You'll Never Guess Which Ballet Legend is in Andy Blankenbuehler's New Musical
We're willing to admit that Only Gold, a Broadway musical that Andy Blankenbuehler has had in the works since 2013, had somewhat slipped our mind. (In all fairness, Blankenbuehler got rather busy choreographing a moderately successful musical about American history, and then directing and choreographing Bandstand.)
Yep, that's ballet legend Alessandra Ferri. And yep, that means the pair of ballerinas are in rehearsals with Blankenbuehler for Only Gold. Excited doesn't even begin to cover it. Here's what we know so far:
What's this musical about anyway?
Only Gold centers on a maharaja in 1920s Paris, though details are still hazy. (Not to be confused with the plot of Moulin Rouge! in which a writer in 1920s Paris is working on a show featuring a love triangle between a penniless sitar player, a courtesan and a maharaja.)
The dance talent in the rehearsal room is INSANE
Alessandra Ferri in rehearsal at The Royal Ballet. Photo by Andrej Uspenski, Courtesy ROH
We've got Ferri, arguably the greatest dance actress of her generation. We've got Pazcoguin, who was tapped by Blankenbuehler to play the balletic Victoria in the 2016 Broadway revival of CATS. And then there's Justice Moore, AKA "The Bullet" in the original Chicago ensemble of Hamilton. These three are reportedly playing the wives of the maharaja (Seán Martin Hingston).
Not to mention Ricky Ubeda (Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel, CATS, "SYTYCD"), Ryan Steele (Newsies), Ryan Vasquez (Hamilton), Cindy Salgado (Kidd Pivot)...stop us before we list everyone we recognize in Pazcoguin's photo.
Kate Nash is handling the music
Photo by Getty Images/Robin Little/Red Ferns, via Google
The English singer-songwriter has been working on this project for about eight years. Nash's catalogue will be used in the musical, as well as material she is composing specifically for the show. Earlier this summer, she told Harper's Bazaar, "It's quite amazing seeing dancers physically interpret my songs because it puts a whole new spin on them."
There's a ways to go before it's preview-ready
Blankenbuehler has actors and dancers in the studio, and there was a reading of the first act recently, so the project is definitely coming along. But there's no word yet on when a full staging, much less an out-of-town tryout, might happen. (It's fine, we'll just keep Instagram-stalking the cast until then...)
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Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"
At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, she staked her claim to that title role.
Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.
William Forsythe is bringing his multi-faceted genius to New York City in stripped down form. His "Quiet Evening of Dance," a mix of new and recycled work now at The Shed until October 25, is co-commissioned with Sadler's Wells in London (and a slew of European presenters).
As always, Forsythe's choreography is a layered experience, both kinetic and intellectual. This North American premiere prompted many thoughts, which I whittled down to seven.
"Law & Order: SVU" has dominated the crime show genre for 21 seasons with its famous "ripped from the headlines" strategy of taking plot inspiration from real-life crimes.
So viewers would be forgiven for assuming that the new storyline following the son of Mariska Hargitay's character into dance class originated in the news cycle. After all, the mainstream media widely covered the reaction to Lara Spencer's faux pas on "Good Morning America" in August, when she made fun of Prince George for taking ballet class.
But it turns out
, the storyline was actually the idea of the 9-year-old actor, Ryan Buggle, who plays Hargitay's son. And he came up with it before Spencer ever giggled at the word ballet.