If Michelle Williams does not get Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her performance on FOSSE/VERDON, there will be riots in the streets of West Hollywood. She's absolutely sensational in a TV mini-series that also gives us juicy, intelligent work from Sam Rockwell as Bob Fosse and Norbert Leo Butz as writer Paddy Chayefsky.
The hit revival of CHICAGO is still running on Broadway. The revival opened in 1996. In FOSSE/VERDON, we learn that Gwen Verdon was not only the star of the original production but also the engine of the whole vehicle.
With the conclusion of FOSSE/VERDON airing this week, I just wanted to give some space to celebrating the talents of both artists.
DAMN YANKEES was a big hit for Gwen Verdon. She was the witch who was well over 100 years old and transformed into a hot baby by her old devil boss. Lola will vamp men into behaving badly so her boss can have another soul for down below. Lola, pretending to be a Dominican beauty pageant winner, tries to vamp a wholesome baseball phenom by singing "Whatever Lola Wants." This is from the 1958 Warner Bros. adaptation of DAMN YANKEES directed by George Abbott and Stanley Donen. Choreography by Bob Fosse. Click on this link and watch the number featuring Gwen Verdon with Tab Hunter.
Like Gwen Verdon, Bob Fosse had movie credits before he became a heavyweight on Broadway. In the early 1940s, Rosalind Russell scored with the comedy MY SISTER EILEEN. The film earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. In the 50s, an original screen musical remake was done with the same title. From the 1955 musical, here's Bob Fosse in a bow tie with the terrific Tommy Rall. They're two of Eileen's suitors. Fosse did the choreography.
What I loved most about SWEET CHARITY was the Bob Fosse choreography coupled with how Fosse opened up the action with his staging and direction of some sequences. Not many folks talk about this number, but I love what the director/choreographer did with the "I'm a Brass Band" number. Here's Shirley MacLaine in Fosse's 1969 film.
Fosse's next film would be -- 1972's CABARET. It was a big hit with critics and a big hit with moviegoers. Bob Fosse would win the Oscar for Best Director.