obsessed when you are constantly in front of a mirror, trying to fit a mold.

Yet the traditional ideals seem to be exploding every day. "The days of carbon-copy dancers are over," says BalletX dancer Caili Quan. "Only when you're confident in your own body can you start truly working with what you have."

While the striving may never end, there can be unexpected benefits to what you may think of as your "imperfections."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Training
Alexander Iziliaev, courtesy MCB

It's the second week of Miami City Ballet School's Choreographic Intensive, and the students stand in a light-drenched studio watching as choreographer Durante Verzola sets a pas de trois. "Don't be afraid to look at the ceiling—look that high," Verzola shows one student as she holds an arabesque. "That gives so much more dimension to your dancing." Other students try the same movement from the sidelines.

When Arantxa Ochoa took over as MCB School's director of faculty and curriculum two years ago, she decided to add a second part to the summer intensive: five weeks focused on technique would be followed by a new two-week choreography session. The technique intensive is not a requirement, but students audition for both at the same time and many attend the two back-to-back.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Training
Instructor Judine Somerville leads a musical theater class. Photo by Rachel Papo

On a summer afternoon at The Ailey School's studios, a group of students go through a sequence of Horton exercises, radiating concentration and strength as they tilt to one side, arms outstretched and leg parallel to the ground. Later, in a studio down the hall, a theater dance class rehearses a lively medley of Broadway show tunes. With giant smiles and bouncy energy, students run through steps to "The Nicest Kids in Town" from Hairspray.

"You gotta really scream!" teacher Judine Somerville calls out as they mime their excitement. "This is live theater!" They segue into the audition number from A Chorus Line, "I Hope I Get It," their expressions becoming purposeful and slightly nervous. "Center stage is wherever I am," Somerville tells them when the music stops, making them repeat the words back to her. "Take that wherever you go."

Keep reading... Show less
News
Brooklyn Studios for Dance founder Pepper Fajans illustrates the cold temperatures inside the studio. Screenshot via Vimeo.

Dance artists, as a rule, are a resilient bunch. But working in a studio in New York City without heat or electricity in the middle of winter? That's not just crazy; it's unhealthy, and too much to ask of anyone.

Unfortunately, Brooklyn Studios for Dance hasn't had heat since mid-November, making it impossible for classes or performances to take place in the community-oriented center.

So what's a studio to do? Throw a massive dance party, of course.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Anika Huizinga via Unsplash

As winter sets in, your muscles may feel tighter than they did in warmer weather. You're not imagining it: Cold weather can cause muscles to lose heat and contract, resulting in a more limited range of motion and muscle soreness or stiffness.

But dancers need their muscles to be supple and fresh, no matter the weather outside. Here's how to maintain your mobility during the colder months so your dancing isn't affected:

Keep reading... Show less
News
The International Association of Blacks in Dance's annual audition for ballet dancers of color. Photo by E. Mesiyah McGinnis, Courtesy IABD

A newly launched initiative hopes to change the face of ballet, both onstage and behind the scenes. Called "The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet," the three-year initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is a partnership between Dance Theatre of Harlem, the International Association of Blacks in Dance and Dance/USA.

"We've seen huge amounts of change in the years since 1969, when Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded," says Virginia Johnson, artistic director of DTH. "But change is happening much too slowly, and it will continue to be too slow until we come to a little bit more of an awareness of what the underlying issues are and what needs to be done to address them."

Keep reading... Show less
The Creative Process
Nashiville Ballet artistic director Paul Vasterling went through executive coaching to be come a better leader. Photo by Anthony Matula, Courtesy Nashville Ballet

From the outside, it seemed like the worst of New York City Ballet's problems were behind them last winter, when ballet master in chief Peter Martins retired amid accusations of abuse and sexual harassment, and an internal investigation did not substantiate those claims.

But further troubles were revealed in August when a scandal broke that led to dancer Chase Finlay's abrupt resignation and the firing of fellow principals Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro. All three were accused of "inappropriate communications" and violating "norms of conduct."

The artistic director sets the tone for a dance company and leads by example. But regardless of whether Martins, and George Balanchine before him, established a healthy organization, the issues at NYCB bespeak an industry-wide problem, says Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founding artistic director of Urban Bush Women. "From New York City Ballet to emerging artists, we've just done what's been handed down," she observes. "That has not necessarily led to great practices."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Dance Magazine, now's your chance to find out. Dance Magazine is seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about dance and journalism.

Through March 1, we are accepting applications for a summer intern to assist our staff onsite in New York City from June to August. The internship includes an hourly stipend and requires a minimum two-day-a-week commitment. (We do not provide assistance securing housing.)

Keep reading... Show less
News
Credits with photos below.

For the past few months, the dance world has been holding its collective breath, waiting for New York City Ballet to announce who will take over the helm as artistic director.

Though former ballet master in chief Peter Martins retired over a year ago after accusations of sexual harassment and abuse (an internal investigation did not corroborate the accusations), the search for a new leader didn't begin until last May.

Nine months later, the new director's name could be released any day now. And we have some theories about who it might be:

Keep reading... Show less
Irina Dvorovenko with Tony Yazbeck in The Beast in the Jungle. Photo by Carol Rosegg, Courtesy Sam Rudy Media Relations.

Some people take this profession as just a chapter of their life. They feel like dance is a job—a fun job, but a job. Other people live their life through dance. I never considered being a ballerina a profession. It's a lifestyle.

If I don't have a performance, I feel like a tiger trapped in a cage. I have so many emotions, I feel I need to give them to somebody, to exhaust myself—I need to cry or laugh, or else it's suffocating. Other people might scream or throw bottles into the wall. We dancers scream onstage through our movement. For me, it's like sweeping off the dust in my soul.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance & Science
Amar Odeh/Unsplash

Back in 2011, Yale University's dean of science was thinking about refreshing the program's offerings for non-majors when he happened upon a Pilobolus performance. A light bulb went off: Dance is full of physics.

That realization led to what has become an eight-year collaboration between particle physicist Sarah Demers and former New York City Ballet dancer Emily Coates, both professors at Yale who were brought together to co-teach a course called The Physics of Dance. Their partnership has involved everything from directing a short film to presenting a TedX Talk and performing a piece that Coates created, commissioned by Danspace Project. This month, they're publishing a book about what they've discovered by dialoging across two seemingly disparate disciplines.

Keep reading... Show less
25 to Watch
Photo credits, clockwise from bottom left: Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet; Jayme Thornton; Jochen Viehoff, Courtesy Stephanie Troyak; Karolina Kuras, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Kim Kenney, Courtesy Atlanta Ballet; Jim Lafferty; Arian Molina Soca, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet; Scott Shaw, Courtesy Shamar Wayne Watt

What's next for the dance world? Our annual list of the dancers, choreographers and companies that are on the verge of skyrocketing has a pretty excellent track record of answering that question.

Here they are: the 25 up-and-coming artists we believe represent the future of our field.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Photos via Polunin's Instagram

If you follow Sergei Polunin on Instagram, you've probably noticed that lately something has been...off.

Though Polunin has long had a reputation for behaving inappropriately, in the last month his posts have been somewhat unhinged. In one, Polunin, who is Ukrainian, shows off his new tattoo of Vladimir Putin:

Keep reading... Show less
The Creative Process
Rami Malek performing as Freddie Mercury. Still from Bohemian Rhapsody, via foxmovies.com

Watching Bohemian Rhapsody through the eyes of dancer, there's a certain element of the movie that's impossible to ignore: Rami Malek's physical performance of Freddie Mercury. The way he so completely embodies the nuances of the rock star is simply mind-blowing. We had to learn how he did it, so we called up Polly Bennett, the movement director who coached him through the entire process.

In a bit of serendipitous timing, while we were on the phone, she got a text from Malek that he had just been nominated for a Golden Globe. And during our chat, it became quite clear that she had obviously been a major part of that—more than we could have ever imagined.

Keep reading... Show less
Career Advice
Umi Akiyoshi Photography, Courtesy Sidra Bell Dance New York

Sebastian Abarbanell remembers being asked as an undergrad at Trinity Laban in London to perform wearing only a dance belt. "I said no," he says, "because I felt uncomfortable." Now a performer with Sidra Bell Dance New York, he's performed partially nude several times, without reservation. The difference? "It comes with more experience and maturing as a dancer," he says. "When you see a dancer living in their skin, you don't need to put anything else on them. When I said no in college, I wasn't in my skin yet."

Getting in your skin—and getting comfortable wearing only your skin onstage—requires a particular alchemy of vulnerability, agency, preparation and practice.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Courtesy Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Royal Ballet announced today that international star Carlos Acosta will be taking over as director in January of 2020. Current BRB director David Bintley will be stepping down this summer, at the end of the company's 2019 season, after a 24-year tenure. "It is a tremendous honor and privilege to have been appointed to lead Birmingham Royal Ballet," Acosta said in a statement.

Since retiring from The Royal Ballet in 2015, Acosta has focused much of his attention on his native Cuba, where he's proven his directorial abilities at the helm of Acosta Danza, the contemporary company that he founded in 2016. In 2017 Acosta also opened his first Dance Academy through his foundation, which provides free training to students. We don't yet know how Acosta will balance his time between his projects in Cuba and his new role at BRB.

Keep reading... Show less
Advice for Dancers
When you spend most of your day at the theater, it's challenging to find time to date. Photo by rawpixel/Unsplash.

My personal life has taken a nosedive since I broke up with my boyfriend. He's in the same show and is now dating one of my colleagues. It's heartbreaking to see them together, and I'm determined never to date a fellow dancer again. But it's challenging to find someone outside, as I practically live in the theater. Do you have any advice?

—Loveless, New York, NY

Keep reading... Show less
News
Carol Channing in the original 1964 production of Hello, Dolly! Photo by Eileen Darby, Courtesy DM Archives.

The inimitable Carol Channing, best known for her role as the titular Hello, Dolly!, passed away today at 97.

Though she became a three-time Tony winner, Channing was born in Seattle, far from the Great White Way, in 1921. After growing up in San Francisco, she attended the famed Bennington College, studying dance and drama. She later told the university, "What Bennington allows you to do is develop the thing you're going to do anyway, over everybody's dead body." For Channing, that meant decades of fiery, comical performances, bursting with energy.

Keep reading... Show less
News
It includes this familiar face! (Erin Baiano)

Something's coming, I don't know when
But it's soon...maybe tonight?

Those iconic lyrics have basically been our #mood ever since we first heard a remake of the West Side Story film, directed by Steven Spielberg and choreographed by Justin Peck, was in the works. THE CASTING. THE CASTING WAS COMING.

Well, last night—after an extensive search process that focused on finding the best actors within the Puerto Rican/Latinx community—the WSS team finally revealed who'll be playing Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Chino (joining Ansel Elgort, who was cast as Tony last fall). And you guys: It is a truly epic group.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox