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Fosse: An Introduction
by DFernando Zaremba

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After World War II, Fosse and his first wife, Mary-Ann Niles, formed a dance team and appeared in nightclubs, television and stage musicals. His Broadway performing debut came in 1950 in a revue called Dance Me a Song, and in 1952 he was Harold Lang's understudy in the title role of a Pal Joey revival, a role which he later assumed when the show went on tour.

Fosse came to Hollywood in 1953 upon signing a contract with MGM. There, he danced and sang in three musicals, including Kiss Me Kate He also appeared in (and choreographed) My Sister Eileen and married his second wife, dancer/performer Joan McCracken, at that time.

When his acting career stalled out, Fosse returned to New York, where legendary Broadway producer-director George Abbott hired him to work out the dance numbers for The Pajama Game. United with Abbott by a kindred aesthetic sense, Fosse was to find the show an ideal vehicle for his brand of dancing.

The Pajama Game was a major success, and Fosse not only won the Donaldson Award for his work, but his efforts also netted him his first Tony Award. The following year, he took home his second for Damn Yankees (he would eventually win ten).

It was while collaborating on Damn Yankees that Fosse first met Gwen Verdon, who would soon become his third wife. The two danced together in the film-version, which he also choreographed, in the "Who's Got the Pain?" number. By 1959, he was directing his first musical for the Broadway stage, Redhead, starring his new wife.

Fosse and Verdon worked together quite a bit...



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