The Kennedy Center

Susan Stroman

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    Behind the Curtain: Director/Choreographer Susan Stroman on Little Dancer


Born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1954, Susan Stroman is one of Broadway’s most acclaimed and prolific choreographer/directors. She grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and began taking dance lessons when she was 5. She majored in theatre at the University of Delaware and after graduating in 1976, moved to New York City. She worked as a dancer for a while, touring in the original productions of Chicago and Sugar Babies, then began choreographing jobs on and off Broadway.

Stroman's first big break came when director Scott Ellis hired her to choreograph the Off-Broadway revival of Kander and Ebb’s Flora, the Red Menace, in 1987. Director Harold Prince saw her work and engaged her to provide the dances for his New York City Opera production of Don Giovanni. In 1992,she collaborated with director (and future husband) Mike Ockrent on Crazy for You, winning her first Tony for Choreography. In 1994, she provided the Tony-winning choreography for the revival of Showboat, directed by Prince. As choreographer of a revival of Oklahoma!, in London, she replaced Agnes de Mille’s historic choreography at the close of Act I with her own ballet. Michael Coveny of The Daily Mail called her choreography "perhaps the biggest star of the night."

In the spring of 2000, she received four Tony awards for directing and choreographing the three-part dance play Contact and a revival of The Music Man. In the midst of creating these two shows, her husband died of leukemia, taking much of the joy from her success. Stepping in for her late husband, Stroman assumed the reins of the stage musical adaptation of The Producers. The show proved to be a triumph on Broadway, earning a record 12 Tony Awards, including those for direction and choreography. Ms. Stroman lives and works in New York City.
Susan Stroman