Tiler Peck as Marie in 'Marie, Dancing Still - A New Musical'. Photo credit: Matt Karas.
New York City Ballet superstar, Tiler Peck, is preparing for previews this week of Marie, Dancing Still - A New Musical at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, and the dance and theatre worlds are beginning to take notice.
The musical — previously titled, Little Dancer — reunites the seemingly non-stop red-hot dance world luminary Peck in the leading role of ‘Marie’ with iconic Tony® Award-winning director/choreographer Susan Stroman. Both Peck and Stroman worked on a 2014 incarnation of the musical at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center.
“This musical holds a very special place in my heart. It incorporates three of my passions — my love for dance, theater, and art — in one show,” Peck told Dance Network.
Peck, now principal with City Ballet who’s been officially dancing with the company since 2005, made her Broadway debut when she played the role of Gracie Shinn in the Stroman directed and choreographed revival of The Music Man back in 2000. Peck has also been seen on Broadway in the 2014 revival production of On The Town and was the focus of the 2018 documentary, Ballet Now.
Susan Stroman, a five-time Tony® Award-winning director and choreographer whose work includes Crazy For You, Showboat, Steel Pier, The Music Man, The Producers, Oklahoma, The Scottsboro Boys, and more is once again charged with the direction and choreography of the piece.
“[Susan Stroman] is extraordinary," Peck said of the musical's legendary directory. "I have never seen someone lead the way she does. She commands the room and knows exactly what she wants while at the same time surrounding us with so much love and space for collaboration."
The company also features a whole host of Broadway veterans, including Tony® nominee (and husband to Broadway’s Charlotte d’Amboise) Terrence Mann, Tony® nominee Louise Pitre as Adult Marie, Tony® nominee Dee Hoty as Mary Cassatt, Tony® winner Karen Ziemba as Martine Van Goethem, Jenny Powers as Antoinette Van Goethem, Kyle Harris as Christian, Christopher Gurr as Corbeil and Degas Understudy, and Noelle Hogan as Charlotte Van Goethem.
Terrence Mann (left) as Degas and Tiler Peck in 'Marie, Dancing Still - A New Musical'. Photo credit: Walter McBride.
“In this era of groundbreaking artistry, a girl named Marie (Peck) dreams of being the next star of the ballet,” reads a statement by the 5th Avenue Theatre. “Despite the odds of her hard-scrabble life, she scrimps, saves and steals in pursuit of her ambitions. But when fate leads her to the studio of Impressionist Edgar Degas, she unknowingly steps into immortality—becoming the inspiration for his most famous sculpture ever: Little Dancer.”
Marie, Dancing Still begins preview performances Friday, and it will be the first time in almost five years that a paying crowd will have a chance to see the now revamped musical.
"The previews are the first time we are able to share our show with the audience," Peck said. "We are all very excited to present what we have been working so hard on - and see how it touches people. The audience is the last cast member of the show."
The musical is written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty the composing team behind Broadway hits like Ragtime, Once On This Island, and Anastasia. Ahrens wrote the book and lyrics, and Flaherty, the music.
“The Ahrens and Flaherty score touches the soul,” said Peck, “and I hope the audience leaves feeling as moved as I do to dance to this beautiful music and tell this inspiring, true, and emotional story.”
“It feels right to honor Marie, this unknown young dancer who's actually now the most famous dancer in the world,” Ahrens told playbill.com in an interview. “It’s time the world knew her name and her struggle and her triumph.”
Full casting, according to Playbill, includes: Caitlin Abraham, Polly Baird, Lauren Blackman, Anaïs Blake, Jim Borstelmann, Abbey Del Corral, Sara Esty, Justin Genna, Tyler Hardwick, Barbara Marineau, Jolina Javier, Jasmine Ward, and Lyrica Woodruff, with Jessica Bishop, Richard Gatta, Amy Ruggiero, and David Prottas as swings.
Marie, Dancing Still begins preview performances March 22, with an opening night set for March 29. The production is scheduled to run through April 14.
For more information and tickets, visit www.5thavenue.org.