Glee Wiki
Glee Wiki

Adam Michael Shankman, born November 27, 1964, is a 53-year-old director and choreographer on Glee.

He has been a judge on the television program So You Think You Can Dance since Season 3. He began his professional career in musical theater, and was a dancer in music videos for Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. Shankman has choreographed numerous films as well as one of the Spice Girls' tours. He has directed several feature-length films, including A Walk to Remember, Bringing Down the House, and the 2007 remake of Hairspray.

Personal Life

Shankman was born in Los Angeles, California, to an upper-middle-class family. He has said that he had a "traditional Jewish upbringing" in Brentwood. He attended The Juilliard School, but dropped out to dance in musical theater.


Shankman was a dancer in Janet Jackson's “Amazing” 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. Shankman began choreographing movies that included actors such as Marlon Brando, Sarah Jessica Parker, Antonio Banderas, and the cast of Boogie Nights. He is Brendan Fraser's exclusive choreographer.

In 1996, Shankman was represented by the newly formed Sauce Entertainment, a production company for music videos and commercial production. In 1998, he was a choreographer for the program Win Ben Stein's Money.

Prior to directing Hairspray, Shankman was known in Hollywood primarily as a script doctor. His trademarks in his films often features a singing/dancing sequence and a character getting sent to do community service. "I've done so many things I'm not super-proud of," he admitted in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. Having finally received a plum directing role in Hairspray, he added, "Now that I'm finally really proud of something, if [critics] say this one isn't good either, it will be kind of...taxing." In August 2008, Box office Mojo reported that Hairspray had become the fourth-largest grossing American movie musical within the previous 30 years.

Shankman, in affiliation with ABC, worked on a TV pilot called Harmony about a musical town. In 2008, in the wake of former small-town mayor Sarah Palin's emergence on the national political stage, Shankman was announced as director for the proposed TV series Cadillac Ranch about the female mayor of a small town. He directed the 2012 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages for New Line Cinema. With Bill Mechanic, Shankman was one of the two producers of the 82nd Academy Awards, which took place March 7, 2010.

Shankman has also directed and choreographed multiple episodes of Fox's Glee.

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.

Episodes Directed

Season Two

Season Three

Season Four


Year Film Credited as
1983 The Wind in the Willows Actor
The Red Shoes Actor
1990 Rockula Actor
Midnight Cabaret Actor
1992 The Gun In Betty Lou's Handbag Choreographer, Actor
Roundhouse Choreographer
1993 Weekend at Bernie's II Choreographer
Heart and Souls Choreographer
Addams Family Values Choreographer
1994 The Flintstones Choreographer
Milk Money Choreographer
Don Juan DeMarco Choreographer
1995 Monster Mash: The Movie Actor
Miami Rhapsody Choreographer
Tank Girl Choreographer
Casper Choreographer
Congo Choreographer
1996 Mrs. Winterbourne Choreographer
1997 The Relic Choreographer
Friends Choreographer
Traveller Choreographer
George of the Jungle Choreographer
Boogie Nights Choreographer
A Life Less Ordinary Choreographer
Anastasia Choreographer
Scream 2 Choreographer, Actor
1998 Almost Heroes Choreographer
Antz Choreographer
1999 She's All That Choreographer
Blast from the Past Choreographer
Forces of Nature Choreographer
The Out-of-Towners Choreographer
Inspector Gadget Choreographer
Dudley Do-Right Choreographer
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo Choreographer
2000 Isn't She Great Choreographer
Mission to Mars Choreographer
2001 The Wedding Planner Director, Choreographer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Choreographer
2002 A Walk to Remember Director, Actor
Monk Director
Catch Me If You Can Choreographer
2003 Bringing Down the House Director. Producer
Stuck on You Choreographer, Actor
Splitsville Director
2004 Mystery Girl Director
2005 The Pacifier Director, Producer, Actor
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 Director, Actor
2006 Step Up Producer, Choreographer, Actor
Worst Week of My Life Director
2007 Premonition Producer
Hairspray Director, Choreographer, Actor
2008 Step Up 2: The Streets Producer, Choreographer
Bedtime Stories Director, Producer
2009 17 Again Producer
Zac Efron's Pool Party Director, Producer
Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special Director, Producer
2010 The 82nd Annual Academy Awards Director, Choreographer
The Last Song Producer
Step Up 3D Producer
Going the Distance Producer
Coming Attraction Director
Glee Director
2011 Director
Modern Family Director
2012 Rock of Ages Director, Choreographer