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BWW Interview: Robbie and Megan Fairchild Talk Awards Season, Broadway vs. Ballet, and More!

BWW Interview: Robbie and Megan Fairchild Talk Awards Season, Broadway vs. Ballet, and More!

What's better than becoming a principal dancer in the NYC Ballet and then scoring a major role on Broadway? Doing it all with your brother or sister. Robert and Megan Fairchild have seen successful performance careers with their latest ventures being appearances on the Great White Way in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS and ON THE TOWN, respectively.

And as if starring on Broadway at the same time weren't enough, the Fairchilds' (or Fairchildren's...?) simultaneous Broadway appearances also happen to be their Broadway debuts. Of course, this pair is not new to performing in the same city, having already danced alongside one another in the New York City Ballet.

Being the older of the Fairchild siblings, Megan was the first to take an interest in performing, and fittingly, she was also the first to appear on Broadway, if only by a few months. Megan is starring in this season's Tony Award-winning On The Town revival as Ivy Smith, and Robbie is currently portraying the role of Jerry Mulligan in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, for which he earned a Tony nomination.

The unstoppable sibling pair recently chatted with me about their first impressions of the Broadway community, dancing tap duets as kids, and surviving the pressures of their first Broadway awards season. Check out our conversation below!

Awards season is finally over! How was it?

Robbie: Crazy. So crazy. But so fun! I mean, how often are you going to be in a Broadway show, your Broadway debut, and have all of that happen? It was super cool.

BWW Interview: Robbie and Megan Fairchild Talk Awards Season, Broadway vs. Ballet, and More!
Robert Fairchild and Megan Fairchild Facetiming
from their respective theatres

Has life calmed down since the awards craziness?

Megan: Yes! It's nice to not feel judged every show. We were always worried, thinking about, "Oh, there could be Tony voters out there." And we all got sick towards the end, and it made us feel like we couldn't take off, so that was really stressful for my cast. I was really sick right in the last week or two, and it's so nice to not feel that pressure. Also, I've noticed that our audiences seem to be way more into the show now. I don't know if it's a less judgmental audience, or they're people that really truly want to see it. I don't know why it's different, but it's going well for us, thankfully!

Since it's been a few months, are you pretty much used to being on Broadway at the same time as your sibling at this point?

Robbie: It's crazy. I know that she's doing the same show, and even though we're just four blocks away, it feels like we're in such different worlds. I think we're both exhausted. So with anything we do in our spare time, we don't really venture that far away from the theatre. When I go to get food, I go half a block and then back to my theatre.

Megan: Yeah, the thing is, we can share in the fact that we know we're doing the same thing, and we're kind of equally exhausted, so we're in it in that way. But we don't see each other that much.

Do you have any routines worked out about weekly times to meet up?

BWW Interview: Robbie and Megan Fairchild Talk Awards Season, Broadway vs. Ballet, and More!
Robert Fairchild

Robbie: I think we had planned to do Wednesday matinees, but then, I don't think any of us had any free time, especially in the last little bit with all the crazy [awards season] luncheons and events we went to. So we would see each other at some of the luncheons, for like two seconds, so that was really fun. That was so nutty!

Megan: But I think at the ballet, Rob and I typically would see each other every single day a lot. But this is connecting us and bringing us closer in a different way. When we go back to the ballet, we'll have this experience that we can only talk about with each other.

Robbie: We're just so used to being in the ballet, where you'd walk away from the theatre feeling like you did a good job, and maybe there were critics out there... It's kind of in your head a little bit, but not anywhere near to what Megan was just saying about the Tony voters and feeling judged every show.

Megan: Just because my show has been on a little longer, we didn't feel that pressure all year long, so the nominations came out, and then it felt like this competitive environment. That was the first time that the Broadway world reminded me of the ballet world. I've always found the ballet world to be more competitive than this world. Since I first joined, I thought, "Everybody loves each other, everybody's supportive of each other," and then, all of a sudden, it's like a little bit of that pressure cooker feeling.

Have you been able to see each other's Broadway shows?

Robbie: Yeah, like, five times!

Megan: And I've seen AN AMERICAN IN PARIS three times, I think!

I'm sure your parents have loved being able to see both of you in your Broadway debuts.

Megan: Yeah, ever since we've both been on Broadway together, since March or April, it's been the ideal time for every single family member to come, and it's really worthwhile to make the trip. It's a once in a lifetime thing to get to star in a Broadway show like this, and since we're doing it at the same time, people are making trips out to see us who didn't get to see us at the ballet.

Growing up, did you perform together much?

BWW Interview: Robbie and Megan Fairchild Talk Awards Season, Broadway vs. Ballet, and More!
Megan Fairchild

Robbie: We did tap duets together, but that was it.

Megan: We were in different levels in high school, so unless we did a special duet together, we were in different classes. We did a tap dance to "I Can do That," from A CHORUS LINE, but that was the one thing we did together.

When did you start dancing?

Robbie: Megan started first because she was older. She would come home and do performances for my parents. I would try to copy what she was doing, but I didn't know what it was, so I would just start improv-ing behind her. She was always much more disciplined and naturally liked ballet a little more, because she was so good at it. I wasn't very disciplined, so I went the more tap/jazz route.

Megan: Robbie was a really good hip-hop dancer, up til he was like 14, and I told him he should go back to SAB [School of American Ballet] to fix his technique before it was too late. And then he joined the ballet world!

Do you have any more fun stories from performing professionally together?

Robbie: So, two weeks before this specific ballet was supposed to go on, Megan's partner, who's actually rehearsing now, got injured, and I was his understudy, and it was three couples, each romantic, but different.

BWW Interview: Robbie and Megan Fairchild Talk Awards Season, Broadway vs. Ballet, and More!
Megan Fairchild, Robert Fairchild

And so we get thrown in the room together, and we had to do these romantic duets, and luckily ours were much more playful, but it was interesting because they were really complicated partnering sequences, and I really hadn't done very much partnering.

Megan: There were lots of difficult lifts and stuff.

Robbie: Yeah, and so we just tried it at the beginning of rehearsal, and it went so smoothly. It was interesting, because [dancing with Megan] was like dancing with the other version of myself. We had the same sense of timing and musicality, and that's everything.

Megan: We naturally make the same choices. It's really fun.

Megan Fairchild has been a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet since 2005. She hails from Salt Lake City, UT, where she received her ballet training from the Ballet West Conservatory, and later moved to NYC to finish her studies with the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. While at SAB she received the Mae L. Wein Award for Outstanding Promise in 2001, and later that year joined the NYCB as an apprentice. She quickly rose through the ranks dancing in ballets such as Balanchine's Coppelia, Tarantella, and Theme and Variations. In 2010 she danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the PBS "Live from Lincoln Center" filming of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. She has collaborated and modeled for Cole Haan for their line of ballet flats and ZeroGrand women's shoes. Megan is currently playing the role of "Ivy Smith" (AKA Miss Turnstiles) in the 2014 revival of On the Town, for which she was nominated for an Outer Critics Award and received the 2015 Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut. She is married to fellow NYCB principal dancer Andrew Veyette since 2011.?

Robert Fairchild is a member of NYCB, where he has been enjoying his status as principal dancer for the past 5 years. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, he began his dance training at age four. Fairchild originated the role of Romeo in Peter Martins Romeo and Juliet featured in the PBS Live From Lincoln Center television broadcast. Last season Fairchild played the role of Carousel Boy in the NY Philharmonic™s Emmy nominated production of Carousel directed by John Rando and choreographed by Warren Carlyle. He is a Recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise at The School of American Ballet. Fairchild is newly married to Principal Dancer Tiler Peck, also of NYCB. He is currently appearing in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS on Broadway, where he plays the role made famous by Gene Kelly in the 1951 movie. For which, he has earned Astaire, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Theatre World Awards, as well as Tony and Drama League nominations.

Follow Sally Henry and her Broadway musical obsessions on Twitter: @BwayGinger

Photo credit: Megan Fairchild and Robbie Fairchild (Instagram)

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