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Born in Buffalo, New York, to working-class parents, Michael Bennett began dance lessons at age three. He dropped out of high school to join the U.S. and European tours of West Side Story. Bennett went on to dance in the chorus of a number of Broadway shows, and made the jump to choreographer with A Joyful Noise (1966), which closed after twelve performances. His first hit as choreographer came with Promises, Promises (1968), and he went on to achieve even greater success with the Stephen Sondheim shows Company (1970), and Follies (1971), which won him two Tony Awards. Bennett’s biggest Broadway hit was his semi-autobiographical show A Chorus Line (1975). A “backstage” musical, A Chorus Line showed the life stories behind a group of dancers auditioning for a Broadway musical. The show was nominated for twelve Tony Awards and won nine. With 6,137 performances, A Chorus Line was, at the time, Broadway’s longest running show. Bennett has won many Tony Awards for choreography, direction, and best musical. He died of AIDS in 1987 at the age of 44.