Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Paula Kelly, who passed away this week at age 76. Kelly was a tremendous Broadway and Hollywood actress who starred as Helene in Bob Fosse’s film adaptation of “Sweet Charity” (1969).
The incredible trio, “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This,” featuring Shirley MacLaine, Chita Rivera, and Paula Kelly was magically captured on film and will continue to inspire dancers and dreamers for years to come.
On June 17th, The Transport Group presented SWEET CHARITY in concert, celebrating the 1966 Neil Simon, Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields, Bob Fosse, and Gwen Verdon musical with Broadway performances of song and dance accompanied by a live 23-piece orchestra.
The Verdon Fosse Legacy contributed two reconstructed works for the performance: “Big Spender” (reconstructed by Dana Moore) and “If My Friends Could See Me Now” (reconstructed by Mimi Quillin.
The ladies of “Big Spender” (L to R: Alyssa Epstein, Danelle Morgan, Christine Sienicki, Anna Schnaitter, Kenna Morris Garcia, Lauren Blackman, Naomi Kakuk, Emily Grace Kersey, Kaylee Olson, and Caitlin Abraham)
Jessica Lee Goldyn backstage before “If My Friends Could See Me Now”
Musical direction by Joey Chancey.
Directed by Jack Cummings III.
Hosted by Dana Moore and Mimi Quillin.
The Verdon Fosse Legacy held another wonderful week of Fosse master classes at Steps on Broadway earlier this month. Classes were taught by Fosse veterans: Spence Ford, Mimi Quillin, and Stephanie Pope. Take a look at some photos and a short video clip from Stephanie’s class:
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UK dancers and fans were able to catch us on the BBC’s “The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand.” Dancers from The Verdon Fosse Legacy worked on Bob Fosse’s “Rich Man’s Frug” from SWEET CHARITY (1966) under the direction of Lloyd Culbreath and Dana Moore. To check out a teaser from the episode, click here.
Mimi Quillin (who served as dance captain and assistant to Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon for the 1986 Broadway revival of SWEET CHARITY) reconstructed “If My Friends Could See Me Now” for Broadway Backwards last Monday. The 13th annual edition of the show, which celebrates the LGBTQ community through gender-reversed renditions of beloved showtunes, raised an incredible $680,273 to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City. The show was produced by Broadway Cares.
Jay Armstrong Johnson and Mimi Quillin in rehearsal
Jay Armstrong Johnson in the arms of John Glover
Jay Armstrong Johnson
“When On the Town’s Jay Armstrong Johnson unexpectedly found himself in the apartment of Tony Award winner John Glover, Johnson excitedly launched into “If My Friends Could See Me Now” from Sweet Charity. Johnson impressively performed the original, iconic Bob Fosse choreography, recreated for Johnson by Mimi Quillin.”—BC/EFA
For more information on Broadway Backwards and all of the wonderful events and programs of BC/EFA, visit www.broadwaycares.org.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last month Mimi Quillin visited Milan, Italy and was welcomed to teach at the Centro Danzaricerca. The studio, owned and operated by Agnese Riccatelli, was founded over thirty years ago and their students are currently in the finals of “Italy’s Got Talent.” Mimi taught the Bob Fosse’s iconic “Rich Man’s Frug” from SWEET CHARITY, for which she served as dance captain and assistant to Bob and Gwen for the 1986 Broadway revival.
Mimi and Centro Danzaricerca owner, Agnese Riccatelli
American caricaturist, Al Hirschfeld, created a number of iconic black-and-white cartoons of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon chronicling their Broadway careers. Hirschfeld would publish his portraits of dancers, singers, and actors prior to a new Broadway show’s opening night. Below are several caricatures from The Al Hirschfeld Foundation.
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.