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
Robin Little/Red Ferns/Getty Images
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...)
- Three Principal Ballerinas Who are One with Their Role - Dance ... ›
- A Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon Series From the Creators of Hamilton ›
- The Most Influential People in Dance Today: Andy Blankenbuehler ... ›
- Review: At 53, an Effortless Return to Dance 'Romeo and Juliet ... ›
- Alessandra Ferri — People — Royal Opera House ›
- Andy Blankenbuehler (@ABlankenbuehler) | Twitter ›
- Andy Blankenbuehler | Playbill ›
- Kate Nash: “It's so inspiring to see so many talented women killing it” ›
- Andy Blankenbuehler, 'Hamilton' Choreographer, at Home in Harlem ›
- Kate Nash songs to be used in new Broadway musical - NME ›
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
We knew that Ivo van Hove and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's production of West Side Story would challenge our preconceived notions about the show.
But a recent Vogue story gives us a taste of just how nontraditional the Broadway revival will be. Most notably, van Hove is cutting "I Feel Pretty" and the "Somewhere" ballet, condensing the show into one act to better reflect the urgency of the 48-hour plot. (The choice has been approved by the West Side Story estate, including Sondheim, who has "long been uncomfortable" with some of the "I Feel Pretty" lyrics.)
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.