A Broadway Choreographer's Journey
The ultimate insider’s scoop on the most popular shows in Broadway history
Tony and Olivier Award–winning Bob Avian’s dazzling life story, Dancing Man: A Broadway Choreographer’s Journey, is a memoir in three acts. Act I reveals the origins of one of Broadway’s legendary choreographers who appeared onstage with stars like Barbra Streisand and Mary Martin all before he was thirty. Act II includes teaching Katharine Hepburn how to sing and dance in Coco and working with Stephen Sondheim and Michael Bennett while helping to choreograph the original productions of Company and Follies. During this time, Avian won a Tony Award as the cochoreographer of A Chorus Line and produced the spectacular Tony Award–winning Dreamgirls. For a triumphant third act, Avian choreographed Julie Andrews’s return to the New York stage, devised all of the musical staging for Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard, and directed A Chorus Line on Broadway. He worked with the biggest names on Broadway, including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Carol Burnett, Jennifer Holliday, Patti LuPone, Elaine Stritch, and Glenn Close.
Candid, witty, sometimes shocking, and always entertaining, here at last is the ultimate up-close and personal insider’s view from a front row seat at the creation of the biggest, brightest, and best Broadway musicals of the past fifty years.
He’s a Broadway legend . . . or, he would be if he weren’t one of those talented creatures who does the work and happily allows others to dance in the spotlight. Even in Bob Avian’s memoir, you’ll probably remember the larger-than-life personalities he collaborated with more than you’ll remember the choreographer himself. But he’s done it all, and theater buffs will savor his story. . . . Avian tells his story with all the grace and precision one would expect from one of Broadway’s best.- Michael Giltz, broadwaydirect.com
Bob Avian is far more than a Dancing Man—he is one of the savviest, most intuitive, inventive and no bullshit talents the musical theater has ever produced. Bob danced in every type of show from burlesque to West Side Story and learned from many of the giant choreographers of the twentieth century. He was also an integral part of the reinvention of the American musical in the 1970s, working with Stephen Sondheim, Hal Prince, and Michael Bennett on legendary shows such as Company, Follies, and A Chorus Line, as well as producing the smash hit musical Dreamgirls. It was my great fortune to have had Bob begin his solo choreography career with the London premiere production of Follies followed by Miss Saigon. This wonderfully honest and candid autobiography gives the reader a unique, unvarnished place in the many rooms where it happened, as magic was created—and sometimes not! For anyone starting out in the musical theater, this really is how shows come together, and Bob Avian is certainly a key figure in that magical world.- Cameron Mackintosh
When I read Bob’s autobiography I was astonished by the breadth of his life on stage. I don’t think there’s anyone who has done as much in every aspect of our field. It’s mind-blowing. His demeanor is a model for all directors and choreographers. Not only is he supremely talented, he has the wisdom of the great creators in our business. His life in the theater was a page-turner, and his knowledge makes me think I haven’t even touched the surface. I have even more respect and admiration for my dear friend. What a life. What a talent.- Patti LuPone