Kenneth John Ortega (born April 18, 1950) is an American producer, director, and choreographer. He is best known for directing the films Newsies (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), the High School Musical trilogy (2006–2008), Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009) and Descendents trilogy (2015–2019). Ortega has choreographed films including St. Elmo's Fire (1985), Pretty in Pink (1986), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), and Dirty Dancing (1987). He has also directed multiple concert tours, including tours for Cher, Gloria Estefan, and Michael Jackson.
Ortega in February 2010
|Born||Kenneth John Ortega
April 18, 1950
Palo Alto, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Producer, director, choreographer|
Ortega was born in Palo Alto, California, the son of Madeline, a waitress, and Octavio "Tibby" Ortega, a factory worker. Both of his parents were also born in Palo Alto, though his paternal grandparents were Spanish immigrants. He attended Sequoia High School in Redwood City, California, where he was a cheerleader.
Initially known for working with dancer and choreographer Gene Kelly on the film Xanadu, Ortega went on to choreograph the dance for the Menudo video "Hold Me", as well as the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, and has won awards for choreography in music videos, such as Madonna's "Material Girl". He also worked with The Tubes on their stage shows and directed the video for She's a Beauty.
Ortega directed Billy Squier's "Rock Me Tonite" video, which is often cited as the worst music promo clip ever made and has been blamed by Squier for killing his career. Together with Michael Jackson, he created and designed the Dangerous World Tour 1992-1993 and the HIStory World Tour 1996-1997. He has also choreographed events ranging from Super Bowl XXX, the 72nd Academy Awards, the 1996 Summer Olympics (Atlanta) and the 2002 Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City).
In May 2009, Ortega began work on the scheduled Michael Jackson 50-date This Is It concerts, which was cancelled subsequent to Jackson's sudden death. He directed the concert film Michael Jackson's This Is It which was put together from rehearsal footage recorded at the Los Angeles Forum and the Staples Center. The film was released on October 28.
Ortega directed the Michael Jackson Public Memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which was broadcast live on several networks on July 7, 2009. It reached a television audience of 31 million in America, and more than 1 billion worldwide and via the internet. At the end of the service, he introduced a rendition of Jackson's 1985 charity single "We Are the World" created for the This Is It concerts, featuring Jackson's backing singers on lead vocals with his dancers performing around them.
Filmography and concertsEdit
|Year||Title||Role||Rotten Tomatoes rating||Budget||Gross|
|1982||One from the Heart||48%||$26 million||$636,796|
|1985||St. Elmo's Fire||47%||$10 million||$37,803,672|
|1986||Pretty in Pink||81%||$9 million||$40,471,663|
|Ferris Bueller's Day Off||79%||$6 million||$70,136,369|
|1987||Dirty Dancing||68%||$6 million||$213,954,274|
|1992||Newsies||Choreographer, Director||30%||$15 million||$2,819,485|
|1993||Hocus Pocus||Director||32%||$28 million||$39,514,713|
|1995||To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar||Choreographer||42%||N/A||$47,774,193|
|1998||Quest for Camelot||36%||$40 million||$22,510,798|
|2008||High School Musical 3: Senior Year||Director, Executive Producer, Choreographer||65%||$11 million||$252,909,177|
|Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert||Choreographer||71%||$7 million||$70,642,036|
|2009||Michael Jackson's This Is It||Director, Producer||81%||$60 million||$261,183,588|
|1988||Dirty Dancing||Director||2 episodes|
|1990||Hull High||Choreographer, director||2 episodes|
|1996||Second Noah||Director||1 episode|
|1998–99||Chicago Hope||2 episodes|
|2000||Resurrection Blvd.||1 episode|
|2001||Grounded for Life||1 episode|
|2001–02||Ally McBeal||3 episodes|
|2002–06||Gilmore Girls||11 episodes|
|2006||High School Musical||Choreographer, Director||Television movie (budget: $4.4 million)|
|The Cheetah Girls 2||Television movie|
|2007||High School Musical 2||Television movie (budget: $7 million)|
|2015||Descendants||Choreographer, Director||Television movie|
|2016||Crazy Ex-Girlfriend||Director||1 episode|
|The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again||Choreographer, Director||Television movie|
|2017||Descendants 2||Television movie|
|2019||Descendants 3||Television movie|
|1989–90||Cher's Heart of Stone Tour||Director|
|1991–92||Gloria Estefan's Into The Light World Tour||Choreographer|
|1992–93||Michael Jackson's Dangerous World Tour||Director|
|1996–97||Gloria Estefan's Evolution World Tour||Choreographer|
|1996–97||Michael Jackson's HIStory World Tour"||Director|
|2003||Gloria Estefan's Live & Unwrapped||Show Director and Choreographer|
|2004||Gloria Estefan's Live & Re-Wrapped Tour||Choreographer|
|2006–07||High School Musical: The Concert"||Director|
|2007–08||Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Tour"||Director, Choreographer|
|2009–10 (cancelled)||Michael Jackson's This Is It concerts||Director|
|2008||ALMA Award||Special Achievement Award – Outstanding Director|
|2009||National Association of Latino Independent Producers||Outstanding Achievement Award|
|30th Young Artist Awards||Jackie Coogan Award – Contribution to Youth|
- "Kenny Ortega Interview, Michael Jacksons This Is It". moviesonline.ca. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01.
- Hartlaub, Peter (October 19, 2008). "Ortega directs 'High School Musical 3'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
- Hernández, Lee (October 23, 2008). "Kenny Ortega: The man behind every step of 'High School Musical 3'". Daily News. New York.
- "Kenny Ortega: Biography" (PDF). Archived from the original (pdf) on 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
- Segal, Lewis (February 1, 2008). "Dance Review: At least dancers had a 'Ball'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- "Michael Jackson Gets Ready For Tour". Sky News. May 12, 2009.
- Hinckley, Daivd; Huff, Richard (July 8, 2009). "Michael Jackson's memorial 2nd most-watched funeral ever, after Princess Di, say Nielsen ratings". Daily News. New York.
- Footloose Remake Loses Its Director Archived 2011-07-05 at the Wayback Machine. News in Film
- Gans, Andrew (November 7, 2008). "Universal Plans Silver-Screen Adaptation of 'In the Heights'" Archived 2008-11-10 at the Wayback Machine., playbill.com.
- Chaney, Jen (August 8, 2011). "'Dirty Dancing' the remake: Should it be pursued or put in a corner forever?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
- "ALMA Awards 2012". Alma Awards. Archived from the original on 2012-07-17.
- "Kenny G files for divorce". Thaindian News.
- Crystal A. Johnson. "LTTS Exclusive: An Interview With High School Musical Director Kenny Ortega". Look to the Stars.
- "30th Annual Young Artist Awards". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2012-05-11.