Legendary musical theatre choreographer Gillian Lynne dies aged 92

Gillian Lynne

One of musical theatres leading choreographers Gillian Lynne has dies aged 92.

Just two weeks after a celebration at the theatre which has now been renamed in her honour – the first theatre to be named after a woman in London – she passed away at Princess Grace Hospital in London on Sunday evening, her husband Peter Land announced on Twitter.

Her biggest hits in theatre came in collaborations with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, in the West End productions of his musicals Cats and The Phantom of the Opera.

On Twitter, Webber said: ‘Farewell dearest Gillie, three generations of the British musical owe so much to you. With love, Andrew’.

Lynne’s career began when she was asked to join Sadler’s Wells during World War Two, and this lead to her performing her first major solo in Sleeping Beauty at the opening of the Royal Opera House on her 20th birthday.

She left Sadler’s in 1951 and began starring in productions across the West End before she began directing movement and choreographed at the Royal Shakespeare Company, English National Opera and Royal Opera House.

Lynne is probably best-known for her work on three Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals: the balletic feline frenzy Cats, gothic romance The Phantom of the Opera, and West End classic Aspects of Love. She worked on more than 60 shows both sides of the Atlantic, as well as a number of films and television specials.

In 2013, she was awarded a Special Award at the Olivier Awards recognising her contribution to the theatre scene in London, and in 2014 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2014 New Year Honours list.

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