Michelle Dorrance. Photo by Jayme Thornton

Michelle Dorrance's First Broadway Gig, Plus 9 Other Musicals We Can't Wait to See This Season

What do Percy Jackson, Princess Diana and Tina Turner have in common? They're all characters on Broadway this season. Throw in Michelle Dorrance's choreographic debut, Henry VIII's six diva-licious wives and the 1990s angst of Alanis Morissette, and the 2019–20 season is shaping up to be an exciting mix of past-meets-pop-culture-present.

Here's a look at the musicals hitting Broadway in the coming months. We're biding our time until opening night!


The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Opens: October 16

Choreography by: Patrick McCollum

The fantasy-book-sensation-turned-musical has been described as "one foot in Harry Potter and another in Dear Evan Hansen" by the Chicago Tribune (though diehard fans of the series might disagree with that assessment). McCollum, who's on hand for the choreography, including fight scenes, brings experience from shows like The Band's Visit, The Last Ship and Rocky.

David Byrne's American Utopia

Opens: October 20

Choreography by: Annie-B Parson

Though not technically a musical, dancers will want to check out Talking Heads' frontman David Byrne in his theatrical concert on Broadway. With moves courtesy postmodern icon Annie-B Parson, we're hoping it's a "once in a lifetime" occasion.

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Opens: November 7

Choreography by: Anthony Van Laast

Filled with hit after hit and produced in collaboration with the great Tina Turner, Tina can't be without a smattering of upbeat numbers—how could "Proud Mary" not be a fiery dance scene? And with Adrienne Warren (from Shuffle Along... and Bring It On) as Tina and Hamilton's Daniel J. Watts as the abusive Ike, the show is stuffed with talent to portray the triumphant rock diva's life.

Jagged Little Pill

Opens: December 5

Choreography by: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Transferring an Alanis Morissette '90s pop record to a narrative musical without it being cheesy is a challenge we think Cherkaoui is up to. When Dance Magazine interviewed him prior to last year's American Repertory Theater premiere of Jagged Little Pill, he said,

This work is about daring to look at the complexity of life and see we are full of paradoxes. There is no easy answer, and it can be exciting to have a whole life to find those answers.

West Side Story

Opens: February 6

Choreography by: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

This Ivo van Hove–directed revival is putting a contemporary spin on the iconic West Side Story, and the cast is already stacked with recognizable dancers like Ricky Ubeda, Amar Ramasar and Jacob Guzman. While we're anxious to see van Hove and De Keersmaeker's interpretation, this pair remains an unconventional choice for the Jerome Robbins classic.

​Girl from the North Country

Opens: March 5

Movement direction by: Lucy Hind

Girl from the North Country revisits the songs of Bob Dylan, adapting them for the rolling stones who are passing through a guest house in 1934 Duluth, Minnesota.

SIX: The Musical

Opens: March 12

Choreography by: Carrie-Anne Ingrouille

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Such were the fates of the wives of King Henry VIII, and now they're hitting Broadway to belt out their side of the story in the pop-infused SIX: The Musicalbut not before it opens at sea.

Diana: A New Musical

Opens: March 31

Choreography by: Kelly Devine

The life of "the people's princess" will make its way to Broadway this spring. Still a topic of great intrigue two decades after her death, Princess Diana's life will be unpacked in Diana, shining a light on her compassion but also the darker aspects of her story. With movement by Devine, of Come From Away, the choreography should strike a balance between down-to-earth and regal.

Caroline, or Change

Opens: April 7

Choreographed by: Ann Yee

This revival returns from the West End, starring 2019 Olivier Award winner Sharon D Clarke, who played Caroline across the pond. Set in 1963 Louisiana, the shows revolves around an African-American maid who works for a Jewish family. The West End trailer alone (see below) is a quick testament to Clarke's powerful performance.

Flying Over Sunset

Opens: April 16

Choreographed by: Michelle Dorrance

The characters in this musical aren't tripping over their feet because of Michelle Dorrance's complex choreo (well, they might be). In Flying Over Sunset, Cary Grant, Aldous Huxley and Clare Boothe Luce are chiefly tripping because they're on LSD. Oh, the theater possibilities abound! Extra bonus: Debonair dancer Tony Yazbeck has been cast as Grant. Could this be the danciest show of the season? Here's hoping.

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Brandt in Giselle. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

Skylar Brandt's Taste in Music Is as Delightful as Her Dancing

American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt's dancing is clean, precise and streamlined. It's surprising, then, to learn that her taste in music is "all over the place," she says. (Even more surprising is that Brandt, who has an Instagram following of over 80k, is "in the dark ages" when it comes to her music, and was buying individual songs on iTunes up until a year ago, when her family intervened with an Apple Music plan.)

Though what she's listening to at any given time can vary dramatically, the through-line for Brandt is nostalgia: songs that take her back, whether to childhood, a favorite movie or a piece she's recently performed. Brandt told us about her eclectic taste, and made us a playlist that will keep you guessing:

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Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

NYCDA Is Redefining the Convention Scene Through Life-Changing Opportunities

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:

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Courtesy The Joyce

Dance Magazine Chairman's Award Honoree: Linda Shelton

In an industry that has been clamoring for more female leadership, Linda Shelton, executive director of New York City's The Joyce Theater Foundation since 1993, has been setting an example for decades. As a former general manager of The Joffrey Ballet, U.S. tour manager for the Bolshoi Ballet, National Endowment for the Arts panelist, Dance/NYC board member and Benois de la Danse judge, as well as a current Dance/USA board member, Shelton has served as a global leader in dance. In her tenure at The Joyce, she has not only increased the venue's commissioned programming, but also started presenting beyond The Joyce's walls in locations such as Lincoln Center.

What brought you to The Joyce?

That was many years ago, but it's still the same today: It's a belief in and passion for the mission of the theater, which is to support dance in all of its forms and varieties—every kind of dance that you could imagine.

Diversity is so important in dance leadership today. How do you approach this at The Joyce?

Darren Walker said something interesting at a Dance/NYC Symposium, which was that The Joyce is a disruptor. It was nice to hear in that context, because we don't think of it as something new. We didn't have to change our mission statement to be more diverse. We've been doing this since day one.

Is drawing in new audiences and maintaining longtime supporters ever in conflict?

Of course. I call it the blessing and the curse of our mission. We do present more experimental companies that may attract a younger audience. But it's very tricky. You're not going to tell your long-term audience, "Don't come and see this because you're not going to like the music." We've had people walk out of the theater before, but it's a response. It's important to spark those conversations.

What experimenting have you done?

We've tried a "pay what you decide" ticket the past couple of seasons with some of our more adventurous programming. You would reserve your seat for a dollar and after seeing the show pay what you decide is right for you.

Do you have advice for other dance presenters?

Find opportunities to sit with colleagues from around the country. At Dance/USA there's a presenters' council where we come together and talk about what we're putting in our seasons and what we're passionate about. Maybe there are enough presenters to collaborate and make it possible to bring a company to New York or to do a tour around the country.

Also, remember what it's all about: making that connection between what's onstage and the audience. If we can do that, despite every visa issue and missed flight and injury and changed program and whatever else comes our way, then we should feel good about the job we're doing.

To purchase tickets to the Dance Magazine Awards or become a sponsor, visit dancemediafoundation.org.

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