Des McAnuff has made a name for himself directing bio-musicals. His Jersey Boys was the first of the form to be a box-office and critical success, nominated for eight Tony Awards and winning Best Musical in 2006.
He first made his Broadway musical directorial debut in 1985 with Big River—which earned him his first directing Tony nomination (and win). Not long after, he earned another Tony Award for the second Broadway musical he directed, The Who’s Tommy; that’s when he proved his ability to take an existing catalog of music and turn it into a smash original musical.
Last season, he brought Donna Summer’s story to Broadway, and this year he brings Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations.
“This has truly been a group effort,” McAnuff says in the video above. And the Tony Nominating Committee recognized that, granting the show 12 Tony nominations.
Here, McAnuff reveals how he got his start in theatre, the classic Shakespeare play that rates as the most impactful show he’s seen, and the would-be title of his bio-musical.