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Cats, Phantom Choreographer Gillian Lynne Receives Second Highest British Honor

Gillian Lynne; photo courtesy Broadway World

Gillian Lynne; photo courtesy Broadway World

Cats choreographer Gillian Lynne, CBE, 87, has had the title of Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) conferred upon her in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List for her services to dance and musical theater, reports Broadway World.

A seminal influence on British dance and musical theater, Lynne started her career in 1942 at age 16 before joining the Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company, where she became a soloist performing at the newly opened Covent Garden Opera House. Following her successful performing career as a star dancer at the London Palladium, on early British TV, and as Britain’s foremost exponent of jazz dance, Lynne went on to be a leading director/choreographer of her generation.

Best known for her groundbreaking work on Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, Lynne has directed more than 50 productions on the West End and Broadway, most recently the West End premiere of Jerry Herman’s Dear World in 2013, 11 feature films, and more than 50 television productions.

2014 will see Lynne stage a new production of Sir Robert Helpman’s ballet Miracle in the Gorbals for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, which will be part of a BBC documentary on dance during World War II. Lynne will also have a wellness and fitness regime DVD released entitled Longevity through Exercise, and she will be writing the sequel to her recent memoir A Dancer In Wartime, which is soon to be made into a feature film.

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