- For the scholar and literary critic, see Tony Tanner (scholar).
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27 July 1932 |
Hillingdon, Middlesex, England
|Occupation||actor, director, singer, choreographer, playwright, lyricist|
Training and early career
Tanner graduated from the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art with the Douglas Cup, awarded him by Margaret Rutherford. He spent five years in northern repertory companies, playing everything from Saint Peter to the front end of a cow in a British pantomime.
Intimate revues in West End of London brought Tanner some notoriety, including an appearance in a sketch by then-unknown Harold Pinter. Later Tanner played the patsy in The Birthday Party, opposite Pinter himself, by this time known to everybody. Tanner has made numerous appearances in plays and on variety shows on British television, including a stint as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, opposite Benny Hill’s Bottom.
All of this culminated in the role of Littlechap in Stop the World - I Want to Get Off in London’s West End, taking over for author Anthony Newley. He played the same role in Warner Brothers' film version of the show.
Tanner went to America to assume the lead role in Half a Sixpence on Broadway, and remained in the U.S.. Two more starring roles on Broadway followed: in No Sex Please, We're British opposite Maureen O'Sullivan and Sherlock Holmes guest starring with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Tanner played Iago to Robert Guillaume’s Othello at the National Sylvan Theater. He has had many appearances with top opera companies in the comic roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operas. Tanner's one-man show Charlatan was the hit of the New York International Fringe Festival.
As a director, Tanner has staged and choreographed five shows on Broadway — including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, for which he received Best Director and Best Choreographer Tony Award nominations. His 1981 production of A Taste of Honey starring Amanda Plummer was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Revival in the same season. Tanner has directed a number of Off-Broadway plays as well.
- Strictly for the Birds (1963)
- The Pleasure Girls (1965)
- Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (1966)
- The Sandwich Man (1966)