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

HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY BOB FOSSE!

Celebrate with us the 90th birthday of an American dance theatre and film performance icon Robert Louis “Bob” Fosse born June 23, 1927.

Pictured above is a never before seen candid photograph from the Verdon Fosse Legacy LLC archives featuring Bob Fosse backstage in the acclaimed 1963 musical Pal Joey dressing room at City Center wearing terrycloth robe. Having verso glue residue and ink handwritten annotation reading “Pal Joey” measuring 7 1/2 x 8 inches overall. 

Continue reading

Gwen Verdon “New Girl In Town” broadside, 1957

“Dances and Musical Numbers Staged by Bob Fosse”
NewGirlInTownDetail 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

Age 27 Bob Fosse’s “Humdinger” The Pajama Game, 1954

“A SMASH-HIT MIXTURE OF RACEHORSE AND EXPLOSIVE!” – Time Magazine

“A SMASH HIT – A POWERHOUSE – IRRESISTIBLE” – Variety

“A WHALE OF A SHOW!”   “A SURE – FIRE WINNER!”   “THE BEST AT LAST!”

“BRIGHT, BRASSY AND JUBILANTLY SASSY SHOW!”

The Pajama Game original Broadway production opened on May 13, 1954, and closed on November 24, 1956, after Continue reading

Bob Fosse bestowed Mr. Abbott Award, 1986

Named in honor of the legendary director George Abbott, the “Mr. Abbott” award is presented to a director or choreographer in recognition of lifetime achievement in American theatre. Pictured below is Bob Fosse’s cast bronze “Mr. Abbott” award measuring ten inches in height and having the front engraved placard reading:

 “The Mr. Abbott for Lifetime Achievement In The Theatre Awarded to Bob Fosse 1986 by Stage Directors and Choreographers Workshop Foundation”

Founded in 1965, Stage Directors and Choreographers Workshop Foundation exists to foster, promote and develop the creativity and craft of stage directors and choreographers. Continue reading

Bob Fosse manuscript Pal Joey, 1963

Bob Fosse’s well-used personal working manuscript having front cover centered handwritten label reading “Pal Joey” and lower right side “Bob Fosse.” This was used by Fosse durring the highly acclaimed 1963 musical theater revival. The original 1940 Pal Joey Broadway production was directed by George Abbott and starred Gene Kelly.

The Pal Joey 1952 revival was met with greater success than the original production. It opened on January 3, 1952 and closed on April 18, 1953, after 540 performances. Bob Fosse was the understudy for Joey Evans.

Then some ten years later in 1963 Pal Joey was produced off-Broadway for 15 performances at New York City Center and starred Bob Fosse as Joey Evans, Viveca Lindfors as Vera, and Kay Medford as Melba.

See Pal Joey manuscript detail label images Continue reading

Gwen Verdon TIME Magazine Cover Damn Yankees, 1955

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.”

 Read published TIME article “The Devil’s Discipline” Continue reading

Age 27 Bob Fosse debut Broadway production program The Pajama Game, 1954

Bob Fosse's first Broadway show, The Pajama Game, 1954 | research property of Brian Cummings

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