Taking his cue from such profusely talented dancer/choreographer-turned-directors as Bob Fosse, former Broadway hoofer Rob Marshall made a scintillating leap into film with his directorial debut Chicago (2002).
Born in Wisconsin and raised in Pittsburgh, Marshall began his professional career at age 12 when he joined a local musical theater company. Though he took time off from college to join a touring company of the 1970s Broadway smash A Chorus Line, Marshall returned to school and earned a degree from Carnegie Mellon University's musical theater program. Leaving Pittsburgh after school, he moved to New York City in the early '80s to join the ranks of Broadway "gypsies" vying for a place in the chorus. Marshall sang and danced in several Broadway shows, and worked his way up behind the scenes from dance captain to assistant choreographer. Marshall, however, suffered an injury while dancing in Cats; he subsequently decided to quit performing to concentrate on choreography. He earned his first credit as a Broadway choreographer with the musical version of Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993. Working steadily in the theater throughout the 1990s, Marshall subsequently choreographed the Broadway revival of Damn Yankees, and took on double duties as choreographer and director of Little Me, Company, Victor/Victoria, and the Los Angeles stage revival of Fosse's 1975 musical Chicago before it moved to New York in 1996. Marshall learned to choreograph for motion pictures when executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron hired him to create the dances for the TV musical version of Cinderella (1997). Impressed with his work, Zadan and Meron hired him to direct and choreograph the TV adaptation of Annie (1999), which went on to become the most popular TV movie of 1999.