Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Arts


After early success as a peiformer and choreographer in night clubs, vaudeville road shows, theatre, film and television, Gower Champion launched a career as a director of Broadway musicals. In 1960, he began his Broadway career with the musical Bye Bye Birdie, and at once, proved himself capable of employing every element of production to fashion his unique work of art. In the works that followed (Carnival 1961 and Hello, Dolly! 1964,1 Do, I Do. 1966, and Happy Time, 1968) he streamlined the American musical.

This thesis will focus on characteristics of his directing technique and rehearsal style. In directing, he promoted the application of an overriding idea uniting all the disparate elements of production, added continuous choreography to create a connection between scene changes, and invented unobtrusive transitions from dialogue into music. His rehearsal technique may be described as focused, disciplined and very well-prepared. Though his rehearsal allowed no time for nonsense, he treated actors and dancers with the ultimate respect.

This study analyzes Champion's directing and choreography and his rehearsal process for Hello, Dolly! Sources for the research include dissertations, critical reviews, relevant scholarly and commercial publications, and the personal experience of the author as a cast member as well as interviews with members of the cast and production team for the original production of Hello, Dolly! The thesis aims to explain why Champion was the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful musical theatre directorchoreographer on the Broadway stage during the 1960's.