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Has anyone been watching the Fosse/Verdon series? I started it last night and quite enjoyed it, - well, enjoyed the sequences about dancing and choreography, and the way Fosse and Verdon worked as a  team. It is, like most new drama series, fairly hard to follow unless you already know a lot about the people concerned, which I do not.

i wondered what more informed viewers thought.

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I have seen the first episode anc I thought it was stunning.  Have the rest plus the Verdon special to catch up with.  She was clearly something else and very highly admired and respected.  Fosse reminded me of Busby Berkeley.  Highly gifted and completely original but an utter b*****d to work for and with.  However, we are all so much richer for their work.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Mary said:

Has anyone been watching the Fosse/Verdon series? I started it last night and quite enjoyed it, - well, enjoyed the sequences about dancing and choreography, and the way Fosse and Verdon worked as a  team. It is, like most new drama series, fairly hard to follow unless you already know a lot about the people concerned, which I do not.

i wondered what more informed viewers thought.

 

I once - in another world/life - had the privilege of working briefly with Gwen Verdon.  She was a VERY special lady and totally adorable.  I think this series is magnificent in catching the era and the individuals in question in vibrant detail.  It is SO well written.  I remember at one point I had to go to Verdon's flat on the Upper West Side to go over some material with her - and the replication of that flat in the television film is extraordinary.  I vividly remember some of the items - as seen in the film - hanging on the walls.  Indeed, I remember discussing them with Miss Verdon ... and that truly extraordinary giggle of hers.  The overall construct of that flat - one of those glorious old NYC railroad apartments with massive rooms - was exactly as it shown - with those long deep shadows.  I was a little surprised - although delighted - when the series was shown here as I would suspect that many people here may well have no idea as to who she really was.  She was such a theatrical animal - magnificent at that - and I suppose that's the price that was paid.  Five richly deserved Tony Awards notwithstanding.  You can see why this series won 17 Emmy Awards.  They too were/are richly deserved.  

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Unfortunately, my recorder doesn't seem to have recorded this.  I have the first episode(s?), then, I think, nothing :( 

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I saw this and found it completely absorbing, admittedly I'm a fan of US musicals and I've always loved watching both of them in their rare screen appearances.  Fosse was amazing in Kiss Me Kate (1953) when he partnered Carol Haney in the last section of  'From this moment on" which he also choreographed. (just that section, Hermes Pan did the rest)  And there's  a rare number that Fosse & Verdon danced together in Damn Yankees: 'Who's got the pain when they do the mambo?  This was shown in the TV series.

 

Fosse also appeared in 'My Sister Eileen' & 'The Little Prince".  Neither turn up on TV very often but they're available on DVD.  And  there are  books too especially about him and Ethan Mordden's excellent series on the Broadway musical through the decades is full of interesting details.

 

For those who missed it, all episodes were on iPlayer and you can still view or download every one.

 

Linda

 

Oh & Gwen Verdon was in a dramatic role in 'Cocoon' and it's sequel.  Although not a musical there was a lovely moment when she took to the floor with Don Ameche.

 

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Seems as though there's been a bit of discussion on this, so I thought it deserved its own thread.

 

Here are the rest of the related posts:

 

On ‎02‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 14:43, Orlandau said:

BBC2 has a new series starting this evening about Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, looks quite interesting.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00077ch

 

On ‎02‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 15:22, RMM1 said:

 

There is also a documentary on Gwen Verdon on BBC4 this Saturday 3rd August at 10.30pm Merely Marvelous - The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon.

 

On ‎02‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 17:16, alison said:

I'd seen an article about it, but hadn't realized that it was a) TV rather than cinema, and b) on the BBC, so thanks, both of you.

 

On ‎02‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 17:41, Pas de Quatre said:

Wow - although I am a classical dancer and teacher through and through, I love Fosse's work.  Thanks for posting this.

 

 

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On ‎25‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 21:43, alison said:

Unfortunately, my recorder doesn't seem to have recorded this.  I have the first episode(s?), then, I think, nothing :( 

 

It didn't, despite clearly telling me, when I tried to re-set it, that it was set to record the whole series :(  Oh well, guess I'll have to iPlayer the rest of it, if I can.

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Just watched tonight's BRILLIANT episode - the penultimate - of Fosse/Verdon.  What a thrill.  Do catch it if you can.  

 

Finishing it ... I dashed to the computer to see if i could find a segment of Chicago with Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera.  I did.  In fact the sequence that was rehearsed and - in part - played in the television show tonight is included.  It is amazing to think this was at the tail end of Verdon's major theatrical career.  Here they are on the 'live' Mike Douglas Show filmed in front of a real audience (i.e., no canned reaction so prevalent then) in Manhattan in the 70's.  They are performing to the local (and small compared to the pit orchestra they would have at the - then - 46th Street Theatre) Mike Wallace Show band and playing on 'the flat' - [The stage for the original Chicago had a steep rake].  Of course there are none of the big sets nor the remainder of the large company.  Just the TV studio flats and the ladies themselves.  There can be no question - Gwen Verdon - the original that is - was a one-off.  Hate to say it - (but I will): They don't build them like that anymore.  They couldn't - well, can't - because the world(s) they come from sadly don't exist.  (This would have been after the throat operation that Verdon had during Chicago - as depicted in the television broadcast).  Blessedly we have this tape as a reminder; an echo of the original theatrical thrill;  (Oh, and I should just say that Hal Linden - who was part of the Mike Wallace show and not Chicago - who dashes out and does a small interjection was himself a distinguished Broadway performer - and - like the ladies - a Tony Award winner as well.  

 

 

I found another segment from that same broadcast.  (Do watch the interview segments that follow the numbers - they will give you a sense of these people - which will help you put the television series into perspective - as they all - at some point - and however briefly - show up.)  This is with the WONDERFUL Jerry Orbach - the original Billy Flynn - but then all of these participants were the originators - singing 'Razzle Dazzle' again with the local band - and, of course, none of the showgirls to do the choreography around him.  I used to adore him (sadly he's been dead for some time now) be it in musicals or straight plays.  He was a wonderful actor.  I laughed watching this because I remember seeing the original production on Broadway during a fleeting visit with my mother who, for most of my life, was a high court judge.  She loved this .... and I can remember her saying - in fact I can hear her voice in my ear - that it was 'the best instruction to a witness [she] had ever heard!' :) .... Razzle Dazzle indeed.  Orbach's Jimmy Durante take is to die for :) 

 

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Just wanted to add this public access interview with Gwen Verdon from 1983 - and only posted online I see this year.  It too will help to put the EXCELLENT 'Fosse/Verdon series into perhaps better perspective.  This was very much the lady I remember from that VERY brief period I had the pleasure of interacting with her.  Here - as ever - she is gloriously - but always politely - frank.  She handles herself very well in this outing I thought.  Two things struck me: (i) her mention of her East Indian dance training with Jack Cole (who was known as 'the Father of Theatrical Jazz Dance') made me think of Akram Khan's collaborations with ENB and (ii) how Miss Verdon's dedication to mental health care for dancers would be extremely prescient even now.  A treat.  Enjoy.  

 

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Thanks, that is fabulous. The way they move together, not just doing the steps, but physically with the same line and harmony is just as impressive as some of the great ballet partnerships. For some reason I kept thinking Fonteyn & Nureyev.

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