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PhotosBACK: Sono Osato, ON THE TOWN's Original Ivy Smith, Breaking Racist Barriers


As American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland prepares to begin her 12-performance run as On The Town's Miss Turnstiles, Ivy Smith, it's a good time to remember the role's 1944 Broadway originator, Sono Osato.

America was still at war with Japan when On The Town hit Broadway in December of '44, and Osato's Japanese-American father couldn't attend opening night because he was held in internment in Chicago.

The highly anticipated new musical, ALLEGIANCE is based on star George Takei's experiences involving Japanese internment during World War II.

The vintage photo below shows John Battles, Sono Osato, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Cris Alexander, Nancy Walker and other company member of the original production of On The Town.

In its day On The Town was noted for being far more racially integrated than the usual Broadway musical, with non-white actors playing roles that weren't scripted as token representations of their race. That tradition continues with Copeland, who is African-American, playing Ivy starting tonight, August 25th for a 12-performance engagement ending September 6th. We're wishing her a hell of a run.

On The Town will conclude its run on Broadway on Sunday, September 6, making this the longest-running Broadway production of the show since the 1944 original. ON THE TOWN began previews on Saturday, September 20, 2014 and officially opened on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at Broadway's Lyric Theatre (213 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036).

Directed by John Rando (Tony Award winner for Urinetown) and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse(Emmy Award winner for "Smash"), ON THE TOWN features eye popping sets (by Beowulf Boritt) and gorgeous costumes (Jess Goldstein), a score by Leonard Bernstein, one of America's greatest composers, and book & lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The show is based on an idea byJerome Robbins.

ON THE TOWN currently stars Tony Yazbeck (Gypsy, A Chorus Line), Jay Armstrong Johnson(TheNew York Philharmonic's Sweeney Todd, Hands On A Hardbody, Hair), and Clyde Alves (Bullets Over Broadway, Nice Work If You Can Get It) as the sailors on 24-hour shore leave who take on the Big Apple; Alysha Umphress (American Idiot) and Elizabeth Stanley (Company) as the women who steal their hearts; and Jackie Hoffman (Hairspray, Xanadu) in the role of "Madame Dilly". Tony Award winner Michael Rupert (Legally Blonde: The Musical, Ragtime, Falsettos, Sweet Charity) plays "Judge Pitkin" alongside Allison Guinn (Hair) as "Lucy Schmeeler," Tony Award nominee Phillip Boykin (The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess) and Stephen DeRosa(Hairspray, The Nance, Into The Woods).

Join three sailors with only 24-hour shore leave in New York as they are swept off their feet by three beautiful New York women for one amazing night On The Town.

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