BROADWAY BEAT {GWEN VERDON} (TV)

Summary

One in this weekly series of talk shows devoted to the Broadway theater world. This tape consists of two consecutive parts of an interview by host Richard Ridge with legendary Broadway star Gwen Verdon, conducted at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York City. Throughout the program, still photographs as well as clips from a 1962 episode of "American Musical Theatre" featuring Verdon and her husband, the choreographer Bob Fosse, are shown.

The program begins with excerpts from "American Musical Theatre" in which Verdon and Fosse perform "The Pony Dance," the finale of "New Girl in Town"; and "Brotherhood of Man," from "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Verdon recalls the development of her current project, "Fosse," a show devoted to the choreography of her husband and frequent collaborator. She chronicles "Fosse's" beginnings with Chet Walker and eventual management by Verdon and dancer/choreographer Ann Reinking. Verdon then discusses her "choreographic memory," the elements that made "Sweet Charity" her most demanding role, the style and philosophy behind Fosse's choreography, his innovative use of the dance known as the frug, and the role Charlie Chaplin played in Fosse's development. She then expounds on "New Girl in Town," the musical based on Eugene O'Neill's "Anna Christie"; her interpretation of the work, which differed from that of director George Abbott; the experience of working with actress Thelma Ritter; the qualities she looks for in "Fosse" dancers; the importance of "acting a dance" as defined by Fosse; and his talent for designing roles for individuals.

Next, Verdon tells a humorous story about a prop mishap during a performance of the closet scene at a "Sweet Charity" gala concert with Marla Maples, after which a segment from the scene is shown. She closes part one of the interview with some comments about Fosse's combination of choreography and direction, and she shows some clips from "Fosse." Part two begins with Verdon and Fosse on "American Musical Theatre" performing a bit of the mambo dance "Who's Got the Pain?" from "Damn Yankees," followed by Verdon talking to Ridge about why Redhead was her favorite role. She also touches on Fred Astaire's influence on Fosse's sense of style and use of props, Jack Cole's significance to Fosse's growth as a choreographer, the importance of training a dancer's eye, and her early days with Fosse. Verdon then reminisces about favorite moments and behind-the-scenes events in the musicals "Can-Can," "Damn Yankees," "New Girl in Town," "Redhead," "Sweet Charity," and "Chicago." Finally, Verdon discusses the types of roles she currently enjoys, and the program ends with a clip from "American Musical Theatre" in which she and Fosse reprise the uplifting "Brotherhood of Man."

Cataloging of this program was made possible by The Marc Haas and Helen Hotze Haas Foundations, 2000.

Details

  • NETWORK: MNN
  • DATE: June 22, 1999 Tuesday 1:00 AM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:57:55
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:57891
  • GENRE: Talk/Interviews
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Biography
  • SERIES RUN: MNN (Manhattan Neighborhood Network, New York, NY) - TV series, 1990-
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Bradshaw Smith … Executive Producer
    • Sherry Shameer … Associate Producer
    • Ann Marie Karash … Associate Producer
    • Maryann Lopinto … Associate Producer
    • Richard Ridge … Production (Misc.), Production Coordinator, Host, Interviewer
    • Edgar LaMance … Director, Writer
    • Sidney Myer … Correspondent, Researcher
    • Quinn Lemley … Correspondent, Researcher
    • Russell Bouthiller … Correspondent, Researcher, Writer
    • Richard Ridge … Host, Interviewer
    • Gwen Verdon … Guest
    • George Abbott
    • Fred Astaire
    • Charlie Chaplin
    • Jack Cole
    • Bob Fosse
    • Marla Maples
    • Eugene O'Neill
    • Ann Reinking
    • Thelma Ritter
    • Chet Walker