Misty Copeland is a ballerina, first and foremost. but has been turning heads on Broadway this week. Copeland made her Broadway debut in the the musical “On the Town” at the Lyric Theatre this past week. The show is heavy on dance numbers, and Copeland fit right in.
Misty Copeland played Miss Turnstiles, a part originally done by Megan Fairchild, a principal dancer at the prestigious New York City Ballet. Copeland herself is the first African-American woman to be a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said this week of her Broadway debut. “I felt nervous that I was going to forget stuff, which I don’t typically feel. We rehearse so much as ballet dancers and the steps become ingrained in your muscle memory.”
By contrast, Copeland only had six rehearsals and sang her part through on stage twice before going on live in the role.
“The audience is so different from what I’m used to. You know immediately that they are excited to be here, and it’s an incredible feeling. I just felt so overwhelmed — that first entrance and throughout,” she said.
Going to my first Broadway show tomorrow to see Misty Copeland. Hella excited.
— Ras The Destroyer (@Smooth_Orator) August 29, 2015
Copeland is critical of her own performance, not satisfied with her character work in the part. But she does admit that she got the dance part right.
“I remembered all the steps, but I wasn’t happy with Miss Turnstiles. But I was happy with how everything else went. The lights are very different on this stage — they’re a lot stronger,” she said. “But I’m already starting to adjust and get used to it.”
The show is about to close at the Lyric, and Copeland wishes she could get those Broadway audiences to come join her at a ballet performance back on her familiar stage.
“I’m so sad that the show is leaving. I hope at some point it comes back or travels. It’s such an entertaining and spectacular production,” she said. “It’s such a great crowd and I hope that me stepping into this atmosphere will make them feel that they’re invited to come into my home.”
— Lisa Carroll (@Carrollnems) August 29, 2015