Casey Nicholaw. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy
Third up in Dance Network’s Spotlight On The TONY® Nominees for Best Choreography series is one of the most successful director/choreographers in Broadway history, the ten-time TONY® nominated captain of Mean Girls The Musical, Casey Nicholaw.
Mean Girls leads the way in the musical categories— along with SpongeBob SquarePants— with eleven TONY® nominations, including two for Nicholaw himself; for both Best Direction Of A Musical and Best Choreography. Nicholaw has also garnered an Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Chita Rivera Award nominations for his work on the show.
Nicholaw, like many of his contemporaries, began his journey in the theatre as a dancer and performer himself. After making his Broadway debut in the original cast of the 1992 production of Crazy For You, Nicholaw went on to perform in seven more Broadway shows, originating roles in The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, Victor/Victoria, Steel Pier, Saturday Night Fever, Seussical The Musical, and the hugely successful Thoroughly Modern Millie. He was also a replacement cast member in 1997’s The Scarlet Pimpernel.
After the blockbuster triumph that was Thoroughly Modern Millie, Nicholaw began his transition onto the creative side of the table.
Nicholaw’s first solo opportunity to stage the dances in a new musical came in the 2005
Broadway production of Monty Python’s Spamalot. The first of his many successful forays into comedy, Spamalot raked in an astounding fourteen TONY® award nominations, including Nicholaw’s first nomination for Best Choreography.
Casey Nicholaw (left), Tina Fey (center, left), Jeff Richmond (center, right) and Nell Benjamin (right) at the opening of Mean Girls on Broadway. Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Broadwayworld
The second and third nominations for Nicholaw came the following year with 2006’s The Drowsy Chaperone, whereupon he received recognition in the Best Direction Of A Musical and Best Choreography categories.
It wasn’t until 2011’s monstrously successful (and still running to this day) The Book Of Mormon did Nicholaw win his first TONY® award. Nicholaw both directed and choreographed the show, and won his TONY® in the Best Direction Of A Musical category. Nicholaw was also nominated in the Best Choreography category that year, but Kathleen Marshall’s revival of Anything Goes took the top dance trophy. The Book Of Mormon most certainly scored big that year, however, taking home nine of the fourteen TONYs® for which it was nominated.
Nicholaw has also directed and choreographed a number of Broadway shows in which the TONY® committee didn't recognize his work with nominations. Notably, he did not receive nominations for his first venture into a non-musical piece with 2008’s To Be Or Not To Be, the 2010 musical All About Me with which he collaborated with Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna, both the 2010 and 2012 Broadway productions of Elf, and 2016’s Tuck Everlasting.
After his first win with The Book Of Mormon, Nicholaw has since gone on to receive five other TONY® nominations: three for Best Choreography for Aladdin, Something Rotten, and this year’s Mean Girls, and two fro Best Direction Of A Musical for Something Rotten and Mean Girls.
Back in 2012, it was announced Nicholaw was a part of the development team building a stage musical version of the 1978 film, . Nicholaw’s name has was also floated in early 2017 about helming a Broadway transfer of the West End revival of , and, just last week, news broke of a new, Nicholaw lead, Marc Shaiman/Scott Whitman stage version of the classic film . That production is aiming for a Broadway run in the 2020 season.
Casey Nicholaw. Photo Credit: Broadway.com
Nicholaw is currently slated to be back on the Broadway boards again this Fall when The Prom opens at the Cort Theatre. The Prom, which had a pre-Broadway tryout in 2016 at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, begins its New York preview performances in October.
To date Nicholaw has ten TONY® nominations and one win to his name. He is also one of the few directors in history to have four Broadway shows that he directed and choreographed running at once. During the 2016 season The Book Of Mormon, Aladdin, Something Rotten, and Tuck Everlasting were all running simultaneously on Broadway.
Mean Girls plays the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway. For more information, visit meangirlsonbroadway.com
The 2018 TONY® awards will be presented June 10th LIVE from Radio City Music Hall. Dance Network’s coverage of the TONY’s® and choreographer profiles continues each week leading up to the telecast, so keep checking back for the latest.
Michael Mahany is a writer, host, and serves as the
New York City Correspondent for Dance Network. Follow him on Twitter