Curtain Up

November 27, 2011




You may feel as if you’ve downed a glass of champagne or two when you see the Broadway musical Anything Goes. It’s bubbly and intoxicating. In large part, this is due to the one and only Sutton Foster. She carries the frothy mix of story, dancing, and singing with great flair. In the title number, she leads 20 dancers in a fast tap dance of awesome unison—while she’s belting out the song. It’s the explosion of unbound joy the audience has been waiting for, and Foster delivers. Read Sylviane Gold’s story “She’s the Top” to find out how the ordinarily shy Sutton Foster pumps herself for performing the brassy, swaggering Reno Sweeney every night in the theater.

In this issue we say farewell to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. To mark the end of the group’s two-year Legacy Tour, we offer “The Long Goodbye,” a photo collage accompanied by comments from his dancers up and down the decades. Six company members dig into their past as they relive the moments captured in these photos. For more up-to-date news on this last lap of the Legacy Tour, check out our guest blog by company member Rashaun Mitchell at

While it’s the end of Merce, it’s the beginning of Robert Battle. This month Battle helms his first New York City Center season as artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. What are the challenges he faces? What repertoire, new and old, has he chosen? Of course, it’s not the beginning of Robert Battle at all. He’s been a dancer and distinguished choreographer for years, someone who’s so grateful for his early mentors that he’s keen to give back to younger dance artists. In our interview, I was touched by his honesty and openness.

Some dancers are going through both endings and beginnings. Susan Jaffe of American Ballet Theatre, Willy Shives of the Joffrey, and Katita Waldo of San Francisco Ballet have retired from the stage, but they are just beginning to serve as ballet masters, coaching current dancers on the classics. In Joseph Carman’s “Passing On the Magic,” they each talk about the daunting challenges of their new job—and the unexpected rewards.



Photo by Matthew Karas.