Michael Bennett


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(b Buffalo, 8 Apr. 1943; d Tucson, Ariz., 2 Jul. 1987)

US dancer, choreographer and Broadway director. He studied tap, jazz, and modern dance as a child and made his debut in 1960 in a European touring production of West Side Story. Returning to New York a year later, he danced in the choruses of Subways Are for Sleeping (1961), Nowhere to Go But Up (1962), Here's Love (1963), and Bajour (1964). On television he danced for The Ed Sullivan Show, Hollywood Palace, and The Dean Martin Show. His first work as a billed choreographer was for A Joyful Noise (1966), which closed after only twelve performances on Broadway but still earned Bennett his first Tony nomination for choreography. His first Broadway hit was Promises, Promises (1968), a musical based on Billy Wilder's 1960 film The Apartment. Coco (1969) and Company (1970) followed. For Follies (1971) Bennett was hired as co-director (with Harold Prince) and choreographer, gaining a Tony Award for each. In 1975 he directed, choreographed, and wrote (winning a Pulitzer Prize) A Chorus Line, the longest-running show on Broadway until it was overtaken by Cats in 1997. Other musicals on which he worked include Ballroom (1978) and Dreamgirls (1981), which ran for more than 1,500 performances on Broadway.

Subjects: Dance.

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