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We’re delighted to announce casting for the Encores! production of Big River, Roger Miller’s Tony Award-winning musical about friendship, freedom, and the untamed Mississippi. Fresh off his Theatre World Award-winning turn as Arpad in She Loves Me, Nicholas Barasch will make his Encores! debut as the scrappy, restless dreamer Huckleberry Finn, who flees “sivilization” by way of a makeshift raft on the Mississippi River. His copilot: the runaway slave Jim (The Color Purple’s Kyle Scatliffe, also making his Encores! debut). Along the way, they encounter 1840s America in all its beauty and savagery—as epitomized by the mourning innocent Mary Jane Wilkes (Lauren Worsham) and the deliciously seedy theatricals known as the Duke (Christopher Sieber) and the King (Tony Sheldon).

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December 15, 2016 by New York City Center


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Matthew Rushing’s ODETTA, photographed by Paul Kolnik.

“Believing firmly that through dance one can change minds or uplift—not just entertain, but also educate—seems to me to be the backbone of the company,” says Robert Battle, the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In the wake of a traumatizing year in American life, Battle feels that the time is right for the Company to once again step into the fray of current events. This year, Ailey’s annual holiday season at New York City Center shines a brilliant light on a variety of important issues, from Apartheid to police brutality to the powerful legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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December 5, 2016 by New York City Center


Natalia Osipova and Sergei Polunin in Run Mary Run; photo by Bill Cooper

“This project is important for me. It is my dream. This is how I want to express my personality.” That’s how Natalia Osipova describes her determination to commission Natalia Osipova & Artists, a program of contemporary dance that opens at City Center tonight after premiering at Sadler’s Wells in June.

To fling herself so whole-heartedly into contemporary work is an unusual decision for a ballerina to make while she is still at the absolute peak of her classical career. Sylvie Guillem may have blazed the trail, but that was at a point when she knew her Sleeping Beauties and Swan Lakes were numbered. Osipova, on the other hand, is taking this path at the age of 29—when she is simultaneously climbing the pinnacles of traditional technique. “To mix classical and contemporary. That is my wish,” she says.

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November 10, 2016 by New York City Center


Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters in the original Broadway production of Sunday in the Park with George; photo by Martha Swope/©Billy Rose Theatre Division, NYPL for the Performing Arts

Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is coming to City Center next week in a series of benefit concerts starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford. We looked back at how the show was written, how it revolutionized musical theater, and how it taught a generation of artists to move on.

“When I first hear a song sung, I’m worried that I’m going to be embarrassed by what I wrote,” said Stephen Sondheim while Sunday in the Park with George was in previews. “So I try to postpone the moment.” The quote is endearing, and more than a little absurd, coming from the patron saint of musical theater—but in early 1984, Sondheim hadn’t quite hit apotheosis. His previous musical, Merrily We Roll Along, had closed on Broadway after a disastrous 16-performance run, prompting such giddy theater-world schadenfreude that Sondheim considered abandoning Broadway to write mystery novels or video games.

Then salvation came—in the form of a Pointillist masterpiece. In June 1982, Sondheim began a tentative collaboration with James Lapine, a young Off-Broadway playwright. In search of a subject, they began rifling through photographs and paintings, one of which was Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

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October 19, 2016 by New York City Center


Liz Gerring, Pam Tanowitz, and Michelle Dorrance, photographed by Matt Karas.

At City Center, what you see onstage is just the beginning. Behind the back wall of the theater is a hive of creative activity: nine stories of rehearsal rooms, offices, and dance studios that were inaugurated by Balanchine in the 1940s. You might find the likes of Twyla Tharp, Wendy Whelan, and Kyle Abraham rehearsing there on a given afternoon. This season, three acclaimed choreographers will take up residence, thanks to City Center’s Choreography Fellowship program: Liz Gerring, Pam Tanowitz, and Michelle Dorrance.

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October 13, 2016 by New York City Center
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