Jerry Mitchell Takes Another Step to Tony with Never Gonna Dance Nomination

Tony Awards   Jerry Mitchell Takes Another Step to Tony with Never Gonna Dance Nomination Mitchell, a previous Tony Award nominee for his work on The Full Monty and last season's big winner Hairspray, returns to Radio City Music Hall for his third chance at the Tony Award for Best Choreography with Never Gonna Dance.

Jerry Mitchell
Jerry Mitchell Photo by Morgan Allen

The musical featuring the songs of Jerome Kern was a dancer's dream to choreograph according to the Broadway gypsy. "I chose to do Never Gonna Dance because, as a choreographer, it offered me an opportunity to take a step in my own choreographic career," posed Mitchell. "It presented something that I never had the chance to do before: choreograph for people who are actually supposed to dance."

Mitchell explained, "Tracy [in Hairspray] is supposed to dance, but she's not a trained dancer. Nancy [Lemenager]'s character [in Never Gonna Dance] is a trained dancer teaching dance class, Noah [Racey]'s a vaudeville hoofer who is a dancer. So that already offered me the ability to not have to apologize for doing a pirouette."

A higher level of dance steps wasn't the only reason Mitchell was attracted to the show. "I'm a huge fan of all the Fred and Ginger [Rogers], Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse films. I wanted the opportunity to do that style of choreography. Also, as a dancer myself, I was a great partner dancer. So, that kind of dancing — where couples actually fall in love while they're dancing — really appeals to me and that doesn't come along very often."

Mitchell's literal dance card is currently full, with upcoming Broadway productions of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (reteaming him with his collaborator on both of his prior Tony nominations, director Jack O'Brien), La Cage aux Folles, Legally Blonde, and West Side Story.