Joe Layton (published 1989)

Biography

Layton discusses the difficulty of finding good experienced dancers in London because there are too many shows and not enough dancers, which affects the quality. Conversely in New York, there are not enough shows and too many dancers. Layton discusses his lack of fear of failure and how he prefers Broadway choreography to television and film work.

Biographical note:

Born Joseph Lichtman in Brooklyn, New York in 1931, Layton began his career as a dancer in Wonderful Town (1953), and he appeared uncredited in the ensemble of the original live TV production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (1957) starring Julie Andrews. However, from the start, his primary interest was in musical staging. In addition to his many legitimate theatre credits, he conceived and directed Broadway concerts for Bette Midler (1975), Diana Ross (1976), and Harry Connick, Jr. (1990). In 1965, Layton won an Emmy Award for his work on My Name Is Barbra, the television special that introduced the public to the more sophisticated side of Barbra Streisand. It was the first of four collaborations with the star; the others were Color Me Barbra (1966), The Belle of 14th Street (1967) and Barbra Streisand ... And Other Musical Instruments (1973). Layton also directed and/or produced specials for Paul Lynde, Hal Linden, Richard Pryor, and Olivia Newton-John. Layton broke into films as the dance director for Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967. He executive produced the film version of Annie (1982) and reunited with Midler to choreograph For the Boys (1991). Layton directed the 1972 West End and 1973 Los Angeles productions of Scarlett, the musical stage adaptation of Gone with the Wind, and the 1985 world premiere of the Jule Styne musical Pieces of Eight in Edmonton. Joe Layton also choreographed a ballet for the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet titled Grand Tour which received critical acclaim as well as a warm reception from the audiences around the UK. He passed away in 1994.

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“Joe Layton (published 1989),” Dance Dialogues: Interviews by Barbara Newman, 1979-Present, accessed November 17, 2017, http://dancedialogues.prattsils.org/items/show/93.