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Michael Bennett (April 8, 1943 – July 2, 1987) was an American musical theater director, writer, choreographer, and dancer. He won seven Tony Awards for his choreography and direction of Broadway shows and was nominated for an additional eleven. Bennett choreographed Promises, Promises, Follies and Company. In 1976, he won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical and the Tony Award for Best Choreography for the Pulitzer Prize–winning phenomenon A Chorus Line. Bennett, under the aegis of producer Joseph Papp, created A Chorus Line based on a precedent-setting workshop process which he pioneered. He also directed and co-choreographed Dreamgirls with Michael Peters. Bennett was born Michael Bennett DiFiglia in Buffalo, New York, the son of Helen (Ternoff), a secretary, and Salvatore Joseph DiFiglia, a factory worker. His father was Roman Catholic and his mother was Jewish. He studied dance and choreography in his teens and staged a number of shows in his local high school before dropping out to accept the role of Baby John in the US and European tours of West Side Story.