Original ON THE TOWN Star Sono Osato Passes Away Age 99

Original ON THE TOWN Star Sono Osato Passes Away Age 99
Portrait of Sono Osato by Marcus Blechman, circa 1943.
Jerome Robbins Dance Division photograph files,
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

BroadwayWorld is sad to report that iconic dancer and performer Sono Osato has passed away. She was 99.

Long before B.D. Wong and Lea Salonga won Tony Awards for their performances in 1988 and 1991, Sono Osato won the first ever Donaldson Award for dancing in the 1943-1944 season in One Touch of Venus. The Donaldson Awards predated the Tony Awards, running from 1944 to 1955.

Osato worked on Broadway with two of the great American musical choreographers of the mid twentieth century, Agnes De Mille and Jerome Robbins.

Osato is best known for her role in Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins in On the Town. In On the Town, Osato, starring as Ivy Smith, wins the monthly Miss Turnstiles competition, and her publicity photo drives one of the three principal male leads, sailors on leave in New York City, to search all over the city for her.

Original ON THE TOWN Star Sono Osato Passes Away Age 99
Sono Osato, Lyle Clark, Don Weismuller, Richard D'Arcy, Frank Westbrook, John Butler, and Duncan Noble in a scene from the stage production of On the Town, 1944. Set design by Oliver Smith. Photograph by Vandamm Studio.
Vandamm theatrical photographs, 1900-1957, Billy Rose Theatre Division,
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

For more about Sono Osato, check out her memoir, Distant Dances.

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