DancersOver40 Hosts Tribute to Michael Bennett 5/17

Dancers Over 40 continues its fascinating series of tributes to Broadway dance greats with Michael Bennett: A Joyful Noise, featuring an impressive roster of Broadway veterans who worked with the great choreographer/director, Monday May 17th at 8 PM, St. Luke's Theater. Dancers Over 40 has gathered a group of members and their friends who performed with and for Bennett in shows throughout the 60's and 70's (one DO40 member knew Bennett in Buffalo from the time they were 5 years old and danced on the local Buffalo teen dance show when they were 12 - choreographed by Bennett)!

Film clips include the Turkey Lurkey from Promises, Promises, A Chorus Line (from the fantastic 1983 celebration bringing ACL companies from around the world together for one performance), Poor Little Person from Henry, Sweet Henry, Always Mademoiselle from Coco, and rehearsal footage from the original Follies.

The event will focus on the career of Michael Bennett, from his early days in Buffalo, to the first Broadway show that he choreographed - A Joyful Noise - on to Henry, Sweet Henry; Company; Promises, Promises; Coco; Seesaw, Follies, Dreamgirls, the the Pulitzer Prize-winning phenomenon A Chorus Line.

Michael Bennett (1943-1987) was born Michael Bennett DiFiglia in Buffalo. He studied dance and choreography in his teens and staged a number of shows in his local high school before dropping out to accept the role of Baby John in the U.S. and European tours of West Side Story. His career as a Broadway dancer began in the 1961 Comden/Green/Styne Subways Are For Sleeping, followed by Here's Love and Bajour.

Bennett made his choreographic debut with the 1966 A Joyful Noise, which lasted only 12 performances, followed by Henry, Sweet Henry, based on "The World of Henry Orient". Success finally arrived in 1968 when Bennett choreographed Promises, Promises, a show that ran for 1,281 performances. Over the next few years his credits included Twigs, Coco, and the two Sondheim productions, Company and Follies. Bennett's next project was as director and choreographer of A Chorus Line, which opened off-Broadway in 1976, eventually winning nine Tony Awards and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Next was the financially unsuccessful but much admired Ballroom, and 1981 the hit Dreamgirls. Bennett collaborated on most projects with his lifelong friend and co-choreographer/producer Bob Avian.

Michael Bennett: A Joyful Noise continues the series produced by Dancers Over 40, which has included tributes to Bob Fosse, Jack Cole, Michael Kidd, Gower Champion, and Peter Gennaro. The organization is in the unique position of gathering veterans of Broadway, concert, and TV shows, offering a rich, invaluable, and personal history of dance - and especially the American musical theater.

The evening will be taped for inclusion in the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts.

Monday May 17, 8 PM
St. Luke's Theater, 308 West 46th Street
Tickets: $40 ($65 for premium seats)
($20 for members of Dancers Over 40)
Reservations: Telecharge: 212-239-6200 or or the theater box
office (open Tuesday-Saturday, 1 to 6 PM)

Panelists: Bob Avian, Kelly Bishop, Baayork Lee, Margo Sappington, Larry
Fuller, Mary Jane Houdina, Carolyn Kirsch, Nancy Dalton, Steve
Boockvor, Gene Castle, Karin Baker, Rita O'Connor, Joy
Serio Dunbar, and more tba
Moderator: Harvey Evans, "Follies" veteran
Film clips from A Chorus Line (1983 gala); Coco; Henry, Sweet Henry; Promises,

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