Joe Layton

Active - 1967 - 1991  |   Born - May 3, 1931   |   Died - May 5, 1994   |   Genres - Musical, Music, Comedy, Children's/Family

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Choreographer, producer, director, and writer Joe Layton found success on Broadway, television, and in feature films. Renowned for setting up spectacular live concerts, Layton was especially adept at stage work and over his career won Tonys for choreographing No Strings (1962) and George M! (1969). In 1965, Layton won an Emmy for staging the television special My Name Is Barbra, the show that introduced the world to the sophisticated side of Barbra Streisand. He would later create three more specials for Streisand. Born Joseph Lichtman in New York City, Layton launched his career in 1959 when he directed and choreographed the first run of Once Upon a Mattress, the show that made Carol Burnett a star. The same year, he put on The Sound of Music, which starred Mary Martin, and the Anthony Perkins play Greenwillow. In 1960, he worked with Martin again, this time on television, on her much-loved Thanksgiving Day Special. Layton broke into films as the dance director for Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) and executive produced the screen version of Annie (1982). Layton worked with Bette Midler on several major projects, including her live Clams on the Half Shell Revue and the choreography for her ill-received tribute to the USO, For the Boys (1991).

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