Adam Shankman

Adam Shankman

Birth name: Adam Michael Shankman
Born: November 27, 1964
Age: 59
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
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Adam Michael Shankman (born November 27, 1964) is an American film director, producer, dancer, author, actor, and choreographer. He was a judge on the television program So You Think You Can Dance on seasons 3-10. He began his professional career in musical theater, and was a dancer in music videos for Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. Shankman has choreographed dozens of films and has also directed several feature-length box office hits, including A Walk to Remember, Bringing Down the House, The Pacifier and the 2007 remake of Hairspray.

His company, Offspring Entertainment, (which he co-owns with his sister) produces film and television for various studios and networks. Shankman is also currently co-writing Young Adult novels for Simon & Schuster imprint, Atheneum Books for Young Readers. The books, co-written with author Laura Lee Sullivan, follow the story of rags to riches Lucille O' Malley, as she becomes Hollywood's "it girl" navigating a murder mystery and meeting her match Frederick van der Waals.


Early life

Shankman was born in Los Angeles, to an upper-middle-class family. He is the son of Phyllis (née Perper), a licensed practitioner in Gestalt therapy, and Ned Shankman, an entertainment lawyer and manager for such acts as Barry White, X (American band) and Sister Sledge. His sister Jennifer, was born when Shankman was four years-old. He attended Palisades High School before attending Juilliard School.

Early career

After graduating from Palisades High School Shankman was a performing intern and junior company member of the prestigious Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis. Having been accepted for both dancing and acting at Juilliard, he chose dance as his major without having any previous formal training. He dropped out of college to dance in musical theater and at nineteen he was cast in his first professional show, West Side Story, at the esteemed Michigan Opera Theater.

Shankman moved back to Los Angeles and started dancing in music videos. He was a dancer in Janet Jackson's "Alright" video, as well as in a MC Skat Kat video with Paula Abdul. Shankman broke into professional choreography in a 1989 music video for rapper MC Shan with director Julien Temple. When the hired choreographer fell through, Shankman lied and said that he had done choreography for Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul. He was hired on the spot without his story being verified. As a choreographer, he worked with acts Tony! Toni! Toné!, The Time, Whitney Houston, Aaron Neville and more. In 1996 he won a Bob Fosse Award for Best Choreography In a Commercial. On Television, he was a go-to choreographer on Friends and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Shankman served as a choreographer and dance consultant on dozens of movies including Addams Family Values, Catch Me If You Can, George of the Jungle and Boogie Nights.

In 1998 Shankman wrote and directed a short film called Cosmo's Tale, which was a non-dialogue short film that appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. Following the short, his sister, Jennifer Gibgot, asked him to read a script that she had already set up with Fine Line Features, entitled The Wedding Planner. He liked the script and this led to a meeting with execs. He was hired for the job of director ten minutes into the meeting. The movie eventually went to Columbia Pictures and was a box office success.

Directing career

Following the Wedding Planner, Shankman went on to direct seven more studio films: A Walk to Remember, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, Bringing Down the House, the 2007 award winning film Hairspray, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Bedtime Stories and the movie musical Rock of Ages (2012 film).

In addition to motion pictures, Shankman has directed commercial campaigns for Macy's and Schick, as well as primetime television pilots and shows, including various episodes of Glee (TV Series) and Modern Family. He's directed several shorts for Funny or Die, including "Prop 8, The Musical" starring Jack Black and written by composer Marc Shaiman. According to TIME Magazine, "Prop 8 — The Musical" was Marc Shaiman's attempt to pick apart the anti-gay marriage lobby's logic. Lending support to the cause were actors Jack Black, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, Craig Robinson, Neil Patrick Harris and Allison Janney. In 2012, Shankman directed a duel campaign to attract young voters for Rock the Vote and Funny or Die.

Producing career

In addition to directing, Shankman produced various studio films with his sister Jennifer Gibgot, through their company Offspring Entertainment. These films include Touchstone Pictures, Step Up (film), which helped launch the careers of Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, Premonition (2007 film), starring Sandra Bullock, Bedtime Stories (film) for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 17 Again (film), starring Zac Efron, The Last Song (film), starring Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, and Going the Distance (2010 film), starring Justin Long and Drew Barrymore. Shankman was also producer on the Step Up spinoff movies, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, Step Up Revolution and Step Up All In.

With Bill Mechanic, Shankman was one of the two producers of the 82nd Academy Awards, which took place March 7, 2010. The telecast earned a record 12 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including 2 for Shankman, for Best Choreography and Co-Producing Previously, in 2009 Shankman produced Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special, with Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe.

Offspring Entertainment, in addition to several feature films on the development slate, has a deal with Warner Bros. Television and Warner Horizon, and are currently developing television series and events for both network and cable.

Theater and Stage

In August 2014, Shankman directed and choreographed a production of Hair (musical) at the Hollywood Bowl. Zach Woodlee assisted Shankman in choreography and Lon Hoyt served as music director. The show presented an all star cast including Benjamin Walker (actor) as Berger, Kristen Bell as Sheila and Hunter Parrish as Claude. Other cast members included Sarah Hyland, Jenna Ushkowitz, Mario (American singer), Kevin Chamberlin, Beverly D'Angelo and Amber Riley. As is customary with the annual Bowl musicals, the "Hair" cast had fewer than 14 days to get the semi-staged show up and running. Shankman and his team had the task of teaching dialogue, choreography, music and lyrics for over forty numbers to a cast of thirty, in just ten days before going on to dress rehearsals. The cast and crew had only 2 dress rehearsals before going live to a crowd of 11,000 people. The show garnered positive reviews, including one from "Overall, Shankman's production of HAIR for the Hollywood Bowl is definitely a must-see event this weekend. Steeped in dazzling visuals, fun music, high-energy choreography, and a cast of talented, staggeringly gorgeous youngsters with giddiness coming out of every pore, this musical celebration of peace, love, and happiness deserves your attention."

In 2015, Warner Bros. Theater Ventures started developing a musical version of the 2009 movie 17 Again (film), which was directed by Burr Steers and produced by Shankman and Gibgot. The show has been workshopped in New York's theater district, with a run planned for the near future. The musical is being produced by Warner Bros. Theater Ventures, Mark Kaufman and Adam Shankman.

So You Think You Can Dance

Shankman was a judge and choreographer on the Fox Broadcasting reality show So You Think You Can Dance on seasons 3-10. He used the term "lyrical hip-hop" to describe the dance style associated with the choreography duo of Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo. The term is popularly credited to him as reported in the May/June 2009 issue of Dance Spirit magazine.

Charitable Work

Shankman has donated time and funds to numerous charitable and political foundations. He actively promotes charitable causes by producing live events and galas, utilizing social media, participating in PSA's, speaking engagements and making personal appearances. Some of these charities include AIDS Project Los Angeles, Mountains AIDS Foundation, Feeding America, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Point Foundation (LGBT), GO Campaign, Special Olympics and Motion Picture and Television Fund. He teaches classes and mentors students for Ghetto Film School and has appeared at events for Operation Smile. He serves on the board of The Trevor Project and co-founded The DizzyFeet Foundation with his friend Nigel Lythgoe. The Dizzyfeet Foundation was founded in 2009 to support, improve, and increase access to dance education in the United States by providing grants to after school dance and arts programs in low income areas and rewarding scholarships to talented dancers across the country. The foundation is the biggest supporter and trailblazer for National Dance Day, hosting various events every July across the United States.

Personal life

Shankman is openly gay. He officiated the wedding of actors Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, a good friend of his with whom he worked while choreographing Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He got the Buffy job based on Sarah's recommendation to the show's creator, Joss Whedon. Shankman danced on the Oscars telecast in 1990, and exactly 20 years later was producer and choreographer on the 82nd Oscars. At the 1990 Oscars, Shankman danced in the number "Under The Sea" where he met his best friend, (a dancer in the same number) director and choreographer Anne Fletcher.


Film and television

Year Film Credited as Role/Notes/References
Director Producer Choreographer Actor Other
1983 The Wind in the Willows Yes Washerwoman
The Red Shoes Yes Shoe shoppe customer
1990 Rockula Yes Driver
Midnight Cabaret Yes Waiter
1992 The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag Yes Yes Timid man
Roundhouse Yes
1993 Weekend at Bernie's II Yes
Heart and Souls Yes credited as Adam Schenkman
Addams Family Values Yes
1994 The Flintstones Yes
Milk Money Yes
Don Juan DeMarco Yes
1995 Monster Mash: The Movie Yes Wolfie
Miami Rhapsody Yes
Tank Girl Yes
Casper Yes Yes animation department; animated ghost sequences
Congo Yes
1996 Mrs. Winterbourne Yes
1997 The Relic Yes
Friends Yes "The One with All the Jealousy"
Traveller Yes
George of the Jungle Yes
Boogie Nights Yes
A Life Less Ordinary Yes
Anastasia Yes credited as Adam M. Shankman
Scream 2 Yes Yes Ghost dancer
1998 Almost Heroes Yes
Antz Yes
1999 She's All That Yes
Blast from the Past Yes
Forces of Nature Yes
The Out-of-Towners Yes
Inspector Gadget Yes Yes Physical comedy consultant
Dudley Do-Right Yes
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo Yes
2000 Isn't She Great Yes
Mission to Mars Yes credited as Adam M. Shankman
2001 The Wedding Planner Yes Yes
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Yes "Once More, with Feeling"
2002 A Walk to Remember Yes Yes Yes Executive soundtrack producer; role: uncredited medical assistant
Monk Yes "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake"
Catch Me If You Can Yes
2003 Bringing Down the House Yes Yes
Stuck on You Yes Yes Waiter
Splitsville Yes
2004 Mystery Girl Yes television film
2005 The Pacifier Yes Yes Yes uncredited driving instructor
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 Yes Yes Clam bake chef
2006 Step Up Yes Yes Yes Nightclub dancer
Worst Week of My Life Yes television series
2007 Premonition Yes
Hairspray Yes Yes Yes William Morris Talent agent; performer "Tied Up in the Knots of Sin"
2008 Step Up 2: The Streets Yes Yes
Bedtime Stories Yes Yes
2009 17 Again Yes
Zac Efron's Pool Party Yes Yes
Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special Yes Yes
2010 The 82nd Annual Academy Awards Yes Yes
The Last Song Yes
Step Up 3D Yes
Going the Distance Yes
Coming Attraction Yes
Glee Yes "The Rocky Horror Glee Show"
2011 Yes "Pot o' Gold"
Modern Family Yes "Our Children, Ourselves"
2012 Rock of Ages Yes Yes Yes Executive producer
Step Up Revolution Yes
2014 Step Up: All In Yes

Other media

  • Prop 8 - The Musical (2008) - Director/producer/choreographer (short video)

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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