Kevin Carlisle

Choreographer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his hour-and-a-half-hour interview, Kevin Carlisle talks about his early life and attending Juilliard before becoming a dancer on Broadway. He describes first dancing and later becoming a choreographer on The Garry Moore Show, and later choreographing The Dean Martin Show. He recounts his long working relationship with Barry Manilow on his Barry Manilow Specials, for which Carlisle won an Emmy Award. He details working as the choreographer for Solid Gold, and covers recruiting the Solid Gold Dancers, the style of dance on the show, and the logistics of putting the show together. Carlisle discusses working on several other variety specials working with various stars including Beatrice Arthur, Doris Day, Carol Burnett, Julie Andrews, and Pee Wee Herman. He speaks of how the industry has changed since he began working, and the then-future of choreography on television. He concludes by sharing pictures from his career. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on October 3, 2017 in Corona del Mar, CA.

“People enjoy watching dance on television because it’s something most people feel they can’t do themselves. And if it’s a specific star that they like that they see dancing impressively, they love it.”

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Kevin Carlisle on being hired to choreograph Solid Gold, and on hiring the Solid Gold Dancers
Kevin Carlisle on working with Barry Manilow on the Barry Manilow Specials, and on winning an Emmy Award
Kevin Carlisle on choreographing Doris Day's The Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff Special with Perry Como
Kevin Carlisle on choreographing The Beatrice Arthur Special
Kevin Carlisle on working with the hosts of Solid Gold and the Solid Gold Dancers
Kevin Carlisle on dancers' footwear
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on attending Juilliard and on early dancing roles on Broadway; on working on The Garry Moore Show
On his process of choreographing dances for television; on a typical work week as choreographer on The Garry Moore Show, and other variety shows; on being a choreographer on The Dean Martin Show, and on the dance styles of the 1960s
On being nominated for a Tony Award for "Hallelujah, Baby!", and on The Kevin Carlisle Three on What's it All About World; on working with Barry Manilow on the Barry Manilow Specials, and on winning an Emmy Award
On being hired to choreograph Solid Gold, and on hiring the Solid Gold Dancers; on the style of dance on Solid Gold, and on his relationships with other choreographers; on Darcel Leonard Wynne, the principle dancer on Solid Gold, and on choreographing numbers around special guests
On a typical work week on Solid Gold, and on the logistics of putting the show together; on working with Solid Gold director Louis J. Horvitz and the rest of the team on the show; on doing different routines to the same songs week after week, and on working with different styles of music
On working with the hosts of Solid Gold and the Solid Gold Dancers; on the legacy of Solid Gold

Chapter 2

On becoming a director, and on how being a choreographer helped him; on directing the fitness video Do it Debbie's Way with Debbie Reynolds, and on dealing with injuries in his career; on choreographing various specials for Doris Day, Beatrice Arthur, and Pee Wee Herman
On various people he worked with in his career; on traveling internationally for work; on how the industry has changed since he started, and on the then-future of choreography on television
On what he enjoys about choreography, and on what audiences like about dancing on television; on dancers' footwear; on career achievements, regrets, and then-current activities

Chapter 3

On b-roll photos from is career- at work; on the set of Solid Gold; with President Lyndon B. Johnson; on stage in the air; two photos of him leaping on stage; with Bill Cosby on the set of Cos; with a group who worked on a show with him; receiving an Emmy Award; dancing with Lois Grandi; with Barry Manilow taping his third special; with Dom DeLuise; in an off-off Broadway show; drinking coffee; leaping in the air in the Broadway show "Redhead"; dancing on The Garry Moore Show; Andy Gibb and the Solid Gold dancers; with Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.; with Pee Wee Herman; two photos on the set of The Mother Daughter Pageant; with Lois Grandi; with Dick Van Patten and Debbie Reynolds; with Melissa Manchester; with some showgirls on a Diet Coke commercial; picture he took of Mae West; a pair of shoes worn by Barry Manilow on stage
Shows

Barry Manilow Specials

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Kevin Carlisle on working with Barry Manilow on the Barry Manilow Specials, and on winning an Emmy Award

Beatrice Arthur Special, The

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Kevin Carlisle on choreographing The Beatrice Arthur Special

Dean Martin Show, The

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Kevin Carlisle on being a choreographer on The Dean Martin Show, and on the dance styles of the 1960s

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Kevin Carlisle on winning an Emmy Award for his work on the Barry Manilow Specials

Garry Moore Show, The

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Kevin Carlisle on dancing on The Garry Moore Show, and how dancing on television was different from dancing on the stage
Kevin Carlisle on becoming a choreographer on The Garry Moore Show
Kevin Carlisle on a typical work week as choreographer on The Garry Moore Show, and on picking dancers
Kevin Carlisle on working with the guest stars of The Garry Moore Show, and on leaving the show

Julie Andrews Specials

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Kevin Carlisle on choreographing Julie & Carol: Together Again with Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett

Pee-Wee's Playhouse

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Kevin Carlisle on choreographing Christmas at Pee Wee's Playhouse

Solid Gold

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Kevin Carlisle on being hired to choreograph Solid Gold, and on hiring the Solid Gold Dancers
Kevin Carlisle on the style of dance on Solid Gold, and on his relationships with other choreographers
Kevin Carlisle on Darcel Leonard Wynne, the principle dancer on Solid Gold, and on choreographing numbers around special guests
Kevin Carlisle on a typical work week on Solid Gold, and on the logistics of putting the show together
Kevin Carlisle on working with Solid Gold director Louis J. Horvitz and the rest of the team on the show
Kevin Carlisle on doing different routines to the same songs week after week on Solid Gold, and on working with different styles of music
Kevin Carlisle on working with the hosts of Solid Gold and the Solid Gold Dancers
Kevin Carlisle on the legacy of Solid Gold
Kevin Carlisle on a photo from the production of the original special that led to the series of Solid Gold

What's It All About World

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Kevin Carlisle on being nominated for a Tony Award for "Hallelujah, Baby!", and on The Kevin Carlisle Three on What's it All About World
Topics

Emmy Awards

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Kevin Carlisle on winning an Emmy Award for his work on the Barry Manilow Specials

Television Industry

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Kevin Carlisle on how the industry has changed since he started, and on the then-future of choreography on television
Professions

Dancer/Choreographer

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Kevin Carlisle on his process of choreographing dances for television
Kevin Carlisle on what he liked about choreographing variety specials
Kevin Carlisle on traveling internationally to work
Kevin Carlisle on what he enjoys about choreography, and on what audiences like about dancing on television
Kevin Carlisle on dancers' footwear
Kevin Carlisle on advice to an aspiring choreographer

Directors

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Kevin Carlisle on becoming a director, and on how being a choreographer helped him

Performers

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Kevin Carlisle on his process of choreographing dances for television
Kevin Carlisle on what he liked about choreographing variety specials
Kevin Carlisle on traveling internationally for work
Kevin Carlisle on what he enjoys about choreography, and on what audiences like about dancing on television
Kevin Carlisle on dancers' footwear
Kevin Carlisle on advice to an aspiring choreographer
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Kevin Carlisle on working on The Garry Moore Show
Kevin Carlisle on being a choreographer on The Dean Martin Show, and on the dance styles of the 1960s
Kevin Carlisle on working with Barry Manilow on the Barry Manilow Specials
Kevin Carlisle on choreographing Solid Gold
Kevin Carlisle on choreographing various celebrity specials
People

Julie Andrews

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Kevin Carlisle on choreographing Julie & Carol: Together Again with Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett

Beatrice Arthur

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Kevin Carlisle on choreographing The Beatrice Arthur Special

Carol Burnett

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Kevin Carlisle on choreographing Julie & Carol: Together Again with Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett

Cher

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Kevin Carlisle on working with Cher

Sandy Duncan

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Kevin Carlisle on directing and being featured in The 5 Minute Workout with Sandy Duncan

Judy Garland

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Kevin Carlisle on Judy Garland

Louis J. Horvitz

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Kevin Carlisle on working with Solid Gold director Louis J. Horvitz and the rest of the team on the show

Rock Hudson

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Kevin Carlisle on choreographing The Beatrice Arthur Special, which featured Rock Hudson

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Kevin Carlisle on a photo of him with President Lyndon B. Johnson

Gene Kelly

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Kevin Carlisle on working with Gene Kelly

Jerry Lewis

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Kevin Carlisle on working with Jerry Lewis

Liberace

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Kevin Carlisle on working with Liberace

Barry Manilow

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Kevin Carlisle on working with Barry Manilow on the Barry Manilow Specials

Dean Martin

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Kevin Carlisle on being a choreographer on The Dean Martin Show, and on the dance styles of the 1960s

Garry Moore

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Kevin Carlisle on dancing on The Garry Moore Show

Paul Reubens

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Kevin Carlisle on choreographing Christmas at Pee Wee's Playhouse

Debbie Reynolds

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Kevin Carlisle on directing the fitness video Do it Debbie's Way with Debbie Reynolds

Barbra Streisand

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Kevin Carlisle on Barbra Streisand

Elizabeth Taylor

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Kevin Carlisle on working with Elizabeth Taylor

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