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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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 email@example.com.
*All photos by Scott Robbins
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).
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