Lonny Price

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Lonny Price
Born (1959-03-09) March 9, 1959 (age 64)
EducationJuilliard School
Occupation(s)Theatre/film/television director, actor, writer

Lonny Price (born March 9, 1959) is an American director, actor, and writer, primarily in theatre. He is best known for his New York directing work, including Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, Company, and Sondheim! The Birthday Concert. As an actor, he is perhaps best known for his creation of the role of Charley Kringas in the Broadway musical Merrily We Roll Along, Neil Kellerman in Dirty Dancing, and Ronnie Crawford in The Muppets Take Manhattan.


Early life[edit]

Price was born in New York City, the son of Edie L. (Greene), a merchandise manager, and Murray A. Price, a car leasing company owner.[1] Price grew up in Fresh Meadows, New York and Metuchen, New Jersey.[2] He attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, and the Juilliard School, which he only attended for a year in order to begin pursuing acting professionally.[3]

Acting career[edit]

His early career was spent performing in Off-Broadway productions, including Class Enemy in 1979, for which he won a Theater World Award for outstanding stage debut.[4]

His first major Broadway credit was the ill-fated Stephen Sondheim/Hal Prince/George Furth musical Merrily We Roll Along (1981), which underwent constant changes during an unusually long preview period and closed after only sixteen performances. His next show, the Athol Fugard play "Master Harold"...and the Boys - in which he portrayed a South African student opposite Danny Glover and Zakes Mokae as the family servants - ran for eight months.

Possibly his most significant Off-Broadway stage credit as an actor is the William FinnJames Lapine musical Falsettoland as Mendel in 1990.[5]

Price's film and television credits include major supporting roles in The Muppets Take Manhattan and Dirty Dancing, and guest appearances on The Golden Girls and Law & Order, among others.

In 1989, he appeared as Jimmy Durante in the musical biography Durante.[6]

Directing career[edit]

Price made his directorial debut with the Off-Broadway revival of The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N in 1989 for the American Jewish Theater,[7] followed by The Rothschilds and Juno, both of which received Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Revival.

Price served as Associate Artistic Director for the American Jewish Theatre from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s.[8] He was artistic director at Musical Theatre Works, a non-profit theatre dedicated solely to the development of new musicals until 2002, when he became resident director.[9]

He was a staff director for the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, for which he was part of a team that received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Drama Series Directing in 1995.[10]

He has directed numerous musical productions, both concert and non-concert, with the New York Philharmonic, which include Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd with Patti LuPone and George Hearn in 2000,[11] for which he won an Emmy Award, Leonard Bernstein's Candide (2004), with Kristin Chenoweth, Sir Thomas Allen, and Patti LuPone, Passion with Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald, which won an Emmy Award, and Camelot with Gabriel Byrne, Marin Mazzie, Christopher Lloyd, and Nathan Gunn, among other productions.

In 2000, Price co-wrote (with Linda Kline), directed, and starred in A Class Act, based on the life and career of composer-lyricist Edward Kleban, whose sole Broadway credit was A Chorus Line. The score consisted of songs Kleban had written for other shows that remained unproduced.[12][13] After a two-month run at the Manhattan Theatre Club, it transferred to the Ambassador Theatre, where it fared less successfully and closed after three months.[13] It earned Price his sole Tony Award nomination to date, for Best Book of a Musical. The show was also nominated for four other Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

In 2007, he directed a Broadway revival of 110 in the Shade at the Roundabout Theatre Company, starring Audra McDonald. The play was nominated for the 2007 Tony Award, Best Revival of a Musical (among others).[14]

In March 2010, he conceived and directed Sondheim! The Birthday Concert at the New York Philharmonic, celebrating the composer-lyricist's 80th Birthday.[15] The PBS television broadcast was nominated for several Emmy Awards, and Price won for "Outstanding Directing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Special."

In April 2011 he directed an acclaimed concert production of Sondheim's Company with Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, Martha Plimpton, Christina Hendricks, and Patti LuPone, backed by the New York Philharmonic.[16][17]

In 2013, he again directed Sweeney Todd at the New York Philharmonic, this time starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel. The PBS telecast for Live from Lincoln Center won the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Variety, Music, Or Comedy Special."

He has directed numerous productions at the Chicago Ravinia Festival, including Sweeney Todd, Gypsy, Sunday in the Park With George, Anyone Can Whistle, Passion, and Annie Get Your Gun. Frequent collaborators for his productions include performers Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Michael Cerveris, and George Hearn, and musical director and conductor Paul Gemignani.

He directed the 2014 Broadway production of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill starring McDonald, who won her historic sixth Tony Award for her performance as Billie Holiday. He would subsequently stage the production in 2017 on the West End in London, again starring McDonald, as well as the HBO special. In 2016, he directed the acclaimed London revival of Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close, which transferred to Broadway and played a limited run in 2017.

In 2016, Price directed the documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, which chronicles the ill-fated journey of Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince's original 1981 Broadway musical Merrily We Roll Along. It played the New York Film Festival, and was named one of the New York Times Top Ten Films of 2016.[18][19]

His episodic television directing work includes five episodes of Desperate Housewives and three episodes of 2 Broke Girls.

In 2019, Price directed the Roundabout Theatre Company premiere of the musical Scotland, PA.[20]

Price is a guest instructor at HB HB Studio.[21]



Year Title Role Notes
1981 The Survivor Rudy
Merrily We Roll Along Charley Kringas
1982 "Master Harold"...and the Boys Hally
1986 Rags Ben
1987 Broadway Roy Lane
Burn This Larry (replacement)
1994 Sally Marr…and her escorts Director, Writer
2001 A Class Act Ed Kleban, Director, Book Tony Award for Best Musical (nominee)
2003 Urban Cowboy Director
"Master Harold"...and the Boys Director
2007 110 in the Shade Director Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (nominee), Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Musical (nominee)
2014 Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Director also West End
2017 Sunset Boulevard Director also West End
2022 Walking with Ghosts Director also West End


Year Title Role Theater/Company Notes
1979 Class Enemy Rakes Perry St. Theater
1983 Up from Paradise Abel Jewish Repertory Theater
1985 Rommel’s Garden Private Ackenbaum Harold Clurman Theater
1986 Room Service Faker Englund Roundabout Theatre Company
1987 Come Blow Your Horn Buddy Baker Jewish Repertory Theatre
1989 The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N Director Jewish Repertory Theatre
1990 Falsettoland Mendel Lucille Lortel Theatre
The Rothschilds Director American Jewish Theatre Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival (nominee)
1991 Grown Ups Director American Jewish Theatre
The Matchmaker Director Roundabout Theatre Company
1992 Juno Director Vineyard Theatre Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival (nominee)
1995 Pal Joey Director New York City Center
1996 The Springhill Singing Disaster Director 47th Street Theatre
1997 Visiting Mr. Green Director Union Square Theatre
1999 Finian's Rainbow Director New York City Center
2000 Sweeney Todd Director David Geffen Hall
A Class Act Ed Kleban, Director, Book New York City Center
2004 Can-Can Director New York City Center
Candide Director David Geffen Hall
2006 Kismet Director New York City Center
Company Director David Geffen Hall
Stopping Traffic Director Vineyard Theatre
2019 Scotland, PA Director Roundabout Theatre Company


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Headin’ for Broadway Steven Levy
1981 The Chosen Davey
1984 The Muppets Take Manhattan Ronnie Crawford
1987 Dirty Dancing Neil Kellerman
1988 Hot to Trot Frank
1992 Flodder in Amerika! Geoffrey
2016 Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened Director, Writer


Year Title Role Notes
1979 ABC Afterschool Specials Danny Dawson
1980 Love Cycle: A Soap Operetta Tom
1985 Hail to the Chief Steve 1 episode
1987 Not Quite Human Mr. Sturges
1988 The Golden Girls Hastings 1 episode
Dear John Andrew Garberg 1 episode
1989 Jacob Have I Loved Mr. Rice TV movie
1990 Doctor Doctor Peter Balcovske 1 episode
Loving Howie Miller 1 episode
1991 Law & Order Frank Hoover / Dr. Lieber 2 episodes
1994–1996 One Life to Live Director 3 episodes
1996 O'Henry’s Christmas Jack TV movie
2001 PBS Great Performances: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert Director
2005 PBS Great Performances: Leonard Bernstein's Candide, a Comic Operetta in Two Acts Director
Live from Lincoln Center: Passion Director Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program[22]
2007 PBS Great Performances: Company: A Musical Comedy Director
2008 Live from Lincoln Center: Camelot Director
2010 PBS Great Performances: Sondheim! The Birthday Concert Director
2010–2011 Desperate Housewives Director 5 episodes
2011 PBS Great Performances: Company Director
2012 Live from Lincoln Center: One Singular Sensation! Celebrating Marvin Hamlisch Director
2012–2016 2 Broke Girls Director 3 episodes
2013 Live from Lincoln Center: Ring Them Bells! A Kander & Ebb Celebration Director
2014 Live from Lincoln Center: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - In Concert with the New York Philharmonic Director
Live from Lincoln Center: New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve Gershwin Celebration Director
2015 The Jack and Triumph Show Director 2 episodes
Gypsy: Live from the Savoy Theatre Director
Live from Lincoln Center: Sinatra: Voice for a Century Director
2016 Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Director HBO
Live from Lincoln Center: New York Philharmonic New Year's Eve: An Enchanted Evening Director
2017 Dirty Dancing Neil Kellerman TV movie
2018 Live from Lincoln Center: New York Philharmonic New Year's Eve with Renée Fleming Director
PBS Great Performances: Harold Prince: The Director’s Life Director
2019 Live from Lincoln Center: New York Philharmonic New Year's Eve 2019: Celebrating Sondheim Director
2021 Show of Titles Director
The Bite Director 1 episode

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award / Organization Year Category Nominated work Result Ref(s)
Theatre World Award 1980 Outstanding Stage Debut Class Enemy Won [23]
Daytime Emmy Awards 1995 Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team One Life to Live Nominated
Tony Awards 2001 Best Book of a Musical A Class Act Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards 2002 Outstanding Classical Music-Dance Program PBS Great Performances: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Won
2008 Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program PBS Great Performances: Company Nominated
2011 Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special PBS Great Performances: Sondheim! The Birthday Concert Won


  1. ^ "Lonny Price" filmreference.com
  2. ^ Gardner, Amanda. "THEATER; Tony Awards' New Jersey Ties", The New York Times, July 23, 2008.
  3. ^ Klein, Alvin. "BEATING THE ODDS TO BECOME A STAGE STAR". NYTimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 September 2023.
  4. ^ Class Enemy lortel.org, retrieved November 30, 2017
  5. ^ Falsettoland lortel.org, retrieved November 30, 2017
  6. ^ Sullivan, Dan. "STAGE REVIEW : Stop da Music! Is This the Real Durante?". Latimes.com. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  7. ^ Shepard, Richard. "Review/Theater; 'H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N,' a Musical" The New York Times, April 6, 1989
  8. ^ "American Jewish Theatre" lortel.org, retrieved November 29, 2017
  9. ^ Portantiere, Michael. "Musical Theatre Works Names New Artistic Director" theatermania.com, November 1, 2002
  10. ^ One Life to Live (TV series) Awards and Nominations at IMDB
  11. ^ Sweeney Todd sondheimguide.com, retrieved November 30, 2017
  12. ^ A Class Act rnh.com, retrieved November 29, 2017
  13. ^ a b A Class Act ibdb.com
  14. ^ " 110 in the Shade, 2007" ibdb.com
  15. ^ Holden, Stephen. "A Little Birthday Music for Sondheim" The New York Times, March 16, 2010
  16. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Neil Patrick Harris to Star in New York Philharmonic Company Concerts" Archived 2010-12-14 at the Wayback Machine Playbill, December 10, 2010
  17. ^ Staff. "Patti LuPone Gets Ready for Company With Neil Patrick Harris" broadway.com, January 13, 2011
  18. ^ Rooney, David. "'Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened': Film Review - NYFF 2016". The Hollywood Reporter.
  19. ^ Schulman, Michael (October 14, 2016). "Revisiting a Legendary Sondheim Flop". The New Yorker.
  20. ^ "Lonny Price Will Direct Roundabout's Premiere of SCOTLAND, PA Musical".
  21. ^ "Director Lonny Price - HB Studio | Directing Classes in NYC".
  22. ^ "2005 Outstanding Special Class Program". Emmys.com. ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS & SCIENCES.
  23. ^ "Theatre World Award Recipients". theatreworldawards.org/. Theatre World Awards. Retrieved 2 September 2023.

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