|Born||Grover Robert Aitken
July 22, 1935
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, choreographer, dancer, director, pedagogue|
|Spouse(s)||Anita Morris (1973-1994; her death); 1 son (actor James Badge Dale)|
|Partner(s)||Anthony Perkins (1967-1973)|
Dale was born Grover Robert Aitken in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Ronal Rittenhouse Aitken, a restaurateur, and Emma Bertha Ammon. He studied dance with Lillian Jasper in McKeesport from 1945 to 1952 before he appeared in his first professional job in with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera in 1953.
Dale's Broadway stage debut was in the 1956 musical, Li'l Abner as a dancer. He appeared in the original cast of West Side Story as Snowboy, a member of the Jets gang. Other stage credits include the role of Andrew in Greenwillow, in which he also understudied Anthony Perkins as Gideon Briggs; in Noël Coward's Sail Away, where he had the juvenile lead role of architect Barnaby Slade; and in Half a Sixpence, where he played Pearce, one of a quartet of 19th century London shop apprentices around whom the show is structured.
Dale was nominated for the Tony Award twice, for his choreography of Billy, a musical version of Billy Budd and his direction of The Magic Show. He also received an Emmy Award nomination for his choreography of Barry Manilow's 1985 television musical Copacabana. As co-director of Jerome Robbins' Broadway, he shared Best Director Tony Award with the famed director-choreographer Jerome Robbins. In 1992 he became publisher/editor of Dance & Fitness magazine. In 1999 Dale founded the website, Answers4Dancers.com, whose stated goal is "to empower dancers and choreographers to think, to grow, and to create satisfying careers for themselves..."
Dale was involved in a six-year relationship with actor Anthony Perkins that ended in 1973 when he married actress/singer Anita Morris; they remained married until Morris's death in 1994. Their son, actor James Badge Dale (born 1978), played Simon in Lord of the Flies (1990), Chase Edmunds in the TV series 24, and is the lead actor in Rubicon.
- 1956 Li'l Abner (dancer)
- 1957 West Side Story (actor)
- 1960 Greenwillow (actor)
- 1961 Sail Away (actor)
- 1965 Half a Sixpence (actor)
- 1973 Molly (musical) (choreographer)
- 1973 Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don't You Ever Forget It) (choreographer)
- 1973 Seesaw (musical) (choreographer)
- 1974 The Magic Show (director, choreographer)
- 1979 King of Schnorrers (director, choreographer)
- 1988 Mail (musical) (choreographer)
- 1989 Jerome Robbins' Broadway (director)
- 1989 Billy (musical staging)
- 1967 Les demoiselles de Rochefort" by Jacques Demy (actor and dancer).
Awards and nominations
- 1969 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography – Billy
- 1970 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Billy
- 1975 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – The Magic Show
- 1986 Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography – Copacabana
- 1988 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography – Mail