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Interview with Linda Haberman

Interview with Linda Haberman, 2018
Haberman, Linda

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StatusFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
AudioSupervised use *MGZMT 3-3479Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance


Additional Authors
Winkler, Kevin
Online resource (2 streaming files (approximately 3 hr. and 10 min.)) : digital +
  • Streaming file 1, November 14, 2018 (approximately one hour and 37 minutes). Linda Haberman speaks with Kevin Winkler about her early dance training in Albuquerque, New Mexico; her influential teachers including Suzanne Johnston and Harold Christensen; moving to New York after her junior year of high school to study at the School of American Ballet; her two years as an apprentice at the Harkness Ballet where she met the choreographer Ronn Forella; taking class with Forella at his studio after the Harkness Ballet folded; performing with his second company, Second Century Dancers, and as part of a nightclub act, Clown; her successful audition for the workshop production of Bob Fosse's Dancin' ; "Tea for Two" as an audition piece; the transfer of the workshop production of Dancin' to the commercial stage, initially in Boston (Mass.); working with Fosse; the term "Fosse dancer"; an anecdote about substituting for Annie [Ann] Reinking in "Trumpet Solo"; her various jobs as a dancer after she left Dancin'; performing in a revival of Roland Petit's Can-Can; her starting during this period to assist choreographers; Scott Salmon's hiring her for La Cage aux Folles; the audition process; Arthur Laurents, including his sending her to Japan to work on the Japanese production of the show and how this led to further work in Japan; being engaged by Laurents to do the musical staging for the off-Broadway show Birds of Paradise; Laurents' treating her as a collaborator; working in Japan including her initial difficulty with cultural differences; working with the Takarazuka companies [Takarazuka Kagekidan]; performing in American Dance Machine in Japan; [Christopher] Chris Chadman and her experience working as his assistant on Big Deal, in particular Fosse's lack of clarity in communicating what he wanted; other projects on which she worked with Chris Chadman and how much he taught her; working with the dancers in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls; the AIDS crisis including the initial period of secrecy and denial; Arthur Laurents' memorable eulogy for a production member of La Cage aux Folles; her pre-production work for Jerome Robbins' Broadway including a rehearsal anecdote about Jerome Robbins and herself; the qualities of a good assistant; her transition from dancer to choreographer including her work with Martin Charnin; La Cage aux Folles as the end of her career as a dancer; her influences including Chadman and Fosse; the making of the video version of Pippin' including Bob Fosse's dissatisfaction with the final product.
  • Streaming file 2, November 15, 2018 (approximately one hour and 33 minutes). Linda Haberman speaks with Kevin Winkler about having worked together in a production of Carnival choreographed by Chris Chadman; they reminisce about Chadman's working methods including how he managed auditions; Haberman speaks about working with Scott Salmon on a new Easter show for Radio City [Music Hall] and following that, the Christmas Spectacular; working with Salmon on and off on Radio City productions until his untimely death in 1993; directing the first out-of-town Radio City show, in Branson, Missouri; the show's success, which led to her directing additional out-of-town productions; the change in ownership of Radio City, to Madison Square Garden [Company], and her being engaged to create a new, touring production for the Rockettes; how working for Bob Fosse helped her in her work for the Rockettes; how working on the out-of-town productions prepared her for the larger-scale productions in New York; the limitations within she had to work; some of the new acts she created, including a tap dancing number set to the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas"; her working methods including her use of graph paper to chart the dancers' formations; the staffing of the production crew; her first year, in 2006, as director of the show in New York; some of the changes she made and new acts she created including her use of the new, giant video screen on the back wall of the stage; her personal life during that year: her marriage and serious illness; creating a new Christmas Spectacular to mark the 75th anniversary of the show; some of the acts she created including a virtual bus tour of New York City, which is still in the show; the Rockettes as dancers, including her emphasis on dance ability rather than specific physical types; her pride in having raised the morale and technical skills of the dancers to a high level during her years at Radio City; the challenges of choreographing for a large group and her use of formations in varying sizes; her choreography for an act based on a video game, in which the Rockettes battle the Humbugs; her goal of preserving the essence of the Rockettes as a precision dance company while keeping their acts fresh; the audition process for the Rockettes including the qualities she looks for; the system for evaluating incumbent dancers; her reliance on her assistants at Radio City; the role of the singing and dancing ensemble; Hearts and Lights, her last show at Radio City; the five-year process of developing the show; Doug Wright's book for the show; the use of technology and some of the scenarios in the show; the decision by the Radio City management to cancel the show just before the previews; the reasons she was proud of the show, in particular of the technical skill displayed by the Rockettes.
Alternative Title
  • Dance Oral History Project.
  • Dance Audio Archive.
  • Sound recordings.
  • Oral histories.
  • Interview with Linda Haberman conducted by Kevin Winkler on November 14 and 15, 2018, in New York City (N.Y.), for the Dance Oral History Project of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
  • For transcript see *MGZMT 3-3479
  • As of March 2023, the audio recording of this interview can be made available at the Library for the Performing Arts by advanced request to the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The audio files for this interview are undergoing processing and eventually will be available for streaming on site only at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
  • Sound quality is excellent.
  • Title supplied by cataloger.
Access (note)
  • Transcripts may not be photographed or reproduced without permission.
  • Available onsite only at The Library for the Performing Arts, New York (N.Y.)
Call Number
*MGZMT 3-3479
Haberman, Linda, Interviewee.
Interview with Linda Haberman, 2018
Playing Time
Type of Content
spoken word
Type of Medium
Type of Carrier
online resource
Digital File Characteristics
audio file
Restricted Access
Transcripts may not be photographed or reproduced without permission.
Available onsite only at The Library for the Performing Arts, New York (N.Y.)
Recorded for for the Dance Oral History Project of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 2018, November 14 and 15 New York (N.Y.).
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Added Author
Winkler, Kevin, interviewer.
Research Call Number
*MGZMT 3-3479
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