How They Met

In the American dance world of the early 1950’s Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse had heard of each others talents but their professional paths had yet to cross.  That changed in the spring of 1955 and resulted with the cover of Time Magazine by June summer.

Celebrated producer Hal Prince and well-known director George Abbott of the Broadway musical Damn Yankees had suggested to newly hired choreographer Bob Fosse the idea of casting Gwen Verdon for the lead female role Lola. Fosse was resistant at first.  After several failed casting calls, Fosse agreed to meet with Verdon, but only if he could spend a few days in a rehearsal hall seeing if he could work with the Hollywood redhead choreographer Jack  Cole had transplanted to Broadway for Alive and Kicking (1950) and Can-Can (1953). The synergy that happened in those few days of dance studio rehearsal would greatly change the career paths of both these truly unique  talents.  Bob and Gwen both earned Tony Awards for their participation in Damn Yankees and they would go on to become the most accomplished creative couple of the American Broadway musical collaborating on stage and film for the next three decades.


Below Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse in 1962 – network televised appearance and interview as Lola in Damn Yankees performing “Whatever Lola Wants.”

Above overview “TIME The Weekly Newsmagazine” cover dated “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.”

Damn Yankees (1958)
Directed by George Abbott and Stanley Donen
Shown from left: Bob Fosse, Gwen Verdon