Who’s Who Top Artists and Entertainers

Spider Duncan Christopher

Title: Director & Choreographer
Company: Spidercorp
Location: New York, New York, United States

Spider Duncan Christopher is a multi-hyphenate creative who has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who for his achievements in the performing arts. An accomplished actor, singer, dancer, director, choreographer, and producer, Mr. Christopher’s work has been seen on numerous stages across the country and abroad; and, in his roles as master teacher, coach, and mentor, he has had an impact on many others who have gone on to successful careers in theatre, film and television.

Spider credits his parents, Pat and Wally “Tiny” Calkins—themselves well-known creative artists in Mr. Christopher’s hometown of Seattle—and his high school drama and musical theatre teachers Virginia Sletner and Bill Moeller with fostering his artistic aspirations in his youth; and his professional career really began at age 17 when he was cast in Bye Bye Birdie at The Seattle Opera House. Supported by a scholarship grant from the Ford Foundation, he left Seattle soon thereafter to train with the San Francisco Ballet Company. His career took off from there, starting with the first national tour of the beloved Broadway hit, Hello, Dolly!, in which he shared the stage with the legendary Carol Channing and was directed and choreographed by the equally legendary Gower Champion, who became a mentor to and inspiration for Mr. Christopher.

As they do for so many, Mr. Christopher’s theatrical pursuits led him to New York, where he has lived ever since. He was drawn immediately to teachers and collaborators that he still cherishes as having had a profound impact on him and his work, most especially William Esper, with whom Spider studied and whom he considers to have been his greatest influence. In fact, his association with the renowned teacher led him to become an acting educator himself, teaching at the Neighborhood Playhouse Junior School; then co-founding with Esper the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and serving alongside him as an assistant professor.

He gained the attention of writer/director Peter Masterson, for whom Mr. Christopher served as choreographer and assistant director on the original production of Masterson’s The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at New York’s famed The Actors Studio. The show went on to become a smash hit on Broadway, and remains to this day the most successful production to emerge from The Actors Studio.

Always conscientious, compassionate, and dedicated to artistic empowerment, Spider continued to make his mark as the co-founder and original artistic director and choreographer of the pioneering Infinity Dance Theater Company, which caters to performing artists with disabilities and able-bodied dancers over the age of 40. His work with Infinity brought him accolades in New York, led to performances in Europe, and, ultimately, yielded one of his proudest achievements: choreographing Infinity co-founder Kitty Lunn (who danced in her wheelchair) in the largest event at the Atlanta Olympic Cultural Olympiad in 1996.

Spider belongs to SAG-AFTRA—the professional union for film and television actors—and is a senior member of the Actors’ Equity Association—which represents stage actors—his first union. And despite his busy professional career, Mr. Christopher has cultivated yet other talents and interests. He volunteers, assisting tours for the blind at The Guggenheim, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He creates visual art, three pieces of which were shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the exhibit “Seeing Through Drawing.” His most significant work outside the performing arts is as a metaphysical practitioner, providing spiritual guidance for personal growth and healing.

Mr. Christopher has formed Spidercorp—“an 8-legged organization”—in order to expand his contributions in all his areas of expertise.

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