Gwen Verdon “Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus” Sweet Charity 1966

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus officially announces today that they are eliminating elephant acts from their shows and all elephants will be relocated to their Center for Elephant Conservation.

The circus plans to phase out elephant acts by 2018.  Their 43 elephants will live at the company’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. Twenty-nine animals are already there, and the other 14 will arrive as they are phased out from the circus. Elephant acts have been showcased by Ringling Bros for more than a century.

Pictured below two original black and white press call or news print publicity photograph proofs featuring Gwen Verdon in full costume as Charity Hope Valentine in the original 1966 Tony award winning Broadway “musical smash” hit Sweet Charity conceived, staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse.  Gwen Verdon is pictured gallantly waving her right arm atop a Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance used elephant with side promotional panels reading “Sweet Charity.”GwenRinglingBro 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

Bob Fosse “Sweet Charity” Choreographer Tony Award, 1966

Overview image of Bob Fosse’s fifth bestowed nickel patina Tony Award medallion reading: “The American Theatre Wing presents to Bob Fosse, Choreographer For Distinguished Achievement in Theatre, “Sweet Charity”, 1965-66.”

FosseSweetCharityTonyMeasuring 3 inches in diameter, mounted on a custom square presentation wall display with black velvet fabric surround. Continue reading

“Big Spender” Fan-Dango Ballroom Girls, 1966

 Good looking, so refined.

BigSpender Brian Cummings colorFeaturing 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

Block Buster Day at Fosse Master Class Series 2013

 

maxresdefaultAll this week the Fosse Master Class Series is taking on learning The Frug from Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity at Manhattan Movement and Art….Today the morning session was graced with Fosse veterans Carolyn Kirsch and Penny Worth sitting in on the class.  Just next door Donna McKecknie, Baayork Lee, and Margo Sappington were filming their signature number from Promises Promises…Turkey Lurky Time.  All three ladies stopped by class for a quick run through of what Lloyd Culbreath and Valarie Pettiford had taught the “Fosse Kids” so far.  Just another day of Broadway legends…..OMG!!!!!

Chita Tribute for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS……OFF THE CHAIN 2013

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I am still reeling from the shear force of talent known as Chita Rivera ..Tonight was one of those nights in theater that are too far and few between….Chita’s tribute to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS was OFF THE CHAIN YA”LL…So great to be with Valarie PettifordDana MooreMary Callahan, and Roumel Reaux representing The Verdon Fosse Estate …..loved sitting next to Andrea Burns while watching my West Side Story buddies Robert Montano, Ramon Del Barrio, and Richard Amaro, and Fosse Master Class teacher Lloyd Culbreath back up Chita….oh yes I’m dropping names…saw John Sefakis, Harvey Evans, Jim Caruso,Kevin Spirtas, Charles Scatamocchia, divalish Carol Schuberg, Jerry McIntyre….and ….Fosse Master Class participants Gabriela Garcia of R.Evolucion Latina, Olivia Bowman Jackson, and Abdur-Rahim Jackson.

In the words of Dana Moore..”it was such a magnificent, once in a lifetime, spirit lifting event!”

Steve Jones, Fosse Master Class Series, Assistant to Nicole Fosse

Great highlights video of the evening below.  At the 1:58 mark Chita pays tribute to Gwen Verdon while singing “Nowadays” from the Broadway musical Chicago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PuZdn5rqQk

 

Members of March Master Class 2013

Nearly seventy talented dancers attended our March master class at the Manhattan Movement Arts Center.  Students learned three Fosse trios that were originally choreographed as a gift for his wife, Gwen Verdon, after she gave birth to their daughter, Nicole.

Besides the amazing instruction by Lloyd Culbreath, Valarie Pettiford, and Nicole Fosse, a few other special guests popped into the studio this week: Fosse veterans, Pamela Sousa and Dana Moore, and acclaimed Broadway producer, Barry Weissler.

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Thank you to the hard-working dancers who were filmed for our archival footage (pictured above).

Check back for an update on our next master class which will be held during the last week of April!

Fosse Master Classes: Take 2

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Christopher R. Kirby, Elizabeth Parkinson and Desmond Richardson in “Cool Hand Luke” from the 1968 Bob Hope Special

Veteran Fosse dancers, Lloyd Culbreath and Valarie Pettiford, are heading back into the studio for the second set of Fosse workshops.  After the success of the first Master Class in February, Culbreath and Pettiford are excited to restage some of Fosse’s lesser-known works on the younger generation of dancers.

The Master Class will be held at New York City’s Manhattan Movement Arts Center on March 18-21, 2013.  50 invited professional dancers will learn three trios of Bob Fosse choreography that were created specifically for Gwen Verdon: “Mexican Breakfast,” “Tijuana Shuffle,” and “Cool Hand Luke.”

In her interview with broadwayworld.com, Pettiford noted, “We’re trying to find those gems that people haven’t seen in a while.  We want to sort of rediscover and connect with those works…for preservation because there is no archival of those shows.  We want to keep those amazing works alive for future generations.”

Why “www.VerdonFosse.com” ?

Personal stationery top center titled “Verdon – Fosse” and below reading longhand in ink “Thank you Gwen” 

After receiving Bob Fosse’s estate, all official documents came to Gwen Verdon titled “Verdon – Fosse.” Additionly we are paying homage to her own personlized stationery. See above.

“Gwen Verdon: too hot for Hollywood?” Tempo News, 1955

“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.”

Brian's property Article captions reading in-part:
“Hollywood’s censorship of Gwen Verdon dance in Gentlemen Marry Brunettes repeated familiar pattern of her film cuts.”
“Broadway’s cheers for Can-Can dancer the current star of sellout, Damn Yankees.”

Continue reading