As the Broadway in Detroit series kicks off another fun season, metro-Detroiters are anticipating the the national tour of ‘Come Fly Away’ – the Twyla Tharp tribute to the music of Frank Sinatra that opens Tuesday at the Fisher Theatre. We are always delighted to see people who honed their craft in Michigan make a triumphant return — a validation of the high-caliber training available in the area.
With ‘Come Fly Away,’ two gifted people with Michigan ties are part of the company, and we were lucky enough to interview both. Today, we chat with Justin Urso, a dancer with the troupe, and tomorrow we’ll hear from the Music Director, Rob Cookman.
Justin Urso is thrilled to be working with the Twlya Tharpa and an incredibly talented group of artists in ‘Come Fly Away.’ The Grosse Pointe native has danced with Texas Ballet Theatre and also performed in regional productions of Carnival, The Music Man, and The Producers.
In ‘Come Fly Away’ he is a member of the ensemble and performs swing roles as understudy for the roles of Mary, Sid and Hank.
E: At what point in your life did you know you wanted to dance professionally? What was your path to a professional career?
J.U.: There wasn’t one specific day that I can remember when I said, ‘Wow, I want to be a professional dancer,’ however I do remember falling in love with performing, and more specifically dance, in high school. I worked in musicals with the show choir at Grosse Pointe South and that is really where I developed an interest in dance.
My path to a professional career was hard work. Since I didn’t start formal dance training until I was in college, I had to play serious catch up. I spent a year in a small school in Georgia, a year with the Houston Ballet Academy before starting as a trainee with the Texas Ballet Theatre. Even with my first professional job at TBT I continue to take extra classes and work in the school to continue learning. The work is never really over, even today I am still trying to get better and learn from those around me. I have been so fortunate to have had some really wonderful teachers as well.
E: What do you look forward to about returning to Michigan with a touring show?
J.U.: I love Michigan, so first and foremost, I’m just excited to return home. I look forward to seeing friends and family, but also having the opportunity to perform for the community who last saw me when I was in high school.
E: Words of advice for local students aspiring to a career in dance?
J.U.: This will all sound cliche, but my advice would be: set your goal and don’t stop until you get it. You have to be passionate. Don’t save anything for tomorrow, do it now!
You can catch Mr. Urso in action (and action is the word for Twyla Tharp) in ‘Come Fly Away’ September 13 to 25 at the Fisher Theatre. Tickets are on sale at the Fisher Theatre box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, and online at the Broadway In Detroit website. .