George Abbott

Hoofers and helmers

Abbott, who died in 1995 at age 107, enjoyed a life in the theater that nearly paralleled Variety‘s 100 years. He earned the monicker Mister Abbott for his absolute professionalism, whether it be directing, producing or writing the book of a musical. His talent clicked early on: in the late 1920s, Abbott directed and co-authored two Broadway hits, “Four Walls” and “Coquette,” and by 1932, his rep as a helmer was firmly established with “Twentieth Century.” He was involved in some capacity or another with more than 100 Broadway shows, and many of theose shows were hits. He sat at the helm of “On Your Toes,” “The Boys From Syracuse,” “Pal Joey,” “On the Town, “Wonderful Town,” “The Pajama Game,” “Damn Yankees,” “Fiorello!,” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” to name a few. His fast-paced style certainly impacted the Great White Way: Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse and Hal Prince count Abbot as an influence.

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