Tuesday, October 17, 2023

40 Years of Broadway: Creative Influencers: 40 Directors

 40 Years of Broadway:
Creative Influencers: 40 Directors

A great director can make or break a show. Directors of both plays and musicals have to have remarkable imagination and creativity. Over the past 40 Years, I've seen plenty of shows that were an utter mess of staging, a visual cacophony of unfocused movement, and a lack of coherent themes. During those same years, I've been witness to jaw-dropping stagings using creative means - from the lavish to the austere - and the perfect orchestration of all technical elements. Perhaps more importantly, these artists are able to draw masterful performances from their companies of actors. It's a tough job.

Below is a list of those artists that had the biggest impact on my four decades of theater-going experience, and is not really complete. There are many others I could add, but I feel confident that these are a solid representation.

The Masters

The names on this part of the list were major directors well before the early to mid 1980s, but who still contributed new works and revivals more recently. Their stagings of some of Broadway's greatest shows are rightly the stuff of legend. 

Michael Bennett        Trevor Nunn        Hal Prince

Gene Saks        Tommy Tune        George C. Wolfe        Jerry Zaks

The Contemporary Directors
These directors really came into their own during this period, starting out in their careers and creating legendary productions in a wide range of styles, from traditional to minimalism to extravaganza and everything in between. Whatever the piece called for they were there shepherding it to the big time.

David Cromer        John Doyle

Marianne Elliott        Scott Ellis        Sam Gold

Michael Greif        Nicholas Hytner        James Lapine

Kenny Leon        Phyllida Lloyd        Joe Mantello

Kathleen Marshall        Michael Mayer        Des McAnuff

Sam Mendes        Jerry Mitchell        Casey Nicholaw

Jack O'Brien        Diane Paulus        Bartlett Sher

Leigh Silverman        Susan Stroman        Julie Taymor

John Tiffany        Alex Timbers        Ivo Van Hove

New Voices

Finally, these are the current generation of directors who have already made a name for themselves. Their modern perspectives represent a new wave of style, making the most of modern technology and other creative means of bringing the human experience to the stage. The future of intriguing, powerful theater is in good hands. 

Michael Arden        Rachel Chavkin

Lear deBessonet        Daniel Fish        Thomas Kail

Jamie Lloyd        Jessica Stone

Contest Question #16:
Of "The New Voices," how many have directed a Tony-winning Best Musical or Best Revival of a Musical?

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