Grover Robert Aitken
July 22, 1935
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, choreographer, dancer, director, pedagogue|
(m. 1973; died 1994)
|Children||James Badge Dale|
Dale was born Grover Robert Aitken in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Emma Bertha (Ammon) and Ronal Rittenhouse Aitken, a restaurateur. He studied dance with Lillian Jasper in McKeesport from 1945 to 1952 before he appeared in his first professional job in with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera in 1953.
Dale's Broadway stage debut was in the 1956 musical, Li'l Abner as a dancer. He appeared in the original cast of West Side Story as Snowboy, a member of the Jets gang. Other stage credits include the role of Andrew in Greenwillow, in which he also understudied Anthony Perkins as Gideon Briggs; Noël Coward's Sail Away, where he had the juvenile lead role of architect Barnaby Slade; and in Half a Sixpence, where he played Pearce, one of a quartet of 19th century London shop apprentices around whom the show is structured.
Dale was nominated for the Tony Award twice, for his choreography of Billy, a musical version of Keith Waterhouse's Billy Liar, and his direction of The Magic Show. He also received an Emmy Award nomination for his choreography of Barry Manilow's 1985 television musical Copacabana. As co-director of Jerome Robbins' Broadway, he shared Best Director Tony Award with the famed director-choreographer Jerome Robbins. In 1992 he became publisher/editor of Dance & Fitness magazine. In 1999 Dale founded the website, Answers4Dancers.com, whose stated goal is "to empower dancers and choreographers to think, to grow, and to create satisfying careers for themselves..."
Dale was involved in a six-year relationship with actor Anthony Perkins that ended in 1973 when he married actress/singer Anita Morris; they remained married until Morris's death in 1994. They had one son, actor James Badge Dale (born 1978).
- 1955 'The Amazing Adele' musical (dancer)
- 1956 Li'l Abner (dancer)
- 1957 West Side Story (actor)
- 1960 Greenwillow (actor)
- 1961 Sail Away (actor)
- 1965 Half a Sixpence (actor)
- 1969 'Billy'(choreographer)
- 1970 'Jesus Christ Superstar' (choreographer)
- 1973 [[Seesaw (musical) (choreographer)
- 1973 [[Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (show doctor)
- 1974 'Seven Brides For Seven Brothers' (show doctor)
- 1974 The Magic Show (director, choreographer)
- 1979 King of Schnorrers (director, choreographer)
- 1988 Mail (choreographer)
- 1989 Jerome Robbins' Broadway (director)
- 1962 'The Landlord" (actor and dancer)
- 1964 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' directed by Chuck Walters. (actor & dancer)
- 1967 Les demoiselles de Rochefort directed by Jacques Demy (actor and dancer).
- 1967 'Half A Sixpence" choreo'd by Dame Gillian Lynne (actor and dancer).
- 1972 'So Fine' Dale was hired to choreograph and write the title song.
- 1983 'Quicksilver' Dale was hired to choreograph.
- 1987 'Aria (film) Dale choreographed the 'Rigoletto' section)
Awards and nominations
- 1969 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography – Billy
- 1980 Lester Horton Award for Lifetime Achievement
- 1970 Tony Nomination for Best Choreography – Billy
- 1973 Tony Award for best Choreography of a Musical - 'Seesaw'
- 1975 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – The Magic Show
- 1986 Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography – 'Copacabana'
- 1988 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography – Mail
- 1973 Dramalogue Award for Outstanding Choreography
- 1981 Tony Award for Outstanding Direction of a musical 'Jerome Robbins Broadway'