Skip to main content

USD Theatre Welcomes Back Broadway Choreographer Chet Walker

Photo of Chet Walker. The USD Department of Theatre’s 2018 Spring musical “Cabaret” will be choreographed by the veteran Broadway director and choreographer Chet Walker.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre’s 2018 Spring musical “Cabaret” will be choreographed by the veteran Broadway director and choreographer Chet Walker.

“We are excited and blessed to have an artist the caliber of Chet Walker working with our students. Walker’s creative scholarship is inspiring, relevant, and exciting. He will provide our students with unique, powerful, and significant learning opportunities while he is in residence,” said associate professor of theatre Patricia Downey, who was instrumental in bringing the acclaimed artist back to USD after his first stint as a guest artist in 2014.

Walker’s residency spans 10 days in the Department of Theatre, during which time he will choreograph eight dances for “Cabaret,” conduct dance workshops, and lecture about legendary jazz choreographer and performer Jack Cole.

“Cabaret” director Joe Stollenwerk said he is thrilled at the prospect of working with the renowned artist.

“I saw his choreography in “Pippin” three years ago and was blown away. I think it really speaks to the quality of the theatre program that we have such a talented and in-demand artist returning to work with our students again,” Stollenwerk said.

Walker has garnered acclaim onstage in theaters across the globe, as well as on screen and other media.

Walker originally conceived the show “Fosse,” which won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Musical. In 2013 he received the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Astaire Award, and a Tony nomination for his choreography of Stephen Schwartz’s “Pippin.” The show garnered 10 Tony nominations, winning four, including Best Revival of a musical.

His work as a director and choreographer has taken him around the world including London, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Madrid, Japan, Argentina, Israel, Brazil, Serbia and many other locales. Some of his recent shows include “A Chorus Line,” “Follies,” “Working,” “Funny Girl,” “The Producers,” and many other musicals, dance operas, and ballets. Walker’s newest project is the musical “Heat Wave,” which he will direct and choreograph for Broadway.


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News