The U.K.-born director-choreographer earned his first Tony Award nominations this year for Best Director and Best Choreographer of the Broadway musical revue After Midnight, which conjures Duke Ellington's years at the Cotton Club.
Carlyle began his Broadway career serving as associate choreographer for Tony Award winner Susan Stroman on the runaway Broadway hit The Producers in 2001, and since that time he has delivered show-stopping numbers of his own as choreographer of the acclaimed 2011 revival of Follies and as director-choreographer of the 2009 revival of Finian's Rainbow and the cinematic 2012 musical Chaplin.
Carlyle, who imbues his work with a showman-like quality that evokes Broadway's Golden Age and the MGM movie musicals of yesteryear, has also served as the choreographer of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, A Christmas Story, The Musical and the forthcoming Broadway revival of On the Twentieth Century.
He recently reunited with pal Hugh Jackman, having directed and choreographed Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway in 2011, to create a series of original musical numbers for the 68th Annual Tony Awards, which take place June 8 at Radio City Music Hall. Jackman will host.
In the latest installment of Booking It, Carlyle shares his personal insights on the audition process, what he looks for when casting shows, how to give the best audition you can and offers advice to up-and-coming director-choreographers.
What are the first things you notice about a performer at an audition?
Carlyle: The way they carry themselves. I love performers who know themselves and are able to be themselves in the nightmare situation of an audition.
Are there certain qualities that you look for in a dancer?
Carlyle: Technique, musicality and rhythm. I was trained as a classical ballet dancer at a school in England. I love dancers with a good sense of line. I love dancers with a sense of adventure. Fearlessness is a quality I admire. Tiler Peck from New York City Ballet is an example of a fearless dancer whom I love working with. Tiler dances as if it were the last time, every time. Jared Grimes is another fearless one. Just when you think he is done, he does more. It's thrilling to watch and even more thrilling to create with. Karine Plantadit is another inspiration.
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