The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced that it will produce the world premiere original musical, Little Dancer. The show will feature book and lyrics by Tony Award winner Lynn Ahrens, music by Tony Award winner Stephen Flaherty, and direction and choreography by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman. It will begin performances in The Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater in October 2014. Casting will be announced at a later date.
Set in the harsh backstage world of the Paris Opera Ballet, Little Dancer is inspired by a young ballerina named Marie who posed for Edgar Degas and became the world's most famous dancer. Torn by poverty, her debt to the artist, and the lure of wealthy men, Marie struggles to keep her place in the ballet corps, caught between the conflicting demands of life and art.
Ahrens and Flaherty's musical Ragtime, with a book by Terrence McNally and direction by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, received a major revival at The Kennedy Center in 2009. It transferred to Broadway later that year, earning six Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Revival of a Musical.
Stroman is currently directing and choreographing the world premiere musical Big Fish in Chicago. Her extensive Broadway résumé includes The Producers, Young Frankenstein, The Scottsboro Boys, Contact, and Big.
Now in its 42nd season, The Kennedy Center has coproduced the original productions of Annie and Titanic as well as the American premiere of Les Misérables. The company's recent major revival of Follies transferred to Broadway in 2011 and later played a successful engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. The production received seven Tony Award nominations.