Casey Nicholaw

Casey Nicholaw (born 1962) is an American theatre director, choreographer and performer. He has been nominated for Tony Awards for directing and choreographing The Drowsy Chaperone (2006) and Something Rotten! (2015), for choreographing Monty Python's Spamalot (2005), and choreographing The Book of Mormon (2011), winning for his co-direction of the latter with Trey Parker. He also was nominated for the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Direction and Choreography for The Drowsy Chaperone (2006) and Something Rotten! (2015) and for Outstanding Choreography for Spamalot (2005).[1]


The son of Andy and Kay Nicholaw and the oldest of three children, Nicholaw grew up in San Diego, California and performed in community theatre there as a teenager.[2] He graduated from Clairemont High School in 1980 and attended the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a nephew of the late George Nicholaw, who was the long time general manager of radio station KNX (AM) in Los Angeles, California.


On Broadway, Nicholaw has directed and choreographed The Drowsy Chaperone (2006), choreographed Spamalot (2005) and directed To Be or Not to Be, which opened October 2, 2008, for the Manhattan Theatre Club.[3] He has been nominated for both Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards for his Broadway work.[1] As a performer, he played the role of Junior and other roles in Crazy for You (1992–94); played Wall Street Wolf and other roles in The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public (1994); played Gregor, Juke and other roles in Victor/Victoria (1995–97), played Corky, Luke and other roles in Steel Pier (1997); understudied and performed as Neville in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999); played the role of Frank Manero in Saturday Night Fever (1999–2000); understudied the role of Horton and other roles in Seussical (2000–01); and played the role of Dexter, among other roles, in Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002–04). He can be heard on the cast album of most of these musicals.[4]

Nicholaw's other choreography credits include Follies for City Center's Encores! (Off-Broadway, 2007; he also directed this production); Spamalot's West End production and U.S. national tour (2006); The Drowsy Chaperone in Los Angeles (2005; as director and choreographer); South Pacific at Carnegie Hall (2005); Lucky Duck (Old Globe Theater, 2004) and Can-Can for Encores! (Off-Broadway, 2004). His other performing credits include Billion Dollar Baby (Off-Off-Broadway), for a Musicals in Mufti concert (1998) and Bells Are Ringing at the Goodspeed Opera House (1990).[4] He also choreographed Bye Bye Birdie (2002) for City Center Encores!; Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way at Radio City Music Hall; and Candide for the New York Philharmonic's series of Broadway concerts.[5]

In January 2009, Nicholaw was both director and choreographer of the Los Angeles debut of Minsky's, a musical based on the 1968 film The Night They Raided Minsky's, at the Ahmanson Theatre.[6][7]

Nicholaw directed and choreographed a new musical, Robin and the 7 Hoods, based on the 1960s Rat Pack film. The musical features songs by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, and with a book by Rupert Holmes (replacing Peter Ackerman). The show played at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California, from July 30, 2010 through August, with a cast that featured Will Chase and Amy Spanger.[8][9]

He is the director and choreographer for the musical Elf the Musical, which officially opened at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on November 10, 2010 and closed on January 2, 2011.[10][11] He directed and choreographed the stage musical Aladdin which ran at the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, Washington, July 7–31, 2011. It uses songs from the 1992 film Aladdin, with a new book by Chad Beguelin and new lyrics by Beguelin and Alan Menken. The show premiered on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theater on March 20, 2014.[12][13]

In 2013-14, Nicholaw joined a very select group of musical theatre choreographers (Joe Layton being the only other, known choreographer with Broadway and West End credits), hired to work on Olympic Opening ceremonies. Nicholaw was contracted by the Sochi 2014 Olympic Organizing Committee for its 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony. For that ceremony, Nicholaw choreographed primarily the Peter the Great's Cadets sequence--when 200 cadets march/danced into a map of St. Petersburg, which then morphed into Natasha's First Ball (the "War and Peace" ball sequence).

Nicholaw is the director and choreographer of a new musical on Broadway, Something Rotten!, which opened in previews at the St. James Theatre on March 23, 2015, with an official opening on April 22.[14]

Nicholaw will direct Animal House: The Musical, which was to have featured an original score by multi-platinum selling band Barenaked Ladies (“One Week,” “Pinch Me”), but is now being composed by David Yazbek. Michael Mitnick will write the libretto for the stage production.[15] [16]

He will also direct and choreograph the West End musical Dreamgirls which begins 19 November 2016 at the Savoy Theatre.[17]


  1. 1 2 "List of award nominations for Casey Nicholaw", accessed October 18, 2015
  2. Drake, David. "Casey Nicholaw, Fresh Face Interview", Buzz, May 20, 2005
  3. Jones, Kenneth. "Broadway's To Be or Not to Be Will Now Begin Later", Playbill, September 2, 2008
  4. 1 2 Casey Nicholaw profile at Broadway World
  5. Playbill biography for Nicholaw Archived June 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. Jones, Kenneth. "Minsky's, Burlesque-Set Musical by Strouse, Birkenhead and Martin, Opens in L.A." Archived February 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.,, February 9, 2009
  7. Minsky's production information at the Ahmanson Theatre
  8. "Old Globe listing" Archived June 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., retrieved June 13, 2010
  9. Stevens, Rob. '"Review: Robin and the 7 Hoods". TheaterMania, August 2, 2010
  10. Hetrick, Adam."Elf: The Musical Unwraps Broadway Christmas Bow Nov. 2 at the Hirschfeld"., November 2, 2010
  11. Gans, Andrew. "Nicholaw to Direct Elf—The Musical on Broadway at the Hirschfeld" Archived June 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.., June 11, 2010
  12. Gioia, Michael. "Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed Will Co-Star in Disney's 'Aladdin'; Complete Cast Announced" Archived February 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., September 16, 2013
  13. "Theater. 'Aladdin' tweaks the Disney formula with breezy insouciance" The New York Times, March 21, 2014
  14. Hetrick, Adam. " 'Something Rotten!' Puts a Shakespearean Twist On Broadway Musical Comedy, Starting Tonight", March 23, 2015
  16. "David Yazbek Replaces Barenaked Ladies as Songwriter of Animal House Musical"
  17. Porteous, Jacob. "Tickets For Dreamgirls Starring Glee's Amber Riley On General Sale Friday 1 April, 2016". London Theatre Direct.
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