You want to dance on Ed Sullivan, right? So why not make a dance about … Ed Sullivan?
The creators used this ultimate ploy to tickle a narcissist’s fancy and also entertain the public. This tidy dance number, which echoes Bob Fosse’s “Rich Man’s Frug” in many ways, is the work of two choreographers, Hal Grego and Rob Fournier. This is the kind of thing that bound audiences to dance — simple, straight-forward, fresh and clever movement vocabulary, and a real cultural hook. The very meta number uses Sullivan’s own physical quirks in a kind of moving caricature, like a Hirschfeld drawing on steroids.
As the story goes, Peter Gennaro, the house choreographer for the Sullivan show, was out for a month. One of the choreographers behind the number, Hal Grego, had a contact on the Sullivan staff and wangled an opportunity to audition. The guys auditioned three numbers and this one, the Ed Sullivan satire, was selected. Four hundred dancers, among them Broadway dancers, auditioned to dance in this funny spoof by Grego and his partner Rob Founier.
An artsmeme shout-out to Bob Boross for sharing this backstory!