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Understand 19 Of Broadway’s Top Directors Right Now!

Sometimes, when you see an announcement for a Broadway show, you’ll see the phrase:

“Directed by [insert director here]”

Sometimes, they will show a selection of shows by this person, but not always. This list is for directors who are working hard today, still making art, so you can see what they have done.

If I have missed your favourite director. I’m sorry.

#1 Casey Nicholaw

Both a director and choreographer, Nicholaw started as an actor, performing in the ensemble of shows such as Crazy For You (1992) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002). He then made his choreography debut in Monty Python's Spamalot in 2005 and then making his directorial debut with The Drowsy Chaperone the following year. He one the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 2011 for The Book of Mormon.

Shows include:

Monty Python's Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone, Elf the Musical, The Book of Mormon, Aladdin, Something Rotten, Tuck Everlasting, Mean Girls, The Prom.

#2 Susan Stroman

Stroman has been a part of the Broadway for a long time, making her Broadway debut as a dancer in 1979 for the musical Whoopee! in 1992, she choreographed the musical Crazy For You, for which she one the Tony Award for Best Choreography. She made her debut as a director with the 2000 revival of The Music Man. She became the 2nd woman to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 2001 for The Producers.

Shows include:

Crazy For You, Show Boat (1995 revival), Big the Musical, Steel Pier, Oklahoma! (2002 revival), Contact, The Music Man (2000 revival), The Producers, Young Frankenstein, The Scottsboro Boys, Bullets Over Broadway, Prince of Broadway

#3 Michael Arden

Fan favourite director is perhaps more well known for performing as Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He is also known for directing innovative revivals. He's only done two shows on Broadway but that is enough for everyone to get hyped for what's next!

Shows include:

Spring Awakening (2015 revival), Once on this Island (2017 revival)

#4 Kathleen Marshall

Kathleen Marshall is both a director and choreographer for Roundabout Theatre Company. She started as a solo choreographer and earned a Tony Nomination for Best Choreography in 2000 for the revival of Kiss Me, Kate. She now has 4 nominations in Best Direction of a Musical and 3 wins in Best Choreography. She is also the sister to film and theatre director Rob Marshall, who recently directed the film Mary Poppins Returns.

Shows include:

Swinging on a Star, 1776, Kiss Me, Kate, Follies, Wonderful Town, Little Shop of Horrors (2003 revival), The Pajama Game (2006 revival), Grease (2008 revival), Anything Goes (2011 revival), Nice Work If You Can Get It, In Transit, Damn Yankees (in the works revival)

#5 Bartlett Sher

Sher is the top director at Lincoln Center Theatre. He made his debut with the musical The Light in the Piazza, for which he was nominated a Tony Award. Since then, he has released multiple critically acclaimed plays and musicals and shows no sign of slowing down on a streak of fantastic productions for which he has reached 9 Tony nominations and 1 win for his revival of South Pacific.

Shows include:

The Light in the Piazza, Awake and Sing! (2006 revival), South Pacific (2008 revival), Joe Turner's Come and Gone ( 2009 revival), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Golden Boy (2012 revival), The Bridges of Madison County, The King and I (2015 revival), Fiddler on the Roof (2016 revival), Oslo, My Fair Lady (2018 revival), To Kill a Mockingbird

#6 Marianne Elliott

A member of London's National Theatre, Elliott is a revolutionary director that has produced multiple critically acclaimed productions. She is the only woman to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play more than once. She is so influential, in a booklet given to me in my drama class in school, she is labelled as a practitioner alongside people like Stanislavski, Artaud and Brecht.

Shows include:

War Horse, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Angels in America (revival), Company (2018 London revival)

#7 Scott Ellis

Ellis has been a force in the Broadway scene for YEARS! And for good reason. He can revive a classic with an all new flare or create a splash with something completely new! With over 15 shows directed on Broadway, we can only expect more great things! 

Shows include:

She Loves Me (1993 and 2016 revivals), Steel Pier, 1776 (1997 revival), Twelve Angry Men (2004 revival), The Little Dog Laughed, Curtains, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012), You Can't Take It With You (2014 revival), The Elephant Man (2014 revival), On the Twentieth Century (2015 revival), Kiss Me, Kate (2019 revival)

#9 Joe Mantello

This dude has done a lot of shows. Like, a lot a lot! Ranging from new productions to reviving classics. He has garnered 7 Tony nominations, 2 of which he won! He also directed a show you may have heard of, it has been running on Broadway for a while you may have heard of it, it's called Wicked. Heard of it? No? Okay.

Shows include:

Love! Valour! Compassion!, Take Me Out, Assassins (2004 revival), Wicked, Glengarry Glen Ross (2005 revival), 9 to 5 the Musical, The Humans, Three Tall Women, The Boys in the Band (2018 revival), Hillary and Clinton

#10 Diane Paules

Paulus is the Artistic Director at the American Repertory Theatre and is known on Broadway for her revivals that completely reinvented the shows, such as her revival of Pippin for which she won a Tony Award. She recently made a smash hit with the musical Waitress.

Shows include:

Hair (2009 revival), Porgy and Bess (2012 revival), Pippin (2013 revival), Finding Neverland, Waitress, Jagged Little Pill

#11 Michael Mayer

Mayer can create a show that shines whether it be a fun comedy or a tragic drama. He won a Tony Award for the original production of Spring Awakening and received his first nomination for a revival of A View From the Bridge.

Shows include:

A View From the Bridge (1997 revival), Side Man, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1999 revival), Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2014 revival), Head Over Heels, Burn This (2019 revival)

#12 Leigh Silverman

Though she mainly directs shows away from the Broadway street, such as a critically acclaimed show called Soft Power in Los Angeles, the shows she has brought to Broadway have been fantastic and critically acclaimed, which includes her production of Violet with Roundabout Theatre Company.

Shows include:

Well, Chinglish, Violet (2014 revival), The Lifespan of a Fact

#14 Michael Greif

This guy directed shows that are especially popular among young people and has directed 2 shows written by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt. In the source for this picture, you'll find a Playbill article about how this guy made musicals "that define generations".

Shows include:

Rent, Grey Gardens, Next to Normal, If/Then, Dear Evan Hansen, War Paint

#15 George C. Wolfe

Working as both a director, librettist and producer, Woolfe has skills in every type of theatre. Both in new plays and musicals plus revivals of plays and musicals. Since debuting on Broadway with Jelly's Last Jam, he now has 10 tony nominations for directing, including 2 wins.

Shows include:

Jelly's Last Jam, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, The Tempest (1995 revival), Bring in da' Noise, Bring in da' Funk, The Wild Party, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, Caroline, or Change, The Normal Heart, Lucky Guy, Shuffle Along, The Iceman Cometh (2018 revival) 

#16 Jack O’Brien

This guy had been a part of the Broadway scene since making his directorial debut in Cock-A-Doodle Dandy back in 1969. Since then, he is just stayed non-stop with 8 Tony nominations and 3 wins. He is currently directing the revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons, starring Annette Bening and Tracy Letts.

Shows include:

Cock-A-Doodle Dandy, Porgy and Bess (1976 revival), The Most Happy Fella (1979 revival), Two Shakespearean Actors, Damn Yankees (1994 revival), The Little Foxes (1997 revival), The Full Monty, The Invention of Love, Hairspray, Henry IV (2004 revival), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Coast of Utopia, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Catch Me If You Can, Macbeth (2013 revival), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Carousel (2018 revival), All My Sons (2019 revival)

#17 Jerry Zaks

Since the mid 1980s, Zaks has lent his charm to both serious dramas and goofy comedies. He has won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play 3 times and won the Award for Best Direction of a Musical once. He is currently directing the new Broadway revival of Meredith Wilson's The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman

Shows include:

The House of Blue Leaves, Anything Goes (1987 revival), Lend Me a Tenor (1989 revival), Six Degrees of Separation, Guys and Dolls (1992 revival), Smoky Joe's Cafe, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1996 revival), The Civil War, Swing!, Little Shop of Horrors (2003 revival), La Cage Aux Folles (2004 revival), Sister Act, Hello Dolly! (2017 revival), The Music Man (in the works 2020 revival)

#18 Alex Timbers

He's only recently made a splash on the Broadway scene but we will expect more splashes from Timbers. He made his Broadway debut writing the book and directing the show Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. He has now become the Artistic Director at Les Freres Corbusier.

Shows include:

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher, Beetlejuice, Moulin Rouge!

#19 Jerry Mitchell

He started working as a choreographer and did choreography for shows directed by Jack O'Brien and Jerry Zaks. He now works a both a director and a choreographer. he recently directed the new Broadway show, Pretty Woman. He made his directorial debut with Legally Blonde the Musical.

Shows include:

You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, The Full Monty, Hairspray, Gypsy (2003 revival), La cage Aux Folles (2004 revival), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Legally Blonde, Catch Me If You Can, Kinky Boots, Pretty Woman

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Written by Luc Jones

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