Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Obituaries

Breaking: Tony-Winning Choreographer Bob Avian Passes Away at 83

Avian received Tony Awards for his work on A Chorus Line and Ballroom.

Breaking: Tony-Winning Choreographer Bob Avian Passes Away at 83
Photo courtesy of Peter Pileski

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that beloved Broadway choreographer Bob Avian, known best for his work with Michael Bennett, passed away yesterday from cardiac arrest at Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He was 83 years old.

Bob Avian received his BA from Boston University's College of Fine Arts as well as studied at the Boston Ballet School. He began his professional career as a dancer and was in more than a dozen Broadway shows including WEST SIDE STORY, FUNNY GIRL and HENRY, SWEET HENRY. He then became an integral part of every Michael Bennett production for the next 20 years, working as associate choreographer and assistant director on productions including PROMISES, PROMISES, COCO, COMPANY, FOLLIES, TWIGS, SEESAW and GOD'S FAVORITE.

Breaking: Tony-Winning Choreographer Bob Avian Passes Away at 83
Bob Avian and Michael Bennett
Photo credit: Bob Deutsch

In 1976 he received his first Tony Award as co-choreographer of A CHORUS LINE and won his next Tony Award for co-choreographing BALLROOM as well as serving as producer. He was also a lead producer on the original and national companies of DREAMGIRLS, the highly acclaimed musical which won six Tony Awards.

He next choreographed the London premiere of FOLLIES and then created the musical staging for MISS SAIGON, both for producer Cameron Macintosh. He did the musical staging for Andrew Lloyd Webber's SUNSET BOULEVARD both in London and on Broadway, receiving his sixth Tony nomination. Next came the Boublil and Schonberg musical MARTIN GUERRE in London for which he received the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Choreography. Bob also choreographed Stephen Sondheim's PUTTING IT TOGETHER off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club starring Julie Andrews and then on Broadway starring Carol Burnett.

Returning to London, he choreographed THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK in the West End starring Ian McShane. He came back to Broadway where he directed the hit 2006 revival of A CHORUS LINE and starred in the documentary "Every Little Step" which followed the audition process of that production. He also directed the London revival of A CHORUS LINE at the Palladium in 2013 followed by acclaimed productions at the Hollywood Bowl and New York's City Center in 2018.

Breaking: Tony-Winning Choreographer Bob Avian Passes Away at 83
Accepting the Tony Award 1976
Bob Avian, James Kirkwood, Joe Papp, Donna McKechnie, Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Bennett.
Photo credit: Bob Deutsch
Breaking: Tony-Winning Choreographer Bob Avian Passes Away at 83
Photo courtesy of Peter Pileski

In 2020 his memoir "Dancing Man: A Broadway Choreographer's Journey" co-written with Tom Santopietro was published by University Press of Mississippi.

He is married to director/producer Peter Pileski and resides in CT, NYC and FL. He is survived by Laura Nabedian (sister), five nieces and nephews and a great nephew and great niece.


Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You