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Dame Gillian Barbara Lynne, DBE (née Pyrke; born 20 February 1926) is a British ballerina, dancer, choreographer, actress, and theatre-television director, noted for her popular theatre choreography associated with two of the longest-running shows in Broadway history, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. At age 87, she was made a DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2014 New Year Honours List.

Contents

1 Early life and education 2 Dancing career

2.1 Sadler's Wells Ballet 2.2 West End, film and television

3 Choreography and direction 4 Major stage credits 5 Film credits 6 Personal life 7 Awards, honours and nominations 8 References 9 External links

Early life and education[edit] Gillian Barbara Pyrke was born in Bromley, Kent, and was a precocious dance talent from an early age, teaming with her childhood friend Beryl Grey
Beryl Grey
while still at school, and dancing to blot out the tragedy of the violent death (in a car crash along with Edward Turner's first wife) of her mother on 8 July 1939 in Coventry, when Lynne was just 13 years old.[1][2] Lynne's gift for dancing was discovered by a doctor. She had been underperforming at school, so her mother took her to the doctor and explained about her fidgeting and lack of focus. After hearing everything her mother said, the doctor told Lynne that he needed to talk to her mother privately for a moment. He turned on the radio and walked out. He then encouraged her mother to look at Lynne, who was dancing to the radio. The doctor noted that she was a dancer, and encouraged Lynne's mother to take her to dance school.[3] Dancing career[edit] Sadler's Wells Ballet[edit] While dancing for Molly Lake's Company at the People's Palace, Lynne was spotted by Ninette de Valois
Ninette de Valois
and asked to join Sadler's Wells Ballet during World War II. With the opening of the Royal Opera House after the War she received her first major solo in Sleeping Beauty on the night of her 20th birthday. She went on to become an admired dramatic ballerina in the soon to be renamed Royal Ballet, renowned for her Black Queen in de Valois's Checkmate, Queen of the Wilis in Giselle
Giselle
and in roles created for her by Frederick Ashton
Frederick Ashton
and Robert Helpmann[citation needed].[4] West End, film and television[edit] Leaving Sadler's Wells Ballet
Sadler's Wells Ballet
in 1951 she was an instant success at the London Palladium
London Palladium
as the star dancer and subsequently in the West End in such roles as Claudine in Can Can
Can Can
at the Coliseum Theatre. She appeared in the film The Master of Ballantrae as Mariane, in which she was cast opposite Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn
and directed by William Keighley.[5] She also appeared as both dancer and actress on early British Television.[6] Choreography and direction[edit] In her long career as a choreographer and director, Lynne has worked on many productions including those from the Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company and English National Opera
English National Opera
as well as many West End and Broadway shows.[2] In 1970 she choreographed and direct the Nottingham Playhouse production of the musical, Love on the Dole. Originally a novel by Walter Greenwood, it was made into a musical starring Eric Flynn and Angela Richards. In 1975 she arrived in Australia to create The Australian Ballet's first work expressly commissioned for television, The Fool on the Hill.[7] She may be best known for her work on the Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals Cats (1981), The Phantom of the Opera (1986) and Aspects of Love
Aspects of Love
(1990). She is also a prolific television choreographer and director notably for The Muppet Show
The Muppet Show
series and winning the 1987 BAFTA
BAFTA
Huw Wheldon Award for her direction and choreography of A Simple Man, which starred Moira Shearer. She choreographed the Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Secret Garden, which ran at Stratford in 2000 and then transferred to the West End, running at the Aldwych Theatre from February 2001 to June 2001.[8] In 2002, along with Keith Rosenberg, Lynne choreographed the Sherman Brothers' stage musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (based on the 1968 film). It played in London, and later on Broadway in 2005, both times successfully. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang brought her back to the London Palladium after 50 years and she rehearsed cast changes for the show's National UK Tour. Lynne choreographed the 90 Minute Las Vegas Production of The Phantom of the Opera which opened in the Summer of 2006, directed I Want to Teach the World to Sing! Gala at Her Majesty's Theatre and musically staged The Imaginary Invalid
The Imaginary Invalid
for the Shakespeare Theatre Company
Shakespeare Theatre Company
in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
in 2008. In September 2009, she was in New York City
New York City
celebrating a Phantom of the Opera milestone at the Majestic Theatre. During this visit, she worked in a rehearsal with the company of the 2009–2010 international tour of Cats, produced by Troika Entertainment.[citation needed] In October 2011, Lynne choreographed the 25th Anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall. She was both choreographer and director for the musical Dear World, which played an engagement at The Charing Cross Theatre, London, in February and March 2013, and starred Betty Buckley.[9] Her production company[10] continues to produce television, film and stage productions. Major stage credits[edit]

Ballet Guild – 1942–1944 – Soloist Sadler's Wells Ballet
Sadler's Wells Ballet
– 1944–1951 – Leading Soloist London Palladium
London Palladium
– 1951–1954 – Star Dancer Can Can
Can Can
– 1954 – Claudine New Cranks – 1960 – Cast Rose Marie
Rose Marie
– 1960 – Wanda England Our England – 1960/61 – Stager Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots
– 1962 – Queen of Catland Collages
Collages
– 1963 – Conceived/Director/Choreographer/Performer Round Leicester Square – 1963 – Director The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd
The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd
– 1965 – Choreographer Pickwick – 1965 – Musical Stager/Choreographer The Matchgirls – 1966 – Director/Choreographer The Flying Dutchman
The Flying Dutchman
– 1966 – Choreographer Bluebeard
Bluebeard
– 1966 – Director/Choreographer How Now Dow Jones
How Now Dow Jones
– 1967 – Choreographer The Midsummer Marriage – 1968 – Choreographer The Trojans
The Trojans
– 1969 – Choreographer Phil The Fluter – 1969 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Love on the Dole – 1970 – Director/Choreographer Tonight at 8.30 – 1970/71 – Director Ambassador – 1971 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Lillywhite Lies – 1971 – Director Liberty Ranch – 1972 – Director/Choreographer Once Upon A Time – 1972 – Director/Choreographer The Card
The Card
– 1973 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Hans Christian Andersen – 1975 – Musical Stager/Choreographer The Fool on the Hill (ballet) – 1975 – Choreographer The Comedy of Errors
The Comedy of Errors
– 1976 – Musical Stager

A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream
– 1977 – Co-Director As You Like It
As You Like It
– 1977 – Musical Stager The Way of the World
The Way of the World
– 1978 – Choreographer My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady
– 1978 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Thuis Best – 1978 – Director/Choreographer Parsifal
Parsifal
– 1979 – Choreographer Once in a Lifetime – 1979 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Songbook – 1979 – Musical Stager Jeeves Takes Charge
Jeeves Takes Charge
– 1980 – Director Tom Foolery
Tom Foolery
– 1980 – Director/Choreographer To Those Born Later – 1981 – Director Cats – 1981 – Associate Director/Choreographer La Ronde – 1982 – Additional Director Alone Plus One – 1982 – Director/Performer The Rehearsal – 1983 – Director The Phantom of the Opera – 1986 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Cabaret – 1986 – Director/Choreographer Faust
Faust
– 1990 – Choreographer Aspects of Love
Aspects of Love
– 1990 – Choreographer Dance for Life Gala – 1991 – Director/Producer Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
– 1991 – Director/Choreographer Pickwick – 1993 – Musical Stager/Choreographer That's What Friends Are For! – 1996 – Director Avow – 1996 – Director What the World Needs Now – 1998 – Director/Choreographer Gigi – 1999 – Director/Choreographer Dick Wittington – 1999 – Director/Choreographer (Sadler's Wells)[11] The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden
– 2000 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – 2002 & 2005 – Musical Stager/Choreographer

Film credits[edit]

The Master of Ballantrae (1953) – Actress/Choreographer The Last Man to Hang?
The Last Man to Hang?
– 1956 – Actress Make Mine a Million
Make Mine a Million
– 1959 – Actress Wonderful Life – 1963/64 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Every Day's a Holiday – 1965 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Three Hats for Lisa
Three Hats for Lisa
– 1964 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Half a Sixpence – 1967 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Mister Ten Per Cent – 1967 – Choreographer

200 Motels
200 Motels
– 1971 – Musical Stager Mr. Love – 1972 – Stager/Choreographer Man of La Mancha – 1972 – Choreographer Under Milk Wood – 1972 – Musical Stager/Choreographer The Old Curiosity Shop
The Old Curiosity Shop
– 1974 – Musical Stager Yentl – 1982 – Musical Stager Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland
– 1985 – Choreographer European Vacation
European Vacation
– 1985 – Musical Stager/Choreographer Cats – 1997 – Musical Stager/Choreographer

Personal life[edit] Lynne married her second husband, actor/singer Peter Land in 1980.

It was love at first sight: they met when he got a part in a production of My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady
that she co-directed in 1978. "He was standing there at the bar, and he was drop-dead gorgeous. We just looked at each other..." — The Guardian[2]

The first volume of her autobiography, A Dancer in Wartime[12] was published on 3 November 2011 in the UK by Chatto & Windus. Awards, honours and nominations[edit] She has won, and been nominated for, numerous awards for her work. She has received the Silver Order of Merit, Golden Rose of Montreux Award, BAFTA, Molière Award and The Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award by the Royal Academy of Dance
Royal Academy of Dance
(2001). She received a Special
Special
Award at the 2013 Olivier Awards.[13] She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
(CBE) in 1997 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
(DBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to dance and musical theatre.[14][15] Lynne was nominated for the Tony Award
Tony Award
twice for Choreography, for Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, and for the Drama Desk Award for Cats.[16] She received the Olivier Award in 1981, for Outstanding Achievement of the Year in Musicals, for Cats.[17] It was announced on the 14th March 2018 that The New London Theatre would be renamed The Gillian Lynne
Gillian Lynne
Theatre. The public announcement was made by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. This marks the first time a West End theatre has been named after a female.[18] References[edit]

^ Recounted by Dame Beryl Grey
Beryl Grey
in The Independent, 10 March 2002; accessed 22 March 2014. ^ a b c Moorhead, Joanna. "'Mummy's still looking after me'" The Guardian, 25 November 2011; accessed 17 March 2014. ^ Recounted by Sir Ken Robinson in his TED talk, Do schools kill creativity? (starting at 14:50 minutes) ^ Watts, Graham. "Interview. Gllian Lynne, the Sadler's Wells Ballet years" Archived 2 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine., ballet.co.uk, October 2009; accessed 17 March 2014. ^ "'The Master of Ballantrae' Listing" tcm.com, accessed 2 January 2014. ^ "Lynne filmography", The New York Times, accessed 2 January 2014. ^ "Australian Ballet Story" ausballetstory.com.au, accessed 2 January 2014 ^ The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden
Listing albemarle-london.com, accessed 1 January 2014 ^ Gans, Andrew. "'Dear World', Starring Tony Winner Betty Buckley, Will End London Run March 16" Archived 2 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, 13 March 2013. ^ Lean Two Productions, gillianlynne.com; accessed 17 March 2014. ^ Dick Whittington Listing, 1999 albemarle-london.com, accessed 1 January 2014 ^ A Dancer in Wartime, amazon.co.uk; accessed 17 March 2014. ^ Shenton, Mark. " Gillian Lynne
Gillian Lynne
and Michael Frayn to Receive Special Awards at Olivier Awards" Archived 2 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, 24 March 2013. ^ Gillian Lynne
Gillian Lynne
named DBE Archived 30 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine.; 19 January 2014; accessed 22 March 2014. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Angela Lansbury Becomes a Dame in Queen's New Year's Honors; Other Honorees Include Gillian Lynne, Michael Crawford and More" Archived 2 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, 31 December 2013; accessed 22 March 2014. ^ IBDb profile, accessed 1 January 2014. ^ "Oivier Winners 1981" Archived 12 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine., olivierawards.com; accessed 1 January 2014. ^ Vincent, Alice (March 14, 2018). " Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber
announces Gillian Lynne
Gillian Lynne
theatre". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved March 14, 2018. 

External links[edit]

London Gazette notice of damehood; london-gazette.co.uk; accessed 22 March 2014. Official website Gillian Lynne
Gillian Lynne
profile, imdb.com; accessed 17 March 2014. Gillian Lynne
Gillian Lynne
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Gillian Lynne
Gillian Lynne
and Dance on YouTube

v t e

Society of London Theatre Special
Special
Award

Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
(1979) Ralph Richardson
Ralph Richardson
(1980) Charles Wintour (1982) Joan Littlewood
Joan Littlewood
(1983) John Gielgud
John Gielgud
(1985) Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1988) Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
(1991) Ninette de Valois
Ninette de Valois
(1992) Kenneth MacMillan (1993) Sam Wanamaker
Sam Wanamaker
(1994) Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter
(1996) Margaret Harris (1997) Ed Mirvish
Ed Mirvish
/ David Mirvish (1998) Peter Hall (1999) Rupert Rhymes (2002) Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes
(2003) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(2004) Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett
(2005) Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(2006) John Tomlinson (2007) Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber
(2008) Alan Ayckbourn
Alan Ayckbourn
(2009) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(2010) Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
(2011) Monica Mason
Monica Mason
/ Tim Rice
Tim Rice
(2012) Michael Frayn / Gillian Lynne
Gillian Lynne
(2013) Nicholas Hytner & Nick Starr / Michael White (2014) Sylvie Guillem
Sylvie Guillem
/ Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
(2015) Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh
(2017)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 73158532 ISNI: 0000 0000 3436 6132 SUDOC: 158054660 BNF: cb145509212 (data) MusicBrainz: fe37d7c5-325c-4a0f-bb35-


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