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KENNY ORTEGA

DIRECTOR

PRODUCER

SPEAKER

MSA |

Bio

Kenny Ortega began his career as an Actor at the age of 13 performing in San Francisco Bay Area theater. At 18, Kenny landed a leading role in the original San Francisco and National Touring Productions of the Musical, HAIR. In the 1980s, he became known for his stage direction and choreography of the A&M pioneer recording artists, The TUBES. It was a TUBES performance in Los Angeles that caught the attention of Cher who asked Ortega to choreograph her television special. Soon, Ortega became one of the most sought after Choreographers for the industry’s biggest musical artists, including Madonna, Fleetwod Mac, Kiss, Gloria Estefan, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Cher, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, and The Pointer Sisters, to name a few. When Ortega made the transition from stage choreography to film choreography, he had the honor and privilege of working with the legendary Gene Kelly on the feature film XANADU and then again on Francis Ford Coppola’s , ONE FROM THE HEART. Kelly soon became Ortega’s mentor and taught him his technique of designing choreography for the camera.

Ortega’s other film choreography includes DIRTY DANCING, ST. ELMO’S FIRE, and following his work with John Hugh’s on PRETTY IN PINK, John made him the choreographer and 2nd Unit Director of the classic parade sequence for FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF. This began his directing career. In the 1990’s, Ortega directed the musical film NEWSIES, starring Christian Bale, Robert Duvall, and Ann Margaret and feature film HOCUS POCUS, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, for the Walt Disney Company. Ortega directed many television series during the following three decades including CHICAGO HOPE, ALLY MCBEAL, and THE GILMORE GIRLS. He is also co choreographed and directed the 1996 Atlanta OLYMPIC Opening and Closing Ceremonies and both choreographed and co directed the 2002 Salt Lake Winter OLYMPIC Ceremonies and Live Broadcast.

In 2006, he directed Disney Channel’s “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL” and “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2”. “High School Musical 2” drew over 17 million viewers when it premiered making it the most watched program in cable telecast history (and still is). Together “High School Musical” 1 and 2 have been seen by over 250 million people worldwide and both movies have broken numerous sales records for their soundtracks and DVDs. Ortega received a DGA and another Emmy win for choreography. He is also the supervising producer for both of the movie’s multi-platinum soundtracks. “High School Musical” also spawned a 3-company international touring ice show of which Kenny was supervising Producer, as well as the Director of the National Arena Tour and International Stadium Tours.

In Fall of 2007, Kenny directed the fastest-selling concert tour in history, the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus “Best of Both Worlds Tour” featuring The Jonas Bros. In 2008 Kenny directed and executive produced HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR (HSM 3) for Walt Disney Motion Pictures. HSM 3 was the biggest theatrical box office opening for a musical in history. Kenny was Michael Jackson’s director and creative partner for “Dangerous”, “HIStory”, and “This Is It” World Tours. Following Jackson’s untimely passing, Kenny directed the documentary “Michael Jackson’s This Is It”. In 2014, Kenny directed and produced along with his longtime friend and associate Emilio Estefan, A CHANGE OF HEART, an independent feature shot on location in South Florida. The film stars Jim Belushi, Virginia Madsen, Kathy Najimy, William Levy, Gloria Estefan and is awaiting release. Ortega executive produced, directed, and co choreographed the Internationally Successful Action Adventure Musical Disney’s DESCENDANTS for which he was honored with his second DGA Award.

Kenny’s reimagining of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, a Fox Network Movie Event, will be premiering Halloween 2016. It stars Laverne Cox (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK) in the role of Dr. Frank N. Furter, originated by Tim Curry. Tim returns to this production playing the role of the Criminologist. Adam Lambert and Tony Award Winning Actress, Annaleigh Ashford are also featured. Currently, Kenny is excited to be filming DESCENDANTS 2 for The Disney Channel.

Among Ortega’s Awards are, three Emmys Awards, two DGA Awards from the Director’s Guild of America, a Fred & Adele Astaire’s annual Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award, a Bob Fosse Award, an American Choreography Lifetime Achievement Award, an MTV Video Music Award, American Music Award, ALMA Award, Nosotros Golden Eagle Award, Imagen Creative Achievement Award and an NAACP Award.

Resume

Television
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Director/Choreographer
FOX
Descendants II
Director/Choreographer
Disney Channel
Descendants
Director/Choreographer
Disney Channel
So You Think You Can Dance
FOX (Judge)
FOX
Super Bowl XXX
Choreographer
World Cup Opening
Choreographer
High School Musical I and II
Director/Choreographer
Disney Channel
Cheetah Girls II
Director/Choreographer
Disney Channel
2002 Salt Lake City Olympics / Opening and Closing Ceremonies
Choreographer
1996 Atlanta Olympics / Opening and Closing Ceremonies
Choreographer
Chicago Hope
Choreographer
CBS (Multiple Episodes)
BRIT Awards w/ Michael Jackson
Producer/Staging
2005 Super Bowl Pre & Half-Time Show w/ Paul McCartney
Choreographer
39 Productions, Inc.
2004 Super Bowl Pre & Half-Time Show w/ Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake
Prod./Choreographer
Don Mischer Productions
ABC 50th Anniversary
Choreographer/Musical Segment
Prod. Don Mischer Productions
Michael Jackson "Dangerous"
Conceived & Dir. Stage Prod.
HBO
Gloria Estefan
Director/Choreographer/Stage Producer
HBO
Cher "Heart of Stone"
Director/Choreographer/Stage Producer
HBO
Smokey Robinson
Choreographer
NBC
Mickey's 60th Birthday
Choreographer
Disney
Totally Minnie
Choreographer
Disney
1986-89 American Music Awards w/ Cher
Choreographer
Dick Clark Productions / ABC
Film
Descendants 3
Director
Disney Channel
Michael Jackson: This Is It
Director
Colombia Pictures
High School Musical 3
Director/Choreographer
Disney
Hocus Pocus
Director/Choreographer
Disney
Newsies
Director/Choreographer
Disney
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Choreographer
Paramount
Quest For Camelot
Choreographer
Warner Brothers
To Wong Foo?
Choreographer
Universal Pictures
Dirty Dancing
Choreographer
Vestron
Road House
Choreographer
20th Century Fox
Shag
Choreographer
Hemdale
The Great Outdoors
Choreographer
Universal/MCA
The Lost Boys
Choreographer
Warner Brothers
Pretty In Pink
Choreographer
Paramount
Salsa
Choreographer
Cannon
God Created Woman
Choreographer
Vestron
One From The Heart
Choreographer
Zoetrope
St. Elmo's Fire
Choreographer
Paramount
Xanadu
Choreographer
Universal Pictures
The Rose
Choreographer
20th Century Fox
Concerts/Tours/Events
Lake of Dreams
Director
Wynn-Las Vegas
The Rolling Stones "50 & Counting" Tour
Director of Choreography/Consultant
AEG Live
Macau Fountains "Wet"
Choreographer
Wynn Las Vegas
Encore Hotel Opening
Creative Director
Boston
High School Musical Tour Fall 2006
Director/Choreographer
Buena Vista Music Group
Wynn Hotel and Resort
Prod./Director
Synn Design & Development
Gloria Estefan at Caesar's Palace
Director/Choreographer
Estefan Enterprises
Sirens of TI
Prod./Director
Treasure Island
Siegfried & Roy / Closing Number
Choreographer
Feld Entertainment
High School Musical On Ice
Producer
Feld Entertainment
Bellagio Opening
Choreographer
Bellagio Hotel & Casino / Las Vegas
Michael Jackson "HIStory" Tour 1996-97
Conceived/Director/Choreographer
Michael Jackson "Dangerous" Tour 1992-93
Conceived/Director/Choreographer
Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus "Best of Both Worlds" Tour
Director
Barbra Streisand "Timeless"
Choreographer
1999 Las Vegas / 2000 Australia
Shakira 1998 Tour
Choreographer
Lorrie Morgan 1994-98 US Tours
Director/Choreographer
Mindy McCrady 1997 US Tour
Choreographer
Pointer Sisters 1986-89 Tours
Choreographer
Chaka Khan 1988-89 World tour
Director/Choreographer
Diana Ross 1988 Tour
Choreographer
Bette Midler Special Material
Choreographer
Oingo Boingo 1986-87 US Tours
Director/Choreographer
Olivia Newton-John 1981 World Tour
Director/Choreographer
KISS 1980 World Tour
Director/Choreographer
The Tubes 1975-85 World Tours
Director/Choreographer
Music Videos
Miami Sound Machine "Rhythm is Gonna Get You"
Director/Choreographer
Gloria Estefan "Coming Out Of The Dark"
Director/Choreographer
Gloria Estefan "Seal Our Fate"
Director/Choreographer
Selena "A Boy Like That"
Director/Choreographer
Selena "Techno Cumbia
Choreographer
Cher "I Found Someone" / "We All Sleep Alone"
Director/Choreographer
Cher "Heart of Stone" / "Turn Back Time"
Choreographer
Tubes "She's A Beauty"
Director/Choreographer
Tubes "Completion Backwards Principal"
Choreographer
Pointer Sisters "I'm So Excited" / "Back in My Arms" / "I'm So Excited"
Director/Choreographer
Gladys Knight & The Pips "Save the Overtime"
Director/Choreographer
Chayanne "Este Rytmo Baila Asi"
Director/Choreographer
Denise Williams "Let's Hear It For The Boys"
Director/Choreographer
Madonna "Material Girl"
Choreographer
Diana Ross "Experience"
Choreographer
Kim Carnes "One Divided Heart"
Choreographer
Rod Stewart "Young Turks, Love Touch"
Choreographer
Paul Jabara "Ochos Rios"
Choreographer
Neil Diamond "Headed for the Future"
Choreographer
Elton John "Word in Spanish"
Choreographer
Billy Joel "Allentown"
Choreographer
Fleetwood Mac "Gypsy"
Choreographer
Toto "Rosanna"
Choreographer
Award Shows
2000 Academy Awards
Choreographer
ABC

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