b. 20 February 1926, Bromley, Kent, England. An internationally acclaimed director and choreographer with over 40 London and Broadway shows to her credit. Gillian Lynne was originally a dancer and made her stage debut with the Sadlers Wells Ballet in 1944, remaining with the company for seven years, during which time she played several leading roles. During the 50s she danced many times at the London Palladium, and played Claudine in Can-Can at the Coliseum. In 1960 she appeared in John Cranko’s New Cranks at the Lyric, Hammersmith, and choreographed her first ballet, Owl And The Pussycat, for the Western Theatre Ballet. Since that time Lynne has worked as a choreographer and/or director on musical productions such as The Roar Of The Greasepaint - The Smell Of The Crowd, The Match Girls, Pickwick, How Now Dow Jones, Tonight At Eight, Songbook: A Tribute To Mooney Shapiro, Tomfoolery, Once Upon A Time, My Fair Lady, Cabaret, Cats, and The Phantom Of The Opera.
Lynne’s work on Cats earned her an Laurence Olivier Award - one of four she owns - and the Austrian Government’s Order Of Merit for a production of the show which was presented in Vienna and subsequently played in East Berlin and Moscow. Her Paris production won the prestigious Moliére Award. She has also worked extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and on more than 10 films including Half A Sixpence, Man Of La Mancha, and Yentl. Her television credits include The Muppet Show series, her own creation, The Fool On The Hill, which was based on the Beatles’ music, and her BAFTA award-winning ballet A Simple Man.
In the early 90s, as well as supervising and working on many other productions world-wide, Lynne re-staged and choreographed the 1993 UK revival of Leslie Bricusse and Cyril Ornadel’s musical, Pickwick, starring Harry Secombe and Roy Castle, and devised her first full-length ballet, The Brontës, which had its world premiere in Leeds early in 1995. Two years later, a series of workshop productions of ‘a contemporary musical fable’, Anyone Who Had A Heart, celebrating the works of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, based on an idea by Lynne and Kenny Solms and directed and choreographed by Lynne, were presented at New York’s Roundabout Theatre. Also in 1997, Lynne was created a CBE for Services To Dance. She was married to actor/producer Peter Land for 17 years before they separated in 1997.