TONY WINNER JERRY MITCHELL AND EMMY WINNER ALEX RUDZINSKI JOIN NBC'S ANTICIPATED HOLIDAY PRODUCTION OF "BYE BYE BIRDIE LIVE!"
Broadway Veteran Mitchell Serves as Stage Director While "World of Dance" Helmer Rudzinski Signs On as Live Television Director for NBC's 2017 Musical Starring Jennifer Lopez
Jerry Mitchell, left, and Alex Rudzinski flank Kenny Leon on the set of "Hairspray Live!" last year.
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - March 3, 2017 - NBC's "Bye Bye Birdie Live!," the network's 2017 live holiday musical production starring Jennifer Lopez, has found its directorial duo: Jerry Mitchell, a two-time Tony Award winner and eight-time nominee, has joined as stage director and two-time Emmy Award winner Alex Rudzinski, director and co-executive producer of NBC's upcoming dance competition series "World of Dance," will serve as the telecast's live television director.
"It's a joy to work with Jerry Mitchell and Alex Rudzinski again after their incredible partnership on 'Hairspray Live!,' which elevated our live musicals to a new height," said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. "Jerry is the cream of the crop of Broadway director/choreographers with two hits running on Broadway right now, and Alex is peerless in the world of live television direction."
Mitchell, who choreographed NBC's 2016 production of "Hairspray Live!," is currently represented on Broadway as the director of the Gloria Estefan bio-musical "On Your Feet." He earned his Tonys for the choreography of the 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical "Kinky Boots," for which he was also nominated as director, and the 2005 revival of "La Cage Aux Folles." He was nominated for an Olivier Award for his choreography in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," which he also directed and co-produced in the West End.
Mitchell has been involved with more than 50 Broadway, Off-Broadway, West End and touring productions, starting as a dancer for Agnes de Mille in "Brigadoon" and thereafter assisting Michael Bennett and Jerome Robbins. His Broadway debut as choreographer on "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" was followed by "The Full Monty," "The Rocky Horror Show," "Hairspray," "Gypsy," "Never Gonna Dance," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "Imaginary Friends," "Legally Blonde," which he also directed, "Catch Me If You Can" and "Kinky Boots."
He also choreographed both the Off-Broadway productions and films of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and "Jeffrey," the national tour of "Jekyll & Hyde," Paper Mill Playhouse's critically acclaimed "Follies," featuring Ann Miller, and "Love Never Dies," Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to his "Phantom of the Opera" for the West End. He also supervised the Broadway production of "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."
Rudzinski is director and co-executive producer of NBC's upcoming dance competition series "World of Dance," where judges Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and NE-YO, as well as host Jenna Dewan Tatum, bring the world's elite dancers together to compete in epic battles of artistry, precision and athleticism. Solo dancers will compete against duos and crews in an unlimited range of dance, including hip-hop, krumping, popping, locking, tap, ballet, break dancing, ballroom, stomping and more.
Rudzinski, who was nominated for a DGA Award for his live television direction of "Hairspray Live!," has won two Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Direction for a Variety Special for his work on Fox's musical "Grease Live!" He has directed 22 seasons of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and his other work includes U.K. series "Strictly Come Dancing" and "The X Factor," as well as NBC's "Maya & Marty."
Set at the height of rock 'n' roll, "Bye Bye Birdie" takes us to Sweet Apple, Ohio, where hip-thrusting music heartthrob Conrad Birdie is scheduled to give a lucky Sweet Apple lady "One Last Kiss" before being drafted into the Army. Conrad's rock 'n' roll ways send the small town reeling, giving the teens Birdie fever, shocking the parents with moral indignation, and placing songwriter/agent Albert Peterson along with his savvy sweetheart, Rosie, right in the thick of things. The story was inspired by the incredible popularity of Elvis Presley and his induction into the Army in 1957.
Harvey Fierstein, who has won Tony Awards for both acting ("Torch Song Trilogy," "Hairspray") and writing ("La Cage Aux Folles," "Torch Song Trilogy"), will pen the teleplay adaptation for "Bye Bye Birdie Live!" Fierstein previously wrote the teleplay for NBC's "The Wiz Live!" and the 2016 presentation of "Hairspray Live!," in which he co-starred.
Lopez will executive produce with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Benny Medina alongside award-winning film, TV, and live musical executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Rudzinski is also an executive producer and Mitchell a producer.
Universal Television will produce with Lopez's Nuyorican Productions, Storyline and Sony Pictures Television.