Mimi Quillin reconstructs SWEET CHARITY for Broadway Backwards

Mimi Quillin (who served as dance captain and assistant to Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon for the 1986 Broadway revival of SWEET CHARITY) reconstructed “If My Friends Could See Me Now” for Broadway Backwards last Monday. The 13th annual edition of the show, which celebrates the LGBTQ community through gender-reversed renditions of beloved showtunes, raised an incredible $680,273 to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City. The show was produced by Broadway Cares.

Jay Armstrong Johnson and Mimi Quillin in rehearsal

Jay Armstrong Johnson in the arms of John Glover

Jay Armstrong Johnson

“When On the Town’s Jay Armstrong Johnson unexpectedly found himself in the apartment of Tony Award winner John Glover, Johnson excitedly launched into “If My Friends Could See Me Now” from Sweet Charity. Johnson impressively performed the original, iconic Bob Fosse choreography, recreated for Johnson by Mimi Quillin.”—BC/EFA

For more information on Broadway Backwards and all of the wonderful events and programs of BC/EFA, visit www.broadwaycares.org.

*Photos by Johnathan Tichler

Dancers over 40 celebrates 40 years of DANCIN’

On Monday, March 26th Dancers over 40 hosted a celebration of the 40th-anniversary of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’.  The sold-out event included a panel discussion by the original Broadway cast, a second panel comprised many of the show’s replacement performers, guest appearances by other Fosse veterans (host Bebe Neuwirth, surprise guest Ben Vereen, etc.), the LaDuca Lifetime Achievement Award (to Ann Reinking), and a magical performance of “I Wanna Be A Dancin’ Man.”  Thank you to all who participated and came out to celebrate this incredible production and the dancers who brought the choreography to life. (For more photos, visit the Dancers over 40 Facebook page)

Michael Kubala, James Horvath, Eileen Casey, Moderator Kevin Winkler, Lloyd Culbreath,
Valerie-Jean Miller, Clif de Raita

Wayne Ciliento, Moderator Ken Bloom, Ann Reinking, Kathryn Doby, Gail Benedict, William
Whitener

Gail Benedict, Lloyd Culbreath, Sandahl Bergman, Eileen Casey, James Horvath, Wayne
Cilento, Clif de Raita, Valerie-Jean Miller, Christine Colby, Michael Kubala, Jill Cook (not
Pictured: Ann Reinking, Richard Korthaze, William Whitener)

Phil LaDuca and Ann Reinking

Bebe Neuwirth, Nicole Fosse, and John Sefakis

Dancers Over 40 Presents The 40th Anniversary and Reunion of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’

DANCIN’ opened on Broadway on March 27, 1978, and ran a very successful four years, and was Bob Fosse’s only all-dancing and all-singing musical. To mark this historic event, Dancers Over 40 will assemble a spectacular “once-in-a-lifetime” panel of original cast members for the 40th anniversary (almost exactly to the day of their 1978 debut) on March 26, 2018, at St. Luke’s Theater.

The anniversary celebration will feature video clips as well as live performances from DANCIN’ (Percussion 1 & 3, with assistance from the Verdon/Fosse Legacy). Celebrating with us will be original cast members Gail Benedict, Sandahl Bergman, Wayne Cilento, Christine Colby, Jill Cook, Linda Haberman, Rickard Korthaze, Ann Reinking, William Whitener and Fosse DANCIN’ assistant and long-time DO40 member, Kathryn Doby. There will be two panels, the first being the reunion with original cast members, moderated by author, theater historian – and now a documentary filmmaker – Ken Bloom (Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of all Time and the upcoming documentary on Gwen Verdon). The second panel will be hosted by Kevin Winkler and include cast replacements from DANCIN’ and other Fosse dancers, including Eileen Casey, Dana Moore, Lloyd Culbreath and Diana Laurenson. Also, mention must be made of those talents we have lost, including DO40 founding member John Mineo, as well as Rene Ceballos, Chris Chadman, Ed Love and Charles Ward.

Click here for ticket information.

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Dancers Over 40 is an all-volunteer, membership-driven non-profit arts organization dedicated to preserving the history, legacy, and lives of our mature creative community while sharing the knowledge with the younger generation, particularly dancers just beginning their careers.

Candy Brown on the mission of The Verdon Fosse Legacy

The mission of The Verdon Fosse Legacy is to promote, protect, and preserve the artistic and intellectual property of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon.  Here’s a snippet of Fosse dancer, Candy Brown, sharing how she feels Artistic Director, Nicole Fosse, is keeping this mission statement alive.

 

All That Jazz in Bryant Park

On Monday, August 7th Bryant Park hosted an outdoor film screening of Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” as part of HBO’s Summer Film Series.  Despite the gloomy weather, the screening had a great turnout and film fans—umbrellas in hand—crowded around the park lawn to watch the legendary movie on the big screen.

It’s showtime, folks!” Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider) is a workaholic Broadway director and choreographer. He is also a womanizer, a heavy drinker, a chain smoker and frequent pill popper. Bob Fosse directed this jazzy, thinly-veiled autobiographical film showcasing his very own personal demons. Not surprisingly, Gideon (like Fosse) eventually finds himself in a life-or-death struggle as he goes under the knife for open-heart surgery. Nominated for nine Oscars, All That Jazz won four (Score, Art Direction, Costumes, Editing). If you can survive it, there’s no business-like show business. (1979) 123 MIN. (R) (FOX)

Congratulations Jessica Lange! Lead Actress Emmy nomination “Feud: Bette and Joan”

Congratulations Jessica Lange on your Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Emmy nomination. Feud: Bette and Joan

A revered actress and three-time Emmy winner, Jessica Lange was perhaps a shoo-in for this year’s crop of nominees. After portraying Joan Crawford in Ryan Murphy’s miniseries “Feud: Bette and Joan,” Lange earned her eighth Emmy nod, and she will be competing against co-star Susan Sarandan in the lead actress in a drama category.

Published New York Times, March 1978: Dancin’ king is the toast of Broadway / Director Bob Fosse was jumping with joy last night at Tavern on the Green. He caressed his favorite lady, Jessica Lange, and wore a broad smile after his new musical “Dancin'” won rave reviews. Our own Clive Barnes called it “tremendous” and “fantastic.” 

Published NY Daily News, Monday, February 1, 1960: The Stars at Night. Gwen Verdon, Reed Dawson and Joan Crawford discuss program for variety show and ball to be held night of April 3 for beinfit of the new Children’s Clinic of the Postgraduate Center of Psychotherapy, 218 E. 70th St. Dawson is chairman of trustees of the Center.  Both Gwen and Joan will officiate at the affair.

 

HAPPY 86th BIRTHDAY

Today we send happy 86th birthday wishes to Hollywood star Tab Hunter!  

A product of Hollywood’s Golden Era, Tab Hunter became Hollywood’s “golden boy” and starred in over 40 feature films. One of Hunter’s first films for Warner Bros was The Sea Chase (1955), supporting John Wayne and Lana Turner. Oblivious to his sexuality, Hunter remained the all-American boy-next-door who guys envied and girls desired during the 1950s and 1960s. Being so popular that when he recorded a song called “Young Love”  it knocked Elvis Presley off the top of the charts and prompted the creation of Warner Records today known as Warner Music Group, as well as the purchase, by Jack Warner, of a popular baseball musical from Broadway for Hunter to star in. “Warner, as a gift, bought Damn Yankees! for me,” he notes in his biography Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, adding how much he enjoyed working with his costars, the assistant director Stanley Donen and choreographer Bob Fosse.

Joe Hardy a lovestruck baseball player portrayed by Tab Hunter on screen in 1958 for the Warner Bros movie musical Damn Yankees opposite leading lady Gwen Verdon as Lola the Devil’s seductress assistant. Lola was is the Tony Award winning character Verdon originated on Broadway with future husband and choreographer Bob Fosse.

Below is Tab Hunter’s heartfelt recollection of first seeing Verdon perform live with Jack Cole’s dance troupe in a Los Angeles nightclub and then working with Gwen filming Damn Yankees.

Thoughts of Gwen…

I first laid eyes on Gwen at Ciro’s night club on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. She had become the talk of the town as the lead dancer with the very exciting Jack Cole Dancers. I was hypnotized by her red hair whirling above those beautiful, long legs that seemed to start at her neck and go on forever. I have never forgotten that evening. At the time I was still in high school with no aspirations to be an actor.

A few years later I was under contract to Continue reading

This is our “Once-A-Year Day!”—Happy Fourth of July! The Pajama Game 1957

Happy Fourth of July!  Since many Americans will celebrate this holiday with a picnic in the park, here’s a fun clip of Bob Fosse’s “Once-A-Year Day” from the 1957 film version of “The Pajama Game.”

In a Dance Magazine article (1957), Carol Haney described the “Once-A-Year Day” choreography—both the choreography of the movement and of the camera: “For a scene like the big “Once-A-Year Day” number—the picnic dance which we did on location in a park—Bob Fosse re-choreographed his original dance completely to involve more people and all the space you can cover with a camera. And Stanley Donen, who knows about dance, photographed it in wonderful travelling shots that captured all of the dynamism of the movements and at the same time provided enough air around the performers to make their movements significant. You see, you just can’t set up your camera and photograph a dance…You have to know just where to place it, which angle will make it exciting and alive.”

Wright State University performs “Rich Man’s Frug”

The Verdon Fosse Legacy was invited to Wright State University for a week-long immersion of Fosse technique and repertoire with their dance and musical theatre departments.  Veteran Fosse dance and one of the Legacy’s leading reconstructeurs, Lloyd Culbreath, and his assistant, Marissa Calabrese, taught daily master classes, participated in a talk-back, and reconstructed “Rich Man’s Frug” from SWEET CHARITY for the department’s spring concert.

“The program, staff, and facility were all fantastic.  And the students were incredibly talented.  It was an honor and an absolute pleasure to work with such talent and professionalism.”—Lloyd Culbreath

The Verdon Fosse Legacy would like to extend a special thank you to The Musical Theatre Initiative at Wright State University and it’s director, Joe Deer, for making this collaboration possible.  For more information about Wright State University, visit www.wright.edu.   All inquiries regarding choreographic reconstructions of Bob Fosse’s work can be directed to theverdonfosselegacyllc@gmail.com.

*All photos by Scott Robbins

Steps on Broadway Conservatory students perform “I Wanna Be A Dancin’ Man”

The Verdon Fosse Legacy was invited to reconstruct “I Wanna Be A Dancin’ Man” on the pre-professional students of the Steps on Broadway Conservatory Program. Veteran Fosse dancer and Legacy-sanctioned reconstructeur, Lloyd Culbreath, taught the piece with the help of his assistant, Marissa Calabrese, and vocal coach, Jan Horvath (also a veteran Fosse performer).

Steps on Broadway Conservatory performs “I Wanna Be A Dancin’ Man” (photo: Eduardo Patino)

Bob Fosse choreographed “I Wanna Be A Dancin’ Man” as a tribute to his own personal dance icon, Fred Astaire. As the Act II opener from 1978’s musical revue, DANCIN,’ “Dancin’ Man” honors the charm and elegance of Astaire and celebrates the golden age of the Hollywood musical. But the ensemble production number also highlights a poignant, universal sentiment that lies at the heart of every dancer—despite all of the sacrifices (physical, emotional, professional), the dancer loves to Continue reading