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Life is Just A Bowl of Cherries

9.13.2007


"Everything Old is New Again" by Peter Allen (of Boy From Oz fame) from All That Jazz (Roy Schneider is the Fosse character, the young girl his daughter, and Ann Reinking is playing, well, herself: Fosse's protege/lover.)

Lately, I can't get enough Fosse.

Bob Fosse, to be exact. Kiss Me Kate, Sweet Charity, The Pajama Game, Chicago, Damn Yankees, Pippin, All that Jazz, Cabaret. You may have seen some of his choreography work on my post, "Walk it Out, Fosse" with his wife Gwen Verdon.

I remember hearing the name "Fosse" as I grew up, but I stuck to musicals that included these names: Kelly, Astaire, Garland, Crosby, Sinatra, Rogers, Hammerstein, Gershwin, Berlin, Comden and Green. For me, musicals had to be thoroughly clean, heterosexual, family-oriented, and then leave me feeling I could do anything or love anyone I dared (The Sound of Music had Nazis, but in the end the Von Trapps climbed ever mountain!).

Fosse's musicals--not necessarily the ones he danced in, but the ones he directed and choreographed--are the opposite of the Golden Age MGM style musicals. Fosse's work is chock-full of gender-bending, sex, drugs, and politics. Winking innuendos and love-lost heartache is stripped down (literally) to erotic exhibitionism and life-is-disappointment tragedy.

I finish watching films like All that Jazz or Cabaret and feel sad: sad for the characters, sad that Fosse died so young, sad that I'm not a dancer. If Gene Kelly makes me want to jump and be caught, and Astaire makes me want to tap, and Russ Tamblyn makes me want to do back flips, Bob Fosse makes me want to strut, slouch, wear fedoras, and have jazz hands.

Fosse’s genius was first recognized by Hollywood (and by me) in the 1953 film version Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate. For the song “From This Moment On” he was able to choreograph his own special section with Carol Haney, Gene Kelly’s trusted dance assistant (the other woman would later be Gene’s wife). You’ll be able to glimpse the early formations of Fosse’s signature style that would go on to make dance history. Plus, his singing voice is adorable (so turn up the volume)!

Here he is—the blonde in the yellow hat--with some of the greats: Ann Miller as Bianca (Hit the Deck, On the Town, Stage Door, Easter Parade), Tommy Rall in the red hat (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Girl, Invitation to the Dance, Pennies from Heaven), and Bobby Van in an orange hat. And in my opinion, he blows them all away. Don’t take your eyes off him. This is “From This Moment On” (not the be confused with Shania Twain).

2 comments:

MLight said...

Wonderful post - I love Fosse!

Maryann said...

Thanks!