May 3, 1931
Brooklyn, New York
|Died||May 5, 1994
Key West, Florida
Born Joseph Lichtman in Brooklyn, New York, Layton began his career as a dancer in Wonderful Town (1953), and he appeared uncredited in the ensemble of the original live TV production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (1957) starring Julie Andrews. However, from the start, his primary interest was in musical staging. In addition to his many legitimate theatre credits, he conceived and directed Broadway concerts for Bette Midler (1975), Diana Ross (1976), Cher (1979), and Harry Connick, Jr. (1990).
In 1965, Layton won an Emmy Award for his work on My Name Is Barbra, the television special that introduced the public to the more sophisticated side of Barbra Streisand. It was his first of four collaborations with the star; the others were Color Me Barbra (1966), The Belle of 14th Street (1967) and Barbra Streisand ... And Other Musical Instruments (1973).
Layton directed the 1972 West End and 1973 Los Angeles productions of Scarlett, the musical stage adaptation of Gone with the Wind, and the 1985 world premiere of the Jule Styne musical Pieces of Eight in Edmonton.
Joe Layton also choreographed a ballet for the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, London titled "Grand Tour" which received critical acclaim as well as a warm reception from the audiences around the UK. In 1984, Layton was one of the three choreographers credited with staging the dances for the Opening (the "How the West Was Won" sequence) and Closing (the break-dances in "All Night Long") ceremonies of the 23rd Summer Olympiad of Los Angeles.
Mr. Layton was the Director of Paul Green's symphonic outdoor drama, "The Lost Colony" from 1964-1984.
Awards and nominations
- 1962 Tony Award for Best Choreography – No Strings
- 1965 Emmy Award for Conception, Choreography and Staging - My Name Is Barbra (TV)
- 1969 Tony Award for Best Choreography – George M!
- 1960 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Greenwillow
- 1962 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – No Strings
- 1966 Emmy Award - Musical Program - Color Me Barbra (TV)
- 1973 Emmy Award - Special - Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music - Barbra Streisand ... And Other Musical Instruments (TV)
- 1980 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Barnum
- 1980 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – Barnum
- 1980 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography – Barnum
- 1980 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical – Barnum
- Shulman, Arthur; Youman, Roger (1966). "Chapter V — They Called Them Spectaculars". How Sweet It Was — Television: A Pictorial Commentary. New York: Bonanza Books, a division of Crown Publishers, Inc., by arrangement with Shorecrest, Inc.
- Kaplan, Mike, ed. (1985). Variety Presents the Complete Book of Major U.S. Show Business Awards. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. p. 282. ISBN 0-8240-8919-7.
- Kaplan, p. 119
- Kaplan, p. 288
- Kaplan, p. 280
- Kaplan, p. 281
- Kaplan, p. 120
- Kaplan, p. 161
- Joe Layton on IMDb
- Joe Layton at the Internet Broadway Database
- Joe Layton at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Joe Layton papers, 1931-1992, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts