Gwen falls for Fred, but he does not fall back

Dance · Featured
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 ...

A masterpiece of dance on film: Jack Cole’s “Happy Ending”

Dance · Film
The dance sequence below, choreographed by the great Jack Cole (he dances in it as well) closes Twentieth Century Fox’s “On the Riviera” (1951). Every element of  “Happy Ending” rings true. Not a single step is wrong or jarring; on the contrary, all is balanced and golden and smart and right. It’s ure evidence of ...

Movie musical talk with George Chakiris

Dance · Film
I had the wonderful good fortune to interview singer/dancer/actor George Chakiris at TCM Fest this weekend. The resulting Los Angeles Times piece here. A few leftover niblets to follow… His passion for musicals when growing up: I used to love every movie musical I saw. There was one that stood out, The Barclays of Broadway ...