LAINIE SAKAKURA is a NYC based writer, director, choreographer, educator.
Most recently directed the new musical, Corner of Bitter and Sweet adapted from New York Times Best Seller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Book by Lainie Sakakura, Music and Lyrics by Paul Fujimoto. NYC 29 hour Equity reading co-produced by the 5th Avenue Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company. Writers, Sakakura and Fujimoto attended the 2020 Goodspeed Musicals Johnny Mercer Writers Grove following the reading.
Award winning choreographer - 2015 Joe A. Callaway Award Outstanding Choreography for the Off Broadway show, Red Eye of Love in collaboration with Alex Sanchez. 2002 Joseph Jefferson Award Best Choreography for Damn Yankees, Marriott Theatre in collaboration with David H. Bell. 2003 Joseph Jefferson Nomination Best Choreography for Hot Mikado. Currently a Choreography Advisory Board Member for New York Theatre Barn.
Fosse Reconstruction - worked on approximately 70 Bob Fosse numbers from 1994-1999 with Gwen Verdon and Chet Walker. The original onstage Dance Captain starting with the 1996 workshop through Broadway. Dance Reconstruction and onstage Dance Captain for Ann Reinking in the 1999 Tony Award Winning Best Musical. Other Fosse reconstruction work includes Big Spender starring Chita Rivera and Ann Reinking for Cy Coleman's Memorial, Majestic Theatre (ASCAP). Mexican Shuffle, Gwen Verdon memorial tribute at BCEFA Gypsy of the Year, Palace Theatre. Currently, Verdon Fosse Legacy instructor.
Directing style - infused with her deep understanding of storytelling through movement, born from her intensive acting training combined with her classical ballet background. Over her 32 year professional career, she has worked on dozens of original musicals regionally and on Broadway as a performer, associate, choreographer, director, and/or writer. Ms Sakakura has directed new works in NYC at Cherry Lane Theatre, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Neighborhood Playhouse, Summer Stage in Central Park, Theatre 71, The Duplex, and Don't Tell Mama. Creating new work is her greatest passion.
Choreography style - real people moving to music. Dance is a scene without text. As Christopher Arnott from the Hartford Courant wrote, "...choreographer Lainie Sakakura shines with ingenuity and progressive spirit. There’s a lot of casual, natural movement in the show that slyly grows into full ensemble dances." She fully utilizes the power and impact of storytelling through movement without overchoreographing. Steps means nothing without intention. If you don't know why you're dancing, then you shouldn't be doing it.
Ex-Broadway performer - Ms Sakakura was offered original casts of 8 Broadway shows, but ultimately accepted 6 including: Fosse (dance reconstruction and onstage dance captain); Chita Rivera The Dancer's Life; Flower Drum Song (2002 revival); Tommy Tune's The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public; The King And I (1996 Lou Diamond Phillips, Donna Murphy revival), The King And I (2015 Ken Watanabe, Kelli O-Hare revival). Recorded on 4 Broadway cast albums including 2015 Grammy Nominated, The King And I.
Diversity and inclusion - Co-founder/Co-chair Rockettes of Color Alumnae. In 1994 Sakakura became the second AAPI RCMH Rockette hired following Setsuko Maruhashi, who was not only the first AAPI Rockette but also the first Rockette of color. Previously 7-year Co-chair of PS 87 Culture & Community Committee, producing and directing almost 30 multicultural performance events for a NYC public school of nearly a thousand students.
Educator - 32 years teaching experience. Guest teacher and/or choreographer in countless programs across the country including: New York University Tisch - New Studio on Broadway (Adjunct Professor), Carnegie Mellon, Chapman Univ, Sam Houston State, American Ballet Theatre, Jacob's Pillow, Joffrey Ballet, LINES Dance Center, Pace University (Adjunct Professor). Private program, Sakachez