Born in New York City, Avian's spent his early career dividing his time between dancing in such Broadway shows as West Side Story, Funny Girl, and Henry, Sweet Henry and working as a production assistant on projects like I Do! I Do! and Twigs. He first met Michael Bennett when they both appeared in Nowhere to Go But Up in 1962, and over the course of the next two decades the two collaborated on Promises, Promises, Coco, Company, Follies, Seesaw, God's Favorite, A Chorus Line, Ballroom, and Dreamgirls, Avian's first credit as a solo producer. Additional Broadway credits include Putting It Together and the 2006 revival of A Chorus Line, which he directed.
In London's West End, Avian choreographed Follies, Martin Guerre, The Witches of Eastwick, Miss Saigon, and Sunset Boulevard, repeating the assignment for the Broadway productions of the latter two. He also staged Hey, Mr. Producer!, the Cameron Mackintosh tribute. He is due to choreograph and direct the 2013 West End production of A Chorus Line, the first revival of the musical in London since the original in 1976.
Awards and nominations
- 1976 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography – A Chorus Line
- 1976 Tony Award for Best Choreography – A Chorus Line
- 1979 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography – Ballroom
- 1979 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Ballroom
- 1997 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Choreography – Martin Guerre
- 1979 Tony Award for Best Musical – Ballroom
- 1982 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical – Dreamgirls
- 1982 Tony Award for Best Musical – Dreamgirls
- 1991 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Miss Saigon
- 1995 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Sunset Boulevard
- "Bob Avian Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- Kelly, Kevin(1990),One Singular Sensation: The Michael Bennett Story, Zebra, ISBN 0-8217-3310-9
- Mandelbaum, Ken (1990), A Chorus Line and the Musicals of Michael Bennett, St. Martins Press, ISBN 0-312-04280-9
- Stevens, Gary (2000), The Longest Line: Broadway's Most Singular Sensation: A Chorus Line, Applause Books, ISBN 1-55783-221-8
- Flinn, Denny Martin (1989), What They Did for Love: The Untold Story Behind the Making of "A Chorus Line", Bantam, ISBN 0-553-34593-1
- Viagas, Robert (1990), On the Line - The Creation of A Chorus Line, Limelight Editions, ISBN 0-87910-336-1