Susan Stroman
American theatre director
Susan Stroman
Susan Stroman is an American theatre director, choreographer, film director, and performer. She has won the Tony Award for both her choreography and direction, notably for the stage musical The Producers.
Biography
Susan Stroman's personal information overview.
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Aisle View: Doo-Wop on the Stoop
Huffington Post - 3 months
Bobby Conte Thornton and Nick Cordero in A Bronx Tale Photo: Joan Marcus The ingratiating, low-brow, mob-infused charms of Chazz Palminteri's one-man play A Bronx Tale, which translated so well into Robert De Niro's expanded, big-screen version of the same title, remain in evidence in the new musical version at the Longacre. Said charms, unfortunately, are interrupted by song after song after song: some doo-wop, some Motown, some jazz-infused and some standard musical comedy. Too many of the songs are inconsequential, which serves to dilute those ingratiating, low-brow, mob-infused charms which won audiences over in the first (and second) place. This is, indeed, a tale oft-told. Palminteri starred in his semi-autobiographical play off-Broadway in the fall of 1989; the film version opened 1993. The star then brought the play back to New York, for a Broadway run in 2007 at the Walter Kerr; a key addition to the project was director Jerry Zaks, who was presumably respon ...
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Huffington Post article
Jennifer Ashley Tepper Dazzles Again With 'The Untold Stories Of Broadway'
Huffington Post - 3 months
If the walls of Broadway's fabled theatres could talk, they'd tell amazing stories. And historian Jennifer Ashley Tepper shares them with flair. As she never tires of pointing out, the physical setting of a theatre--everything from modern sounds and lights to a creaking infrastructure dating back decades--can play as much of a role in shaping productions as the actors onstage. There may be no better example than the surreal opening night of "Once in a Lifetime," a comedy written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, which debuted at the Music Box Theatre in 1930. As the show began the cast realized that something was gravely wrong. Surefire laugh lines were falling flat and the audience was silent. It hadn't heard one word. In his memoir, "Act One," Hart remembered looking wildly toward Kaufman to see what was amiss, and the panic ended only when a voice in the balcony rang out: "It's the fans--turn off the fans!" In the excitement of opening night, an electrician forgot to shut them ...
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Aisle View: Soggy Firecrackers
Huffington Post - 5 months
Corbin Bleu, Lora Lee Gayer and Bryce Pinkham in Holiday Inn Photo: Joan Marcus Eight holiday seasons ago, an accomplished group of Broadway pros led by Walter Bobbie and Randy Skinner took Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"--a tame, geriatric 1954 movie which starred Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye--and transformed it into a bright, friendly & entertaining-enough musical. This was trotted out under a novel formula, with Thanksgiving-to-New Year's runs in multiple cities, and seems to have done relatively well; it has also proved a valuable title in the licensing trade (i.e.: stock, amateur, and non-Broadway level productions). We now have a second Irving Berlin movie-turned-musical, this one derived from the 1942 "Holiday Inn," which also starred Crosby (with Fred Astaire as his song-and-dance partner/rival). A decidedly better and more enjoyable film than "White Christmas," it is rather surprising to find that Holiday Inn--offered as the Roundabout's big fall musical--m ...
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Huffington Post article
Artistry in Dance: 'American Dance Machine' & 'Noises Off'
Huffington Post - about 1 year
We struck gold twice in a matter of weeks -- my daughters, Lea and Sara, and I -- intoxicating artistry in dance at a pair of performances spanning the old and new year. Just on the cusp of New Year's Eve, we caught the final show of American Dance Machine for the 21st Century's December run at the Joyce Theater; a three-o'clock matinee that packed the wallop of Times Square and a ball at midnight. The following weekend, we laughed ourselves senseless at a matinee of Roundabout Theater's revival of Noises Off at the Selwyn Theatre on 42nd Street (which Roundabout persists in calling the "American Airlines Theater" in an act of sacrilegiously poetic injustice). What a blast, though, two disparate shows with one thing in common: How they moved! Where American Dance Machine literally recreates the enchanting choreography of great Broadway musicals gone by, Noises Off reconstitutes the slapstick choreography of Michael Frayn's delirious three-act paean to the perils of simply making ...
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New Musical Theatre a Hysterical Night in Bullets at Pantages
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Photo Courtesy of Nederlander / Pantages Theatre Hit and miss. That's my relationship with Woody Allen's work; hit and miss. When he's funny, when he's on, either as an entertainer or a director, he's very, very on. On my list of favorites of mine from Allen is Bullets Over Broadway; a campy film that tells Allen's tale over and over again; young, insecure nebbish guy, glitzy girl, improbable situations, irony and satire galore it's one of his best. It's because of the strength of the source material it seemed a shoe-in for a full-blown Broadway success as a musical especially with Allen writing the play's book, Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carneila doing the original music and score. A majority of music for the play would be period era pieces that existed already, allegedly a recommendation from Allen's sister, Letty Aronson. Susan Stroman was brought in to help bring that to life and bam! In 2014 a new musical was brought to Broadway's St. James Theatre. Reviews for it were ...
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Huffington Post article
Stage Door: <i>American Dance Machine for the 21st Century</i>
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Say what you will about Broadway's inflated ticket prices. For those who love musicals for the dancing, this show is for you. In tribute to the toe-tapping, high-energy choreography of The Great White Way, American Dance Machine For The 21st Century has fashioned an electric night. Now at the Joyce, the company has compiled some of the greatest hits of choreography, including Bob Fosse's Pippin, Agnes De Mille's Oklahoma, Donald McKayle's amazing fight scene in Golden Boy and Jerome Robbins' glorious West Side Story. And it has restaged them with elan. With 19 numbers in all, beginning with the 1953 "Beale Street Blues" by jazz dance master Jack Cole, up through the 2014 Tony-winning After Midnight by Warren Carlyle, the variety and legendary innovations of dance through the decades are celebrated in a fast-paced, often snazzy production. There is a cross-section of famous shows -- from Kismet to A Chorus Line. The two Tommy Tune numbers, however, pale in comparison ...
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The Weird and Wonderful Ricky Ritzel, Off-Broadway's Whirling Dervish on Broadway
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Ricky Ritzel is the Manhattan club world's kinetic musical fixture, the creative whirlwind who chaperones the weekly reunifications of Judy Garland and not-so-ever-lovin' daughter Liza -- or reasonable facsimiles thereof -- at Don't Tell Mama. What's Don't Tell Mama? If you have to ask, don't consider yourself a Broadway buff or an American Songbook aficionado. Don't Tell Mama is the cabaret multiplex on West 46th Street where most glorious Broadway stars and award-winning composers first displayed their talents. Like who? Brian D'Arcy James, Marin Mazzie, Susan Stroman, Mark Nadler, Jim Gaffigan, Billy Porter, Steven Lutvak, (Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) Jonathan Larson (Rent) and Jason Robert Brown (Bridges of Madison County) -- two showrooms, one cafe and a music bar where you might find yourself cheek to cheek with Bette Midler, Michael Feinstein or a plethora of Lizas both with and without a Z. Ricky Ritzel, Don't Tell Mama's blue-collar-yenta-cum-theatr ...
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Huffington Post article
A Buoyant Merry Widow at Lyric Opera of Chicago
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Ooh-la-la! As John Oliver mentioned in response to the recent attacks on France's capital, Paris will endure - largely due to its rich culture and passionate people. And the delightful comic operetta by Hungarian composer Franz Lehár, The Merry Widow, celebrates the very best of Paris. This production, which debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 2014, brings along its original star (and Lyric Opera of Chicago "creative consultant") Renée Fleming (through December 3 only - soprano Nicole Cabell takes over the lead Dec 9-13), the design team (including the decadent gowns by celebrated Broadway stalwart William Ivey Long) and Tony award-winning director/choreographer Susan Stroman. While the plot is slight, the music is sumptuous. Fleming floats across the stage as the desired millionaire widow, Hanna Glawari. Men throw themselves at her feet for obvious reasons. But she's not having it - Hanna's eyes are set on Count Danilo Danilovitsch (the matinee-idol charming Thomas Hampson), h ...
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Huffington Post article
Stage Door: <i>King Charles III, Thérèse Raquin</i>
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Modern British royals have long fascinated Americans, more often for their romantic scandals than an innate ability to rule. But in Mike Bartlett's King Charles III, at Broadway's Music Box Theater, Prince Charles finally ascends his birthright: The Queen is dead, long live the King. "I am better thoughtful prince than king," he muses, in a play written primarily in blank verse. Starring Tim Pigott-Smith in a riveting performance as Charles, the play makes a Shakespearean tragedy out of the current monarchy. Elements of Henry IV and King Lear are clearly referenced. In this post-Elizabeth II world, Charles is determined to become king on his own terms. And even before his coronation, sparks fly. The Prime Minister (Adam James) has presented Charles with a bill about curtailing freedom of the press, following the News of the World hacking scandal. Given the press' treatment of his family, and especially Princess Diana, one expects him to wholly endorse it. After all, traditi ...
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Huffington Post article
Megan Fairchild
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Megan performing George Balanchine's Theme and Variations. Photo credit: Paul Kolnik. George Balanchine commanded, "I don't need dancers who want to dance. I need dancers who need to dance". New York City Ballet principal dancer Megan Fairchild has the the fire. She has danced principal roles in Pierrette in Balanchine's Harlequinade, the Second Act Divertissement in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Swanhilda in the George Balanchine/Alexandra Danilova production of Coppelia, Aurora and Princess Florine in Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty, and Florence in The Blue Necklace in Susan Stroman's Double Feature to name a few. "My greatest pleasure as a dancer is getting to dance to live music in front of an audience. There is something special about the air and atmosphere onstage in a performance. Every movement and moment is special, nothing exists until you make it happen on that stage. The power you feel from that is incredibly thrilling. You get to be part of this speci ...
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Susan Stroman
    FIFTIES
  • 2014
    Age 59
    She directed and choreographed the new musical Little Dancer, which ran at the Kennedy Center, Eisenhower Theater from October 25, 2014 to November 30.
    More Details Hide Details The book and lyrics are by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. In 2004, Stroman was the first woman to choreograph a full-length ballet for New York City Ballet. Double Feature, with music by Irving Berlin and Walter Donaldson, is now in the New York City Ballet repertory. Stroman had previously worked with New York City Ballet in 1999, when she created Blossom Got Kissed, featuring the music of Duke Ellington, to celebrate the company’s 50th Anniversary season. She later revisited the piece, choreographing three additional short dances to be performed alongside the original. This new expanded ballet entitled For the Love of Duke premiered in May 2011. In 1997 she created But Not for Me for the Martha Graham Company, using the music of George Gershwin. The world premiere of Take Five…More Or Less with The Pacific Northwest Ballet opened in 2008. Stroman combined jazz music by Dave Brubeck and classical pointe work. The ballet is now in their repertoire.
    Stroman worked with Woody Allen on a musical adaptation of his film Bullets Over Broadway, titled Bullets Over Broadway the Musical, which opened on Broadway in April 2014.
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  • 2013
    Age 58
    Stroman is the director and choreographer of a new musical, Big Fish with songs by Andrew Lippa and book by John August. The show, based on the book and film of the same name, opened at the Oriental Theater in Chicago in April and May 2013 and then ran on Broadway in September 2013 to December 2013.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2010
    Age 55
    She co-directed with Hal Prince the new musical Paradise Found, which premiered at the Menier Chocolate Factory (London) on May 19, 2010.
    More Details Hide Details The cast included Mandy Patinkin, Judy Kaye and Shuler Hensley. She is collaborating with Prince once again as co-director of a new musical entitled Prince of Broadway, a retrospective of the career and life of Hal Prince. The show has orchestrations and new material written by Jason Robert Brown. The revue is expected to premiere in Tokyo in October 2015 and then Osaka in November through December 2015.
  • 2007
    Age 52
    In 2007, she again collaborated with Brooks, as director and choreographer of the musical Young Frankenstein.
    More Details Hide Details She is both director and choreographer of the musical Happiness, which has a book by John Weidman. The musical opened in February 2009 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center. The musical The Scottsboro Boys opened at the Vineyard Theatre in February 2010. The music is by Kander and Ebb and the book is by David Thompson; Stroman both directed and choreographed. The show later transferred to Broadway where it ran for 49 performances at the Lyceum Theatre and received 12 Tony Award Nominations. Regional theaters such as San Diego’s Old Globe and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco have mounted successful productions of the show. The Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles recently announced a production for 2013. Stroman directed the UK premiere of The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic in London in October 2013.
  • 2005
    Age 50
    In 2005, she made her feature film directorial debut with a film adaptation of the show.
    More Details Hide Details The movie was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards.
  • FORTIES
  • 2000
    Age 45
    She immersed herself in her work and directed and choreographed her first Broadway show as director, the 2000 revival of The Music Man.
    More Details Hide Details At the same time, Stroman was approached by Lincoln Center Theater's artistic director Andre Bishop, who offered assistance with developing the project of her choice. She and John Weidman, who had written the book for Big, began working on what would become the three-part "dance play" Contact, which she choreographed as well as directed. The show opened at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theater in the fall of 1999, and later transferred to the larger Vivian Beaumont Theater, where it was reclassified as a musical. It won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Musical. Stroman won her third Tony Award for best choreography. Contact won a 2003 Emmy Award for Outstanding Classical Music-Dance Program when a live broadcast of the show appeared as an episode of PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. For Lincoln Center Theater, Stroman went on to direct and choreograph Thou Shalt Not (2001) with music by Harry Connick Jr. and The Frogs (2004) with book by Nathan Lane. Stroman received the American Choreography Award for her work in Columbia Pictures Feature film Center Stage (2000). In 2001, Stroman directed and choreographed Mel Brooks' musical The Producers. Stroman's late husband, Ockrent, had initially been named to direct. It was a commercial success and won a record twelve Tony Awards. Stroman won her fourth and fifth Tony Awards for direction and choreography, becoming the first woman to win both awards in the same night.
  • 1999
    Age 44
    Her husband Mike Ockrent lost his battle with leukemia on December 2, 1999.
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    In 1999, her choreography of Oklahoma!, directed by Trevor Nunn at The Royal National Theater, won Stroman her second Olivier Award for her outstanding choreography.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1994
    Age 39
    In 1994, Stroman collaborated again with her husband, Mike Ockrent on the holiday spectacular "A Christmas Carol" at Madison Square Garden, which ran for 10 years, and the Broadway show Big, The Musical (1996).
    More Details Hide Details She returned to her collaboration with Kander and Ebb, Ellis and Thompson on the Broadway show Steel Pier (1997).
    In 1994, Stroman won her second Tony Award when she collaborated with Prince on a revival of Show Boat, where she unleashed some of her most innovative ideas.
    More Details Hide Details She added several dance montages to the show, complete with a revolving door, to help guide the audience through the generations that are covered in the show. Stroman heavily researched the period in which the show takes place and learned that African-Americans are credited for inventing the Charleston. She used that information in designing the montages, as the popular dance is introduced by and eventually appropriated from the black characters.
  • 1992
    Age 37
    She earned her third Broadway credit for her collaboration with director, and then-future husband, Mike Ockrent on Crazy for You in 1992.
    More Details Hide Details The show won the Tony Award for Best Musical and she won her first Tony Award for Best Choreography.
    She went on to choreograph Liza Stepping Out at Radio City Music Hall in 1992, receiving an Emmy nomination for her work.
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  • 1991
    Age 36
    Her relationship with Kander and Ebb led to co-creating, with Ellis and David Thompson, the hit Off-Broadway musical And the World Goes 'Round in 1991.
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  • 1987
    Age 32
    Stroman's big break as a choreographer came in 1987 when director Scott Ellis hired her for his Off-Broadway revival of Flora the Red Menace (music by John Kander and Fred Ebb) at the Vineyard Theatre near Union Square.
    More Details Hide Details Her work there was seen by Hal Prince, who hired her to work on the dance sequences for his New York City Opera production of Don Giovanni.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1980
    Age 25
    In 1980 she was assistant director, assistant choreographer, and dance captain for the Broadway show Musical Chairs.
    More Details Hide Details Wanting to direct and choreograph instead of perform, Stroman concentrated on creating for the theater. She worked in small venues as a director and choreographer in various industrial shows, club acts and commercials.
  • 1979
    Age 24
    Her first Broadway credit was as an ensemble member in the 1979 musical Whoopee!
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  • 1977
    Age 22
    Her first professional appearance was in Hit the Deck at the Goodspeed Opera House in 1977.
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  • 1976
    Age 21
    After graduating in 1976, she moved to New York City.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1954
    Born
    Born on October 17, 1954.
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