Broadway Dance Lab's Spring 2018 Cycle Launches Today
Broadway Dance Lab (BDL), a non-profit choreography incubator supporting new works of dance-driven theatre, has announced that former New York City Ballet principal dancer, and Tony Award nominee, Robert Fairchild, will join Loni Landon and Ray Mercer as guest choreographers for the company's Spring 2018 Cycle. The Lab is set to begin on Feb. 26, and will culminate with a Gala performance on April 2 at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
Fairchild made his Broadway debut in 2015 with his breakout role as "Jerry Mulligan" in the Tony Award-winning musical AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, which he reprised in London in 2017. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance By An Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, and won the 2015 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, the 2015 Astaire Award for Best Male Dancer, and the 2015 Theatre World Award. He was also nominated for the 2015 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance.
Dancers joining BDL for the Spring 2018 Cycle are Joshua Burrage, Morgan Gillott, Jules-Romay Joseph, Nikki Croker, Michaela McGowan, Melody Rose, Michelle Mercedes Russell, Scott Schneider, Cassandra Surianello, Reed Tankersley, Julien Valme, and Kyle Weiler.
The company has also announced a new mentorship initiative, BDL Connect, which will match exceptionally talented, rising choreographers with master Broadway choreographers. Mentors will observe "Connectors" as they work, and meet privately with them to offer feedback and guidance. Choreographer Paul McGill has been selected as the next participant, and will create a new work on the students of Pace University this spring, under the mentorship of BDL artistic director, Josh Prince.
Founded in 2012 by Prince, BDL is the only arts service organization of its kind dedicated to giving theatre dance makers the tools they need to practice their craft and test their ideas in an environment of artistic privacy.
"Coming from a show like America's Got Talent, Broadway Dance Lab was such an amazing gift in my creative journey," Fall 2017 choreographer Brooke Wendle said. "I learned to trust myself in an entirely new way I did not thing possible, and I am forever grateful."
In addition to Wendle, past BDL choreographers have included Andy Blankenbeuhler, Lorin Latarro, Larry Keigwin, Camille A. Brown, JoAnn M. Hunter and Al Blackstone. The company has been presented by the Guggenheim Museum's Works and Process, and has been profiled by PBS, American Theatre Wing, The Wall Street Journal and Dance Magazine. Their monthly podcast, In Step with Broadway Dance Lab, features interviews with choreographers discussing their careers in the industry. It is available for streaming on Apple iTunes.
To learn more about the company, visit www.broadwaydancelab.org.
Broadway Dance Lab is a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Broadway choreographer, Josh Prince (Beautiful, Shrek), and serves as a choreography incubator designed to promote the use of dance in musical theater. The company provides space, dancers and private creative time to choreographers of all technical backgrounds so that they may grow their ideas and collaborate more effectively with colleagues in the field.
After graduating with a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Josh appeared on Broadway in Little Me, starring Martin Short and Faith Prince, as well as Saturday Night Fever, where he understudied the role of "Bobby C". He starred Off-Broadway in Forbidden Broadway and the play, In The Wings. He also toured the country as Skimbleshanks in Cats and played Carmen Ghia in The Producers (opposite Jason Alexander and Martin Short) at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles.
In 2006, Josh turned his attention toward direction and choreography and presented his work at a prestigious industry showcase, Dance Break. Three weeks later, Josh was asked to join the creative team of the Tony nominated Shrek, The Musical, which opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theater in December, 2008 and went on to tour the US, play the West End at the Theater Royal Drury Lane, and tour the UK. For his choreography in Shrek, The Musical he received an Outer Critics Circle Nomination. Since then, he has had the pleasure of working at Carnegie Hall (The Jerry Springer Opera, starring Harvey Keitel), Lincoln Center (Camelot, starring Gabriel Byrne - PBS), The Kennedy Center (Spring Gala, hosted by Liza Minelli; Latino Inaugural Celebration in2013 with Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno), Town Hall (All Singing All Dancing, co-director), The Brooklyn Academy of Music (The Bridge Project 2009/10, directed by Sam Mendes), and The New Group (The Kid; Bunty Berman Presents, directed by Scott Elliott). In London, he has worked at The Old Vic (The Bridge Project), The Royal Festival Hall (Singin' In The Rain) and The Royal Albert Hall (My Fair Lady, Chor.; BBC Prom 59 starring Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane. Dir./chor.). Josh has had the pleasure of working with award winning director, James Lapine, and composer William Finn on the revival of A New Brain for City Center Encores! Off-Center and again with Lapine on his most recent play, Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing, at The Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. He recently finished working with Tony nominated director, Sheryl Kaller, on the adaptation of the mega-hit blockbuster, Frozen, for Disney Cruise Lines.<
Josh is currently the choreographer for the hit Broadway show, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, which was nominated for a Tony in 2014 and an Olivier Award after it opened in the London's West End in Feburary 2015 at the Aldwych Theatre. For his work on Beautiful, Josh was nominated for the Fred and Adele Astaire Award and the Olivier Award. Beautiful launched its US National Tour tour in September of 2015 and will mount Australian and UK tours this year.
Robert Fairchild made his Broadway debut in 2015 with his breakout role as "Jerry Mulligan" in the Tony Award-winning musical AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, which he reprised in London in 2017. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance By An Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, and won the 2015 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, the 2015 Astaire Award for Best Male Dancer, and the 2015 Theatre World Award. He was also nominated for the 2015 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance. As one of the world's preeminent ballet dancers, Robert Fairchild began dancing at the age of four in Salt Lake City. He began his training at the School of American Ballet at the age of 15 and shortly after rose through the ranks of the prestigious New York City Ballet. He became an apprentice with NYCB in June 2005. The following June, he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet, was promoted to Soloist in May 2007 and to Principal Dancer in October 2009. Theater: Harry Beaton in "Brigadoon" at New York City Center; Jerry Mulligan in "An American in Paris" on Broadway and the West End; Will Parker in "Oklahoma" at the Royal Albert Hall for the "BBC Proms"; Mike Costa in "A Chorus Line" at the Hollywood Bowl; Bill Calhoun in "Kiss Me Kate" for Roundabout Theater Company's 2017 Gala. TV: "Julie's Greenroom" on Netflix; Romeo in NYCB's "Romeo and Juliet" and Carousel Boy in NY Philharmonic's "Carousel," both for PBS "Live From Lincoln Center"; "Dancing With The Stars"; "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert"; "Live with Kelly and Michael"; "CBS Sunday Morning"; "60 Minutes." Film: "The Chaperone"; NY Export: Opus Jazz.
Loni Landon, born and raised in New York City, received her BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School. While a student at the NYC High School of Performing Arts, Landon was a NFAA Young Arts Modern Dance Winner. After Juilliard, Landon performed with Aszure Barton and Artists, Ballet Theater Munich, Tanz Munich Theater, and The Metropolitan Opera. Landon is a Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship recipient. As a sought after choreographer, her work has been commissioned by The Joyce Theater, Keigwin + Company, Whim Whim, LEVY DANCE, The Juilliard School, BODYTRAFFIC, American Dance Institute, Northwest Dance Project, Hubbard Street II, Ballet X, Ballet Austin, SUNY Purchase, and Marymount Manhattan College. Her company has performed at The Joyce Theater, Pulse Art Fair, Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out Series, as well as at Bryant Park and the first annual Beach Sessions in Rockaway Beach. Landon choreographed the award-winning film, Saturday Church, which premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival. Landon co-founded THE PLAYGROUND, an initiative designed to give emerging choreographers a place to experiment, while allowing professional dancers to participate affordably.
Ray Mercer, a native of Omaha, NE, is in his 14th year as a member of the Tony Award-winning cast of Disney's The Lion King. Throughout his ongoing Broadway run, he has simultaneously emerged as one of New York City's most prolific choreographers. Mercer's dynamic, visually striking and thought-provoking choreography has won the best onstage presentation award seven times at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' annual Gypsy of the Year competition, more than any other choreographer. Recipient of Joffrey Ballet's Choreographers of Color Award and a Capezio Ace Awards finalist, Mercer has created work on Ailey II, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, New Jersey Ballet, the Pensacola Ballet and Philadanco, among others, and for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS. Mercer started his dance training at the age of 17 when he studied at the University of New Orleans. He has performed with Chicago's Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, as a guest artist with the Boston Ballet and on the national tour of The Lion King. He's worked with performers Garth Fagan, George Faison, Aretha Franklin, Kevin Iega Jeff, Louis Johnson, Rod Stewart and more. Currently the resident choreographer for the Ailey/Fordham Bachelor of Fine Arts program, Mercer also directed and choreographed for the Smithsonian Oman Project, where his choreographic work is archived in the Smithsonian Museum. Just last year, Mercer choreographed Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera at The New York Musical Theatre Festival. Mercer and his work as a choreographer have been recognized by The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Dance Magazine and Movmnt Magazine.
Photo Credit: Daniel Robinson