The Little Dancer, a new holiday family musical written by Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY)’s Founder and Artistic Director Steven Fisher, had its world premiere on December 1st at Theatre 71, off Broadway. Helmed by Richard Vida,The Little Dancer tells the heart-warming story of how fourteen-year-old Marie Van Goethem, the model for Edgar Degas’ one and only sculpture, became the most famous ballerina in the world.
The cast of The Little Dancer features Laura Sky Herman (Marie), Jesse Dalton (Ed/Degas), Heather Cadarette (Mama/Mistress de la Ballet), Lisa Graye (Charlotte), Cat Grey (Louise), Georgia Monroe, Raquel Kahn and Ben Schrager, as well as 32 talented children from Philadelphia who comprise the show’s “Musical Theatre Geek Chorus.”
In addition to Vida and Fisher, the creative team includes Lainie Sakakura (choreographer), W. Brent Sawyer (Music Director/Arrangements), Zach Hyams (Production Stage Manager), Jeremy Bailey-Smith (Sets, Costumes) and Taylor Frith-Brown (Lighting Designer).
The Musical Theatre Geek Chorus (MTGC) is made up of 32 theatrically talented singers selected by audition from the ranks of the Garden State Girlchoir, the Keystone State Boychoir, the New Jersey Boychoir, and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir. These young musical theatre thespians have been participating in a weekly workshop with Broadway veterans Richard Vida and Lainie Sakakura in Philadelphia. They are beyond thrilled to be making their professional NYC debut.
Fifteen performers from the ensemble appear in every performance. The members of MTGC are Charlotte Bazzle, Phoebe Bellagamba, Audim Brokenbough, Elizabeth Clancy, Chloe Clark, Carlie Cocco, Victoria Rose Conroy, Dominic Corcoran, Isaac Darga, Taylor Delli Carpini, Koby Fallon, Logan Ford, Jeremy Peyton Jones, Graham Kohn, Chloe Lee, Carly Levy, Grace Mazzola, Elizabeth Mun, Sade Mutua, Sydney Parson, Ani Peterson, Diya Ramesh, Max Ringold, Stefan Rogowski, Emma Shay, Christopher Simcox, Layla Singleton, Giuliana Stout, Sage Torrisi, and Sarah Wusinich.
The kids are all members of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), an organization that serves over 700 young people in the Philadelphia area through the power of singing in a choir. CY’s founder and Artistic Director, Steve Fisher, wrote the musical. Half of the 700 children Fisher serves are underserved. Not only does The Little Dancer feature children, but it will benefit children as well. Every ticket sold will benefit CY’s program Find Your Instrument!, which partners with under-resourced schools that have no music in them. In Philadelphia, similar to many cities, the poverty rate for children stands at 37%, and 2 out of 3 attend elementary schools have no choral program.
“I can’t believe I get to be on a NYC stage!” says Isaac Darga, a 10-year old MTGC member. “Music is such an important part of my life, it makes me happy to know that my performance will benefit other kids who don’t have music in their lives.”
This one hour show has a delightful story, toe tapping songs and an uplifting holiday ending.
For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit www.thelittledancermusical.org. Tickets can also be purchased 30 minutes before curtain at the venue. Theatre 71 at Blessed Sacrament, 152 W. 71st Street, New York, NY 10023, right off Broadway).