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Fosse: An Introduction
by DFernando Zaremba

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Fosse and Verdon worked together quite a bit, but the high point of their creative relationship came in 1966, when Fosse crafted Sweet Charity for Verdon, 3 years after the birth of their only daughter, Nicole Providence Fosse. With its up-tempo, triumph over adversity theme, it was perfect material for both husband and wife. Indeed, Fosse scored quite a few kudos when he revived the show in 1985 for Debbie Allen in Los Angeles, gaining even more impressive reviews when he took the show to Broadway the following year.

In 1969, Sweet Charity was translated to the big screen (starring Shirley MacLaine - a former Fosse chorus girl) in what was Fosse's first crack at directing a motion picture. It garnered good notices (but bad box office attendance) and was followed by the film many consider Fosse's finest, Cabaret (1972), starring Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey and Michael York. Nominated for a slew of Oscars, including Best Picture, Cabaret, won eight, including Best Actress (Minnelli), Best Supporting Actor (Grey) and Best Director (Fosse).

The years 1972-73 were perhaps Fosse's best; it was certainly his most successful. Not only did he win an Oscar., but he also captured two Tonys for directing and choreographing Pippin on Broadway and three Emmys for producing, directing and choreographing Liza With a Z. That feat had never been accomplished by anyone previously, and remains unmatched to this day.

Riding the crest of his success, Fosse directed his first completely dramatic film, Lenny (1974), a biography of tragic comedian Lenny Bruce (played by Dustin Hoffman). He next co-choreographed a film-version of the children's classic The Little Prince, in which he also acted, playing the Serpent).

Chicago (1975) was his next big stage smash. An adaption of a Maurine Watkins melodrama, the show starred Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera. It ran on Broadway for two years before embarking on an extended tour.

Fosse's last major Broadway hit was Dancin' in 1978. Significant not only for its distinct Fosse style, the musical was also an important polemic on the future of the traditional, or book, musical. With no plot to speak of, just dancing, its most powerful statement was one of omission.

The following year...



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