Last week a group of Fosse students reconstructed “Streets of Laredo,” a five-part, eight-minute comedic ballet satirizing the rough, yet romantic American West: cowboys, saloon girls, hoedowns, bar fights, and, of course, a happy ending where the good guy comes out on top (quite the contrast to many of Fosse’s later more realistic works such as Sweet Charity and “All That Jazz”).
“Streets of Laredo” premiered on a TV special back in 1958 entitled “The Wonderful World of Entertainment.” The hour-long special—all choreographed by Bob Fosse—took audiences through the evolution of entertainment in American culture.
Even if you’re a huge Fosse fan, you’ve probably never heard of “Streets of Laredo.” That’s because the piece doesn’t exist on YouTube or other internet archives. The Verdon Fosse Legacy LLC-sanctioned instructors Valarie Pettiford, Lloyd Culbreath, Dana Moore, and Lynn Sterling (along with assistants Marissa Calabrese and Mary Callahan) spent hours and hours at New York City’s Paley Center for Media watching, re-watching, and annotating all of the choreography.
Thank you to all of the talented and dedicated dancers who helped us as part of a “skeleton crew” to reconstruct this marvelous piece!
Stay tuned for the next series of Fosse master classes to be announced this fall!
“She’s everything the undesirable made absolutely and forever desirable.”
An overview photograph of “Gwen Verdon: too hot for Hollywood?” news article appearing in “Tempo News.” Tempo or “Quick News” was a weekly supermarket check-out magazine aimed towards the suburban American housewife market of the 1950s. Measuring 4 x 5 3/4 inches.
This particular Tempo News issue was published “July 18, 1955.”
Pictured above housed within an archival paper storage box clearly side labeled “Fosse Verdon Archives” is dancer Gwen Verdon’s personal scrapbook, about 40 detached pages dating from the 1940s to early 1960s with the majority of clippings and content dating from the 1950s. Most pages are double sided and overall contain hundreds of photographs and newspaper clippings spanning three of her five decade or half-a-century career in the American performing arts.
Three interior affixed scrapbook newspaper clippings read: “Small World By Douglas Watt, Show People, Continue reading →
Alive and Kicking a “New Musical Revue” production opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on January 17, 1950 and closed on February 25, 1950, after 46 performances.
Gwen Verdon pictured in performance with famed choreographer Jack Cole. The above image is from an archival paper indexed reference file stamped “Fosse Verdon Archives” and according to the handwritten notes by Gwen Verdon verso, this particular image was published in Dance Magazine’s April 1983 issue and was originally captured during the “Dove’s Blues” an “East Indian” themed dance number from her 1950 Broadway debut show Alive and Kicking.
Below detail image of promotional handbill flyer top center picture and corresponding caption reading “Jack Cole and Dancer.”Continue reading →
Possibly production used hand embellished textile, being primarily constructed of a heavy black woven wool material having hand sewn golden metallic sequined letters reading “Hernando’s Hideaway” outlined with corresponding side-by-side bugle beads painted over with a red gloss paint, appears to be nail polish. Considerable amount of surface paint-loss to sequins and beads present, also having fabric corner tears consistent with age and or possible performance use.
“Hernando’s Hideaway” is a tango show tune, largely in Long Metre, from Act II of the musical The Pajama Game, written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, published in 1954. The lyrics describe a dark and secretive Continue reading →
A single page advertising handbill (flyer) promoting ticket sales for the pre-Broadway tryout of the Dorothy Fields musical comedy “REDHEAD” at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. beginning “December 30th, 1958.” “REDHEAD” was in full production over the 1958 New Years Eve holiday and first two weeks of January in 1959.
“Entire Production Directed and Choreographed by BOB FOSSE”
Advertising handbills (heralds) were distributed or inserted into the playbills of other productions to help generate ticket sales for upcoming shows and events. This single page, two-sided handbill measures 5 1/2 X 8 1/2 inches and includes a ticket order form with promotional text on the backside reading in-part: Continue reading →
Overview of vintage “TIME The Weekly Newsmagazine” cover from “JUNE 13, 1955″ costing “TWENTY CENTS” reading right center of costumed character Lola cover-art illustration “Gwen Verdon of Damn Yankees” with a subscription cost of “$6.00 A Year” issue number “VOL. LXV NO.24.”