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Rob Ashford (born November 19, 1959) is an American choreographer and director. He is an eight-time Tony Award nominee (winning one), five-time Olivier Award nominee, Emmy Award winner, Drama Desk winner, and Outer Critics Circle Award winner.
Born in Orlando, Florida and raised in Beckley, West Virginia, Ashford attended Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, in the pre-law program. He became interested in theatre with his work in the theatre department, and went on to study dance at Pittsburgh’s Point Park University. He performed in the Pittsburgh theatre scene while in college, appearing with such companies as Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. After graduation, Ashford moved to New York City where he shared an apartment with friend and fellow choreographer Kathleen Marshall.
As a dancer, Ashford made his Broadway debut in the 1987 Lincoln Center revival of Anything Goes starring Patti LuPone. Productions of The Most Happy Fella (1992), Crazy for You, My Favorite Year (1992), Victor/Victoria and Parade (1998) quickly followed.
Ashford began working as a choreographer when Rob Marshall sent Ashford to re-stage Kiss of the Spider Woman in Buenos Aires. He next served as Associate Choreographer to Kathleen Marshall on the 1999 revival of Kiss Me, Kate.
Ashford’s Broadway choreography credits include: Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002), for which he won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Choreography, The Wedding Singer (2006), Curtains (2007), Cry-Baby (2008), Promises, Promises starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth (2010), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Laroquette (subsequently starring Darren Criss, Nick Jonas, and Beau Bridges) (2011), and Evita starring Ricky Martin (2012). Directing credits include Promises, Promises and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2011 Tony Nomination for Best Direction of a Musical). For City Center’s Encores!, Ashford has choreographed: Tenderloin (2000), Bloomer Girl (2001), A Connecticut Yankee (2001), and Pardon My English (2004). Other New York Credits include The Boys from Syracuse at The Roundabout Theatre.
In London, Ashford's Directing credits include: Parade (Olivier Nominations for Direction and Choreography), A Streetcar Named Desire starring Rachel Weisz (Olivier nomination, Best Revival), Anna Christie starring Jude Law and Ruth Wilson (Olivier Award, Best Revival). His choreography credits include Evita (Olivier Nomination), Guys and Dolls starring Ewan McGregor and Jane Krakowski (Olivier nomination), and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Olivier nomination). National Theatre Choreography credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Once In A Lifetime. Ashford also choreographed a new production of Candide at the English National Opera (with subsequent productions at La Scala, Milan and La Chatelet Theatre, Paris).
Film credits include staging the musical numbers for the Bobby Darin biopic Beyond the Sea starring Kevin Spacey. For television, Ashford has choreographed tributes to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Barbra Streisand, Jerry Hermann, and Barbara Cook for The Kennedy Center Honors. He collaborated with filmmaker Baz Luhrmann on a production number featuring Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles for The 81st Annual Academy Awards (Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography). In December 2013, Ashford was stage director and choreographer of NBC's The Sound of Music Live!.
Ashford is currently represented on The West End as the co-director of Shrek The Musical. He choreographed a musical version of the film Finding Neverland which premièred in autumn 2012 at Curve, Leicester. Future productions include a musical version of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland for Disney, Carmen at Houston Grand Opera and The Barber of Seville at Chicago Lyric Opera.
Ashford is on the executive committee for The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Board of Trustees for The Joyce Theatre, Artists' Committee for the Kennedy Center Honors, and an Associate Director at The Old Vic.
- Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002) (Tony Award)
- The Wedding Singer (2006) (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination)
- Curtains (2007) (Tony Award nomination)
- Cry-Baby (2008) (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award, Fred Astaire Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award)
- Promises, Promises (2010) (Tony Award nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination)
- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, Fred Astaire Award nomination) (2011)
- Evita (2012) (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, Fred Astaire Award nomination
- Thoroughly Modern Millie (2003) (Olivier Award nomination)
- Guys and Dolls (2005) (Olivier Award nomination)
- Evita (2006) (Olivier Award nomination)
- Parade (2008) (Olivier Award nominations for Direction and Choreography)
- A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum (Royal National Theatre)
- Once in a Lifetime (2005) (Royal National Theatre)
- Candide (2008) - new production at the English National Opera  (With subsequent productions at La Scala, Milan and La Chatelet Theatre, Paris)
- A Streetcar Named Desire (2010) (Olivier Award nomination)
- Anna Christie (2011) (Olivier Award Best Revival)
- Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 204. ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3. Retrieved 2011-06-06
- Jones, Kenneth.PLAYBILL ON-LINE'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER with Rob Ashford July 23, 2002
- Listing, Encores! nycitycenter.org
- Gans, Andrew. "Ashford to Help Luhrmann Stage Oscar Number for Host Jackman" playbill.com, February 2, 2009
- Jones, Kenneth."Borle, O'Hara, Kudisch, Peil, Moran, Davi Appeared in Finding Neverland Reading" playbill.com, June 8, 2009
- Benedict, David.ReviewVariety, June 26, 2008
- Rob Ashford at the Internet Broadway Database
- Rob Ashford at the Internet Movie Database
- Biography American Theatre Wing
- Biography, filmreference.com
- Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Listing London Theatre Database