Today we celebrate the half century anniversary of Tony Award winning American musical Sweet Charity.
In January 1966, The Nederlanders turned New York City’s famed Palace Theatre into a legitimate theatrical stage for the opening of Sweet Charity conceived, staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse starring Gwen Verdon.
Gwen Verdon played the title role of Charity Hope Valentine, a taxi dancer at a dance hall called the “Fan-Dango Ballroom” in Times Square, New York City.
Bob Fosse as interviewed by Kevin Kelly for the Boston Globe, 1978
“I guess I’ve learned bits and pieces from just about everything I’ve done. But, still I’m not kidding when I say I have periodic bouts of fear about what I’m doing. I deal with. I come out OK.
Right now, in the middle of Dancin’, the fear’s minimal. One of the reasons is that it’s not a big Broadway musical in the financial sense. It’s relatively simple, not a million dollar zinger. It’s a big modest Broadway musical, emphasis on modest. It’s a bit easier to work without all that heavy financial pressure. The show’s in three acts, with simple but effective scenery. The three acts are not just for innovation. The cast is made up of 18 very hardworking dancers and they need the intermissions to recoup. There’s no book, just a series of dance pieces some telling a story, some existing for themselves.”
Dancin’ 1978 souvenir performance program having front cover illustration art by Bob Gill
“Dances and Musical Numbers Staged by Bob Fosse” Detail image of original theater broadside or handout flyer for the 1957 Broadway production New Girl in Town presenting Gwen Verdon and Thelma Ritter with top billing. New Girl in Town was a new musical produced by Harold Prince located at the “Shubert Theatre” with book by George Abbot having praised“Dances and Musical Numbers Staged by Bob Fosse.”Continue reading →
Featuring the ten original Sweet Charity girls of the Fan-Dango Ballroom where Charity Hope Valentine works a taxi dancer in the Times Square theater district of New York City. Dancers pictured in colorful full stage costume during celebrated musical number “Big Spender” from Act I, Scene 3 with Helene Gallagher, Thelma Oliver and the Fan-Dango girls. 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 →
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 →
The Pajama Game original Broadway production opened on May 13, 1954, and closed on November 24, 1956, after 1,063 performances. It was directed by George Abbott and Jerome Robbins and featured all original choreography by the then 27 year old Bob Fosse.
Above detail image from the 1954 “Who’s Who in The Cast” original The Pajama Game Broadway program reading in part:
“Bob Fosse brings to his first job of choreography on Broadway a wealth of experience gained as a performer and as a stager of dances for musicals on the summer circuits.”
The Pajama Game original cast included John Raitt, Janis Paige, Eddie Foy, Jr, Carol Haney, and Stanley Prager.
This particular production of The Pajama Game is also known for helping with the stardom of Continue reading →