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Gillian Lynne, Choreographer Behind Cats and Phantom, Dies at 92

Lynne's work can still be seen nightly on Broadway and the West End.

Gillian Lynne (fourth from left) with the cast of The Phantom of the Opera in 2012.
(© David Gordon)

Gillian Lynne, the beloved choreographer behind Broadway's Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, has died at the age of 92.

Lynne began her career as a dancer with Sadler's Wells Ballet during the second World War. On the night of her 20th birthday, she received her first major solo, in Sleeping Beauty. She became known for her roles with the Royal Ballet, performing the Black Queen in Checkmate, Queen of the Wills in Giselle, and others. Leaving the ballet in 1951, she became a star dancer across London's West End in shows like Can-Can.

Over her career as a stage choreographer, she created the dances for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats and Phantom in London and on Broadway, her work still performed nightly across continents. She received Tony nominations for both, as well as an Olivier Award for Cats. Lynne's other Broadway credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, How Now, Dow Jones, and The Roar of the Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd. Other awards received by Lynne include a Special Olivier Award in 2013.

On May 1, Andrew Lloyd Webber renamed the New London Theatre in Lynne's honor; she made one of her final public appearances on June 22 at the official renaming ceremony. London's West End will dim its marquee lights for one minute tonight in her memory. She is survived by her husband, the actor Peter Land.

Watch the dedication of the Gillian Lynne Theatre below:


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