All tagged Gwen Verdon

The Name on Everybody’s Lips is Gwen Verdon

With the TV miniseries Fosse/Verdon on is way to the small screen this April, I thought I would take some time to look back on one of Broadway’s most captivating triple-threats and honored leading ladies: Gwen Verdon. Gwen Verdon was a multi-Tony Award winner, playing a wide variety of roles, many of which became iconic thanks to her distinctive personality and voice, not to mention her nonpareil dance skills. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and remember the one, the only, the unforgettable, Gwen Verdon and the Broadway musicals that she touched.  

Remembering Can-Can

Cole Porter wrote many infectious scores for the Broadway stage, with Anything Goes and Kiss Me, Kate as standouts of how wit and melody can be melded into glorious ditty after glorious ditty. Another hit musical of Porter’s myriad Broadway outings was Can-Can. Though it is seldom revived today, Can-Can nevertheless features an enchanting score, with songs such as “I Love Paris, “ “C’est Magnifique” and “I Am In Love” getting play outside the context of the show. Abe Burrows, known for his knack for writing sparkling comedy for the Broadway stage, wrote the book for Can-Can.  

Broadway Blip: New Girl in Town

In the mid 1950s, composer-lyricist Bob Merrill found himself writing musicals for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at a time when the studio was just beginning to phase out the whole genre. The times were changing and the big-budget Hollywood musical was no longer the box office draw it had once been. A new sensibility was creeping into film that demanded tighter, smaller productions that were less expensive to produce. America was also changing. The children of the World War II vets were growing up, contemporary music was evolving, and soon rock & roll would be taking over the radio landscape. This new generation wanted Chuck Berry, Elvis and before long, The Beatles. Families were divided on entertainment. Musical films and the music generated by musicals grew more and more passé, a victim of the generation gap. This certainly took its toll on film musicals. After a few final crowning achievements with Gigi and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, by the middle of the 60s, MGM had halted production on musicals altogether. 

Broadway Musical Time Machine: Looking Back at Sweet Charity

With Sweet Charity returning to the New York Stage this fall in a production starring Tony-winner Sutton Foster, this week I will explore the history and makeup of this imperfect musical that somehow manages to delight theatre folk, particularly dancers. What is it about this dated, meandering musical that continues to intrigue directors, choreographers and performers enough to keep returning to it