Bob Fosse & Gwen Verdon at Work

Gwen Verdon appeared in seven Broadway musicals in her illustrious career, winning four Tony Awards in the process (in four consecutive Broadway outings, no less).  Her stardom came with a supporting role in Can-Can, choreographed by Michael Kidd. Her specialty dances stopped the show cold, so cold that on opening night she had already changed out of her costume when she was taken onstage for a bow in her robe. However, for the rest of her musical career, Verdon worked explicitly with Bob Fosse, whom she would also marry. The combination of auteur and star worked – Damn Yankees, New Girl in Town (a musical adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie), Redhead, Sweet Charity and Chicago were all hits. Even after they separated, they remained incredibly close and continued to collaborate. For the 20th anniversary revival of Sweet Charity, Verdon was credited as Fosse’s assistant and after his death continued to champion his legacy.

The duo made a TV appearance in 1962 where Fosse was discussing his approach to choreography and acting through song. He and Verdon discuss the set up to her iconic “Whatever Lola Wants” from Damn Yankees and then she performs the number using him as her scene partner. The process is fascinating, and the execution is exquisite.


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