The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

Celebrating the visionaries who created New York's vibrant Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

Patricia Birch

Patricia Birch

Director, Choreographer

Interviewed on: Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Location: Primary Stages Offices
Interviewed by: Casey Childs
Interview #77
"I like doing things that have a fluidity to them… I’m a little too quirky for straight-ahead Broadway stuff."
Patricia Birch Highlights
Video Length: 5 Minutes, 48 Seconds
Patricia Birch Interview Part One
Video Length: 1 Hour, 41 Minutes
Patricia Birch Interview Part Two
Video Length: 51 Minutes, 52 Seconds

Patricia Birch is a director and choreographer who has worked extensively both on and Off-Broadway, as well as in film and TV. Her first experience Off-Broadway was as the choreographer of YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN (1967) at Theatre 80 St. Marks, which subsequently transferred to Broadway. Her other Off-Broadway choreography credits include: UP EDEN (1968), FIREWORKS (1969), THE ME NOBODY KNOWS (1970), F. JASMINE ADDAMS (1971), THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND and AFTER MAGRITTE (1972), DIAMOND STUDS (1975), HAPPY END (1977), REALLY ROSIE (1980), AMERICAN PASSION (1983), SMILING THROUGH (1994), and EXACTLY LIKE YOU (1999). Birch has also directed musicals Off-Broadway, including: REALLY ROSIE (1980), AMERICAN PASSION (1983), and WHAT ABOUT LUV? (1991). Her work has been seen at the Jan Hus Playhouse, The Orpheum Theatre, Circle in the Square Downtown, The York Theater, Primary Stages, and many other Off-Broadway venues.

Birch has also seen a lot of success in her Broadway career, with some of her most notable choreography credits being Grease (1972), A Little Night Music (1973), Candide (1974 and 1997), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Parade (1998). She is a two-time Drama Desk Award winner and five-time Tony nominee, and she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2009. Additionally, Birch has choreographed for film and TV, including the film Grease (1978) and the TV specials “Natalie Cole: Unforgettable” and “Celebrating Gershwin,” for which she won Emmy Awards. She spent six years staging numbers for “Saturday Night Live” and has also taught dance at the Juilliard School’s pre-college division. She also performed as a soloist with Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille.

Mentioned in Interview

Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, Hal Prince, Roger Stevens, Steve Martin, Pina Bausch, Robert Altman, The Orpheum, Lincoln Center Theater, Circle in the Square, Judson Poets Theater, Jan Hus Playhouse, Westside Arts, The York Theater, The Joyce, Primary Stages, YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, THE ME NOBODY KNOWS, EXACTLY LIKE YOU, I SENT A LETTER TO MY LOVE, REALLY ROSIE, WHAT ABOUT LOVE, HAPPY END, F. JASMINE ADDAMS, THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND, AFTER MAGRITTE, DIAMOND STUDS, ANERICAN PASSION, SMILING THROUGH, UP EDEN, FIREWORKS