'Billy Elliot,' 'Hair' among choreography nods
Choreographers of Broadway tuners “Billy Elliot” and “Hair” and pics “Slumdog Millionaire” and “High School Musical 3” are among the nominees of the 2009 edition of the dance-centric Astaire Awards.Director and choreographer Stanley Donen (“Singin’ in the Rain,” “On the Town”) will get the lifetime achievement award at the ceremony, set for June 1. Nominees for Rialto choreographer are Andy Blankenbuehler (“9 to 5”), Karole Armitage (“Hair”), Peter Darling (“Billy Elliot”), Sergio Trujillo (“Guys and Dolls”) and Graciela Daniele (“Pal Joey”). Nods for film work went to Anthony Van Laast (“Mamma Mia!”), Longines Fernandes (“Slumdog”), Aakomon “AJ” Jones (“Center Stage Turn It Up”), Tracy Phillips (“Make It Happen”), Patrick De Bana and Pedro Gomes (“Fados”), Kenny Ortega (“HSM3”) and Todd Underwood (“Were the World Mine”). Distaff dancer nominees include Karen Olivo (“West Side Story”), Kearran Giovanni (“Guys and Dolls”), Pia Glenn (“You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush”) and a shared nom for Angel Reed, Katherine Tokarz and Savannah Wise, all from “Rock of Ages.” (Olivo won an Astaire last year for her dancing in “In the Heights.”) Performer noms for male dancers went to Jeffrey Denman (“White Christmas”), Matthew Risch (“Pal Joey”), plus a shared nom for the three young actors who rotate in the title role of “Billy Elliot” and another for the two who alternate in the role of Billy’s friend Michael. Alan Cumming is set to host the Astaires, with presenters including Liza Minnelli and Geoffrey Rush.
* * *Nella Vera has been named the new marketing director of Off Broadway’s Public Theater. Vera, currently assistant director of marketing at Center Theater Group in L.A., has a track record in Gotham legit that includes stints at Signature Theater Company, New York Stage and Film and the Flea. Vera replaces Ilene Rosen in the Public post, in the wake of Rosen’s departure for a gig at ad agency SpotCo.