Chita & ‘chicas’: WSS’s original ‘America’ dance crew 1

Dance · Theater
Chita Rivera out front. Behind, L to R: Carmen Gutierrez, Lynn Ross, Liane Plane (unseen behind Chita), Frances Taylor “Chita was so incredible as Anita,” our friend George Chakiris told the audience when I interviewed him in 2015. He played “Riff” in the London production of West Side Story circa 1958/59. Doing that meant keeping ...

Dancer’s ploy for getting on Ed Sullivan Show

Dance
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 ...

When Sally gave Marilyn (Monroe) her jazz pants 5

Dance · Fashion
You all remember when Harry met Sally. But what about when Sally (Goldin) gave Marilyn (Monroe) her pair of jazz pants? This happened! A jaw-dropping moment when Sally Goldin told me, “I gave Marilyn a pair of my jazz pants.” Uh, okay, Sally. That Marilyn? You gave Marilyn Monroe your JAZZ PANTS?? “Oh, yes,” shot ...

A ‘red-sock’ Valentine from Grover Dale … and Debbie Reynolds 3

Dance · Fashion · Film
A perfect post for St. Valentine’s Day is the ‘sock-in-the-jaw’ dancing Grover Dale delivers in “He’s My Friend,” choreographed by Peter Gennaro for The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). Dale is right on the money in this wonderful number. Gus Trikonis and Debbie Reynolds also excel, Debbie more than holding her own with the two dynamos ...

Oh yeah! Bobby Banas rocks “The Nitty Gritty” 12

Dance
The great, great stage and screen dancer Bobby Banas swings, very hard and very well, in “The Nitty Gritty” — this television clip from The Judy Garland Show in 1964. Banas choreographed the number on the spur of the moment. “I choreographed the “Nitty Gritty,” he shared in an email, explaining that choreographer Peter Gennaro’s ...