2019 DANCE HUMANITARIAN AWARD
JERRY MITCHELL, the acclaimed director and choreographer, is being presented with the 2019 Dancers For Good Humanitarian Award. Twenty-five years ago, Jerry conceived and created Broadway Bares, a comedy burlesque show performed annually for the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS which to date has raised over $19.1M. He continues to serve as Executive Producer of Broadway Bares, with a book, website and satellite productions in Fire Island Pines, Las Vegas (Peepshow, which had a five-year run of continuous performances) and London (West End Bares). BC/EFA is the largest grant-maker to The Actors Fund ($93M) and that support is made possible, in no-small way, by Jerry Mitchell.
Jerry is currently represented on Broadway as the Director/Choreographer of Pretty Woman, soon to open in Hamburg. As Director/Choreographer of Kinky Boots, which recently completed a six year run on Broadway, he received the TONY Award in recognition of his choreography for this 2013 TONY-Award winning Best Musical and was also nominated as Director. Most recently, he directed the Gloria Estefan Broadway bio-musical, On Your Feet, currently touring the U.S. and shortly to be seen in Amsterdam. He was also nominated for an Olivier Award for his choreography in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which he also directed and co-produced in the West End. In the 35 preceding years, Jerry has been involved with over 50 Broadway, Off-Broadway, West End and touring productions, starting as a dancer for Agnes De Mille in Brigadoon and thereafter assisting Michael Bennett and Jerome Robbins. His Broadway debut as Choreographer, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, was followed by The Full Monty (TONY nomination), The Rocky Horror Show, Hairspray (TONY nomination), Gypsy, Never Gonna Dance (TONY nomination), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (TONY nomination), La Cage Aux Folles (TONY Award), Imaginary Friends, Legally Blonde (TONY nomination), which he also directed, Catch Me If You Can and Kinky Boots (also in London, Toronto, Korea, Germany, Japan, Australia and on a U.S. tour.) Other notable credits include choreographing both the Off-Broadway productions and films of Hedwig & The Angry Inch and Jeffrey, the National Tour of Jekyll & Hyde and Paper Mill Playhouse’s acclaimed Follies and the recent Half Time and My Very Own British Invasion (both of which he also directed.) Film work includes In And Out, Scent Of A Woman, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Camp. For television, Jerry choreographed the NBC live production of Hairspray, The Rosie O’Donnell Show andThe Drew Carey Show (EMMY nomination) and ABC’s Geppetto and on camera, in Step It Up And Dance (as host), The Search for Elle Woods andIce Loves Coco. Most recently, Jerry received the Drama League’s Founders’ Award for Excellence in Directing and the George Abbott Lifetime Achievement Award from his peers, the latter being especially meaningful to him in that he was directed by the 96 year old Mr. Abbott in the Broadway revival of On Your Toes.
BOB FOSSE & GWEN VERDON
2019 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE TRIBUTE
BOB FOSSE is renowned as one of America’s most innovative choreographers, directors, and screenwriters. Inspired by Fred Astaire, Fosse grew up tap dancing as part of The Riff Brothers duo and later toured the American variety circuit. Fosse made appearances in a number of MGM movies like Kiss Me, Kate, where he choreographed his own iconic duet with Carol Haney and attracted the attention of Broadway producers. As a creative, Fosse’s Broadway credits include The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Bells Are Ringing, New Girl In Town, Redhead, How To Succeed In Business…, Little Me, Pleasures And Palaces, Sweet Charity, Pippin, Chicago, Dancin’, and Big Deal. Film credits include My Sister Eileen, The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Lenny, The Little Prince, All That Jazz, andStar 80. Fosse choreographed for a number of TV shows such as Ed Sullivan, Dick Cavett, Garry Moore, and Danny Kaye and for TV specials like Liza with a Z. He is the most decorated Tony-winning choreographer and is the only person ever to have won the Triple Crown (the Tony, Emmy, and Oscar all in 1973).
GWEN VERDON served as muse and assistant to legendary Jazz choreographer, Jack Cole, and taught many of his starlets to shine onscreen. Verdon starred in a number of Fosse shows including Damn Yankees, Redhead, New Girl In Town, Sweet Charity, and Chicago. and other Broadway productions including Can-Can and Children, Children. She acted in numerous films and TV shows like All My Children, Captain Kangaroo, Magnum P.I., Cocoon, Alice, and M*A*S*H*. After Bob’s fatal heart attack in 1987, Gwen not only preserved, but also revived Fosse’s choreography on Broadway and in national tours of his shows. In 1999, Verdon went on to co-create the Tony award-winning Fosse, a three-act musical revue showcasing Bob’s legendary choreography. In 1992 Verdon created the Verdon Fosse archival collection at the Library of Congress. Throughout her life she was a strong supporter of the performing arts, mental health, and children’s wellness. Verdon was awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 1992 and received the “Living Legend” medal from the Library of Congress in 2000.