Bob Avian, a Tony-winning choreographer who worked on numerous Broadway and stage productions of shows such as “Dreamgirls,” “A Chorus Line,” “Follies” and “Miss Saigon,” has died. He was 83.
Avian died on Thursday at the Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida of cardiac arrest and was not COVID-related.
Avian is a native of New York and got his BA from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and additionally studied at the Boston Ballet School. He began his professional career on stage as a dancer in more than a dozen Broadway shows, including “West Side Story,” “Funny Girl” and “Henry, Sweet Henry.”
For the next 20 years after that, he worked closely with Michael Bennett, working as an associate choreographer and assistant director on productions such as “Promises, Promises,” “Coco,” “Company,” “Follies,” “Twigs,” “Seesaw” and “God’s Favorite.”
He won his first Tony in 1976 for “A Chorus Line,” working as the show’s co-choreographer. And he won again as a producer for “Ballroom.” He then served as a lead producer on shows such as “Follies” for its London premiere and the original and national companies for “Dreamgirls,” which won six Tony Awards.
Some of his other credits include “Sunset Boulevard,” “Martin Guerre,” Steven Sondheim’s “Putting It Together” and “The Witches of Eastwick.”
Avian appeared in the documentary “Every Little Step,” which followed the audition process for a revival of “A Chorus Line,” and he directed a London revival of the show in 2013. He also published last year a memoir titled “Dancing Man: A Broadway Choreographer’s Journey” co-written with Tom Santopietro.
Bob Avian is survived by his husband Peter Pileski, his sister Laura Nabedian and his 5 nieces and nephews, as well as a great-nephew and great-niece.