ROBERT LONGBOTTOM is a New York City based director who is equally at home working in a Broadway theater or in an opera house. Mr. Longbottom made his Broadway debut as the director and choreographer of the original Broadway production of the TONY nominated musical, SIDE SHOW, which was hailed by The New York Times as “something to marvel at,” “directed with stylish confidence,” and “poetically staged.” The New York Observer also described the show as “brilliantly directed,” “pulsing with artistry,” and “nothing less than electrifying.”
Longbottom’s subsequent body of work is just as impressive. Recent projects include a new production of LA FILLE DU REGIMENT for the Washington National Opera. Starring Lawrence Brownlee, Lisette Oropesa, and with a special appearance by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Longbottom’s interpretation of the opera was met with rave reviews. Opera News cheered, “Longbottom’s eager cast jumped into everything with theatrical flourish…dialogue sparkled.” DC Metro Theatre Arts noted that the staged drama was “guided by the precise directorial and choreographic hand of Robert Longbottom who wisely keeps things moving briskly and places the emphasis where it should be on the thrilling music of Donizetti.” DC Theatre Scene described the opera’s dance as “entertaining choreography that takes thematic elements from musical theater and repurposes them in an unexpected way.” Metro Weekly confirmed, “The chorus aces the clever choreography and wit of director Longbottom and are a joy to watch.”
Longbottom’s upcoming projects include a new Broadway musical based on the life of television evangelist TAMMY FAYE BAKKER, with music by Henry Krieger, lyrics by David Yazbek, and starring Kristin Chenoweth. He is also currently developing a new play, with music, for New York Theatre Workshop about the lives of CASTRATI, written by the Pulitzer Prize/TONY Award winning playwright, Doug Wright, with musical supervision by Anthony Roth Costanzo.
Longbottom’s celebrated revival of DREAMGIRLS, which premiered at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem prior to an international tour that included Seoul, Tokyo and Johannesburg, will have an extended tour of the Far East, following its 2018 opening in Shanghai. The Chicago Tribune has declared this much-acclaimed production “a seamlessly conceived and superbly danced revival that could only have been created by a single director-choreographer. Longbottom clearly understands that this title was always, in essence, a non-stop concert with telegraphed conflicts and redemptions, and easy to digest emotional overlays. It almost plays here as a pop operetta, and if you’ve seen ‘Dreamgirls’ on previous ragtag outings, you’ll understand the huge scale of that accomplishment.”
On Broadway, Longbottom directed and choreographed the reconceived revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG, with a new book by the playwright David Henry Hwang following its premiere at The Mark Taper Forum, earning him a TONY Award nomination for his choreography, as well as Fred Astaire and Outer Critics Circle nominations, among others. Other Broadway credits include THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL at the Minskoff Theater and BYE BYE BIRDIE for the Roundabout Theatre Company. He also conceived, directed and choreographed the hilarious original Off-Broadway hit PAGEANT, which was nominated for four Outer Critics Circle Awards and a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience.
Other credits include: Disney’s ON THE RECORD, CARNIVAL! for the Kennedy Center, The Radio City Music Hall CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR 1994-1999, SHOW BOAT at Carnegie Hall, TRIANGLE at the Eugene O’Neill Center, SOUTH PACIFIC at the Muny Opera, starring Howard Keel, and CAMELOT at the Glimmerglass Festival, starring David Pittsinger and Nathan Gunn. Plays include MISTER ROBERTS for the Kennedy Center and HAY FEVER for the Old Globe. Longbottom has also staged a one night only revival of ANYTHING GOES for Lincoln Center Theatre, starring Patti LuPone, Howard McGillin and Boyd Gaines. For BROADWAY CARES/ EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS, he conceived, directed and choreographed three editions of THE EASTER BONNET COMPETITION.
Mr. Longbottom was born and raised in Portland, Maine. He made his professional theatrical debut at age 9, appearing in OLIVER! at the Brunswick Music Theater, now known as the Maine State Theater. He also played Winthrop in THE MUSIC MAN, young Patrick in MAME, with Andrea Martin as Gooch, and Tom of Warwick in CAMELOT. On Broadway, he appeared in the revival of LITTLE JOHNNY JONES and the original companies of 42ND STREET and ME AND MY GIRL. He understudied the role of Will Parker in the 1980 Agnes DeMille helmed revival of OKLAHOMA and played Bobby in the European Company of A CHORUS LINE.
For the past twelve years, Longbottom has devoted his time to mentoring high school students for Wendy Wasserstein’s OPEN DOORS Program. In addition, he conducts master audition classes in colleges and universities throughout the country.