Gwen calls out Bob’s choreography in Gap commercial 2

Dance · Featured
In a 1999 interview, Gwen Verdon (1925 – 2000) expressed mild exasperation at the use of choreography by Bob Fosse (1927 – 1987) in a commercial by The Gap. “It’s very interesting that right now there is “Go Go Khaki,” a commercial for The Gap. They are doing the Frug. It’s amazing. They are not ...

Patricia Morison remembers … Martha Graham, Kiss Me Kate, more 5

Dance · Film · Theater
We so enjoyed a charming conversation with Broadway and Hollywood doyenne Patricia Morison at her Los Angeles home July 6, 2017. The originator of the role of “Kate” in Kiss Me Kate, still vivacious and chatty at age 102, shared happy  memories of her career. She took special care to describe the role that dance ...

Gwen falls for Fred, but he does not fall back

Dance
From an interview with James Heneghan, son of the great Gwen Verdon … remembers James: “We were walking down the street in Beverly Hills, and I was walking next to my Mom. I was grown up.” “All of a sudden she fell off the curb and landed on the front of a car! “I said, ...

Judy Garland’s admiration for Gwen Verdon’s husband

Dance
Recently researching dance history at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, I came across this nugget from Gwen Verdon. In an interview, Gwen recounted a story with droll wit, Judy Garland once said to me, “Oh your husband has done such a marvelous job!” And I said who??? Because I really did ...

Chita Rivera conquers Carnegie Hall

Dance · Music · Reviews · Theater
Holding court in her Carnegie Hall debut Monday evening, Broadway legend Chita Rivera gave gobs of pleasure and a pre-election-day boost to a very well-sold house. Prior to the show, a good many attendees swarmed the 57th Street sidewalk in anticipation of a special evening. In a solo showcase that got by with a little ...

Gwen & Chita’s ‘Nowadays’ better than ours

Dance · Theater
In this yummilicious snippet from the Tony Award broadcast of 1984, Broadway goddesses Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon deliver a pastiche-pairing of numbers from Bob Fosse’s “Chicago.” Chita electrifies with her song-and-dance forcefulness in “All That Jazz.” But Verdon, joining for “Nowadays,” gives a lesson in subtle upstaging — no easy feat considering her dance ...

Valentine to “All That Jack (Cole)”

Dance · Film
A Valentine to all the super-talented folks who contributed, by way of interviews and film introductions, or just by being there, to renewed appreciation for a great American choreographer. Thanks, all, for participating in “All That Jack (Cole)” at The Museum of Modern Art, Jan 20 – Feb 4, 2016. Below: director/choreographer Rob Marshall introduces ...

Writhing & wriggling Gwen Verdon elicits yawns in “David and Bathsheba”

Dance · Film
In this wonderful clip from DAVID AND BATHSHEBA (1951), the great Gwen Verdon fails to arouse the attention of a couple of onlookers, despite choreographer Jack Cole throwing every slinky trick in the book at the two guys. Watching Gorgeous Gwen, you’d think they’d (at least) sit up in their chairs! The 20th Century-Fox Biblical ...

How a genius choreographs: Jack Cole’s “Beale Street Blues” 2

Dance · Film
In this 30-second snippet from the men’s dance in “Beale Street Blues,” one of Jack Cole’s three great dance numbers from THE I DON’T CARE GIRL (Fox, 1953), the work of a brilliant dance maker is on display. It’s a game of craps gone wrong. It gets played out on a platform, ostensibly  (my reading) ...

A horse is a good clean animal, says Betty Grable 2

Dance · Film · Music
Check out Betty Grable in “Meet Me After the Show” (1951): Dancing in silhouette, on the platform: Jack Cole, who staged the number. Paired with Cole for a dance-y horse race is the choreographer’s muse and assistant Gwen Verdon. This we learn from the horse’s mouth … er… from Academy of Dance on Film founder ...