Peter Gennaro

Peter Gennaro (November 23, 1919 September 28, 2000) was an American dancer and choreographer.

Peter Gennaro
Born(1919-11-23)November 23, 1919
DiedSeptember 28, 2000(2000-09-28) (aged 80)
OccupationChoreographer, dancer
Years active1948-1997
Jean Kinsella (m. 19482000)


Gennaro was born in Metairie, Louisiana. He made his Broadway debut in the ensemble of Make Mine Manhattan in 1948. He followed this with Kiss Me, Kate (1948) and Guys and Dolls (1950). He first drew notice from theatergoers as a member of the trio that danced the Bob Fosse number "Steam Heat" in The Pajama Game (1954), and continued to hold their attention with the "Mu Cha Cha" number with Judy Holliday in Bells Are Ringing (1956). A year later, he broke out of the chorus line and into choreography when he collaborated with Jerome Robbins on West Side Story, notably choreographing (without credit) a majority of the "America" and "Mambo" dance sequences.

In addition to his theater chores, Gennaro worked steadily in television, appearing in and/or choreographing such shows as Your Hit Parade, The Polly Bergen Show, Judy Garland's CBS variety program, and the Kraft Music Hall. With his dance troupe, he was a guest on Ed Sullivan's CBS Sunday night variety show dozens of times, and he was a member of the regular repertory company on the short-lived CBS variety show The Entertainers (1964–1965), one of the stars having been John Davidson. He also served for many years as choreographer for Radio City Music Hall, staging routines for The Rockettes.

He was inducted, posthumously, into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2002.[1]

Personal life

His daughter, Liza, is also a dancer and choreographer and Dean of Musical Theatre at Manhattan School of Music, and his son Michael is the Executive Director for Trinity Repertory Company and has served as executive director of both the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Paper Mill Playhouse.[2] The family lived for a time in Paramus, New Jersey up to 1972.[3] Gennaro died in New York City at the age of 80.

Stage productions

Awards and nominations

  • 1977 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography – Annie
  • 1977 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Annie
  • 1960 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Fiorello!
  • 1965 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Bajour
  • 1973 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Irene
  • 1982 Tony Award for Best Choreography – Little Me
  • 1999 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Theatre Choreographer – Annie


  1. Broadway Beat - The Theatre Hall of Fame Awards by Richard Ridge Archived 2006-11-17 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Trinity Rep Staff Pages Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Shanley, John P. "Gennaro Como's Dancing Master", The New York Times, October 15, 1961.
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