Remembering Broadway: Leading Women…Oooooh Those Legs The Incredible Gwen Verdon
Gwen Verdon won four Tony Awards for her roles in Can-Can, Damn Yankees, New Girl in Town, and Redhead. She was the muse and married to director-choreographer Bob Fosse, and as the guardian of his legacy after his death.
As a toddler, she suffered from rickets, which left her legs so badly misshapen and spent her early years in orthopedic boots and rigid leg braces. At age three, her mother enrolled her in dance classes. Further ballet training strengthened her legs. By age six, she was dancing on stage.
At age 11, she appeared as a solo ballerina in the musical romance film The King Steps Out (1936), While in high school, she was cast in a revival of Show Boat. In 1945, she appeared as a dancer in the movie musical Blonde From Brooklyn.
Verdon was the assistant to choreographer Jack Cole, whose work was respected by both Broadway and Hollywood.
Verdon took small roles in movie musicals as a “specialty dancer”. She also taught dance to stars such as Jane Russell, Fernando Lamas, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe.
Verdon started out on Broadway going from one chorus line to another. Her break was as the second female lead in Cole Porter’s musical Can-Can (1953), as Eve in the Garden of Eden ballet she upstaged the show’s starand stopped the show. She received her first Tony Award for her performance.
Next came Damn Yankees, Verdon won another Tony and went to Hollywood to repeat her role in the 1958 movie version. It is her she met Bob Fosse who partnered with her in the original mambo duet “Who’s Got the Pain”.
Verdon won another Tony for her performance in the musical New Girl in Town
and her fourth Tony for Redhead, which was Fosse’s Broadway debut as a director/choreographer. In 1960, Fosse and Verdon wed.
In 1966, Verdon returned to the stage in the role of Charity in Sweet Charity, choreographed and directed by husband Fosse. Shirley MacLaine was Charity, but Fosse made his film debut as director and choreographer.
Verdon helped with the choreography. Verdon also traveled to Berlin to help Fosse with Cabaret, the musical film for which he won an Oscar for Best Director.
Estranged as a couple, Verdon and Fosse continued to collaborate on projects such as Chicago (1975) and the musical Dancin’ (1978), as well as Fosse’s autobiographical movie All That Jazz (1979).
After Chicago, Verdon focused on film in movies such as The Cotton Club(1984), Cocoon (1985) and Cocoon: The Return (1988). She continued to teach dance and musical theater and to act. She received three Emmy Award nominations for appearances on Magnum, P.I. (1988), Dream On (1993) and Homicide: Life on the Street (1993). Verdon appeared as the title character’s mother in the Woody Allen movie Alice(1990) and as Ruth in Marvin’s Room (1996).
Verdon served as artistic consultant on a Broadway musical Fosse. Verdon’s daughter Nicole received a “special thanks” credit. The show won a Tony Award for Best Musical.
In 1997 Verdon appeared in an episode of Walker Texas Ranger she reprised the role in 1999. Walking Across Egypt (1999) and Bruno, released in 2000.
Verdon was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1998, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Verdon was a mental health-care advocate and taught dance as a form of therapy, she sat on the board of directors for the New York Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, and actively raised funds to support mental health-care research.
Verdon died from a heart attack on October 18, 2000, at age 75, at her daughter’s home in Woodstock, Vermont. Later that night, at 8 pm, all marquee lights on Broadway were dimmed in a tribute to Verdon’s talent and contribution to the American Musical Theatre.
League of Professional Theatre Women’s 10th Annual Women Stage The World March
The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) will hold its 10th Annual “Women Stage the World March” — a Suffragette-inspired project to educate the public about the role of women in the theatre industry — on Saturday, June 17. The march will begin at noon, at Shubert Alley and weave through Times Square and the Broadway Theatre District, wrapping up at about 2 p.m.
“The event is FREE and LPTW invites all theatre women and allies to join us as we increase awareness, lift our voices, and advocate for more opportunities for women in theatre,” said Ludovica Villar-Hauser, Co-President of LPTW.
“The Women Stage the World March is designed to educate the public about the role women play in creating theatre and the barriers they face as men continue to outnumber women by 4 to 1 in key roles such as playwright, director and designers. Women buy 67% of the tickets and represent 65% of the audience, yet 80% of the storytelling on stage is shaped by men’s voices,” said Katrin Hilbe, Co-President of LPTW.
Handouts during the March will prompt ticket-buyers to ask three questions as they make buying decisions: (1) Who wrote, directed and designed this play? (2) What is this theatre’s track record in giving opportunities to women? (3) How can you spread the word and promote women’s voices?
“All participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite historical theatre woman, or dress all in white. March participants will gather at Shubert Alley starting at 11:30 AM, in preparation for the start of the march at noon. Women Stage the World sashes and signs will be provided, as supplies last,” noted Penelope Deen, LPTW member and organizer of the event. Those interested in participating in the event please R.S.V.P. at: https://www.theatrewomen.org/women-stage-the-world or contact Penelope Deen at: Womenstagetheworld@Theatrewomen.org
LPTW Co-President Ludovica Villar-Hauser added: “The League of Professional Theatre Women stands alongside the Writers Guild of America (WGA) as they demand fair wages and take action to ensure more protections for artists. We encourage LPTW members to find a time to join the WGA on the picket lines this month as the strike continues. Women writers are the future of the film and television industry, just as they lead the way in theatre. LPTW supports the women on the frontlines of this movement as they call for long overdue change. We are stronger together.”
For the past 10 years LPTW members, affiliated union members, theatre artists and their allies have hit the streets in a March reminiscent of the Suffragette parades of the early 20th Century, with some marchers dressed in traditional suffrage garb and colors. Like the Suffragettes before them, participants in the Women Stage the World March empower women and men to become aware, take action and influence others.
The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) is a membership organization championing women in theatre and advocating for increased equity and access for all theatre women. Our programs and initiatives create community, cultivate leadership, and increase opportunities and recognition for women working in theatre. The organization provides support, networking and collaboration mechanisms for members, and offers professional development and educational opportunities for all theatre women and the general public. LPTW celebrates the historic contributions and contemporary achievements of women in theatre, both nationally and around the globe, and advocates for parity in employment, compensation and recognition for women theatre practitioners through industry-wide initiatives and public policy proposals. LPTW is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Chicago
John Kander & Fred Ebb / Bob Fosse musical Chicago is now the longest running show playing on Broadway. Having played 10,338 performances, Chicago is the Tony Award-winning, record-breaking hit musical playing at the Ambassador Theatre, 219 W. 49th St., NYC.
Ham4Ham: Some Like It Hot, Parade and Shucked With Special Guests
Lin-Manuel Miranda brought out a. special edition of Ham4Ham outside the Richard Rodgers Theater yesterday and it was a star studded afternoon.
First up Leopoldstadt stars Josh Molina and Brandon Uranowitz introduced Some Like It Hot‘s J. Harrison Ghee, who performed “You Coulda Knocked Me Over With a Feather” accompanied by the show’s composer, Marc Shaiman. You can watch the beginning of this and the whole performance of that song here.
Then Nikki Crawford and playwright James Ijames from Fat Ham, introduced composer Jason Robert Brown and performers Ben Platt and Michaela Diamond who perform the duet “This Is Not Over Yet” from the must see revival of Parade.
The Thanksgiving Play stars D’Arcy Carden and Chris Sullivan introduced book writer Robert Horn and the Tony-nominated cast of Shucked recreated new lyrics for “We Love Jesus” and a parody of Hamilton‘s “The Story of Tonight.”led by Ashley D. Kelley, Grey Henson, Andrew Durand and Kevin Cahoon
This was a spectacular afternoon that can only be had in NYC.
T2c would love to thank these three ladies who gave us a chair to sit on.
The Outer Critics Circle Awards and You Are There Part 2
Yesterday the 72nd Annual Awards honoring achievements in the 2022-2023 Broadway and Off-Broadway season were presented at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Here are highlights from the show.
Outstanding New Score: Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman – Some Like It Hot
T2c interviewed the fantastic duo.
Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: Bill Irwin –Endgame
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical: Alex Newell – Shucked
Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical: J. Harrison Ghee
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play: Brandon Uranowitz – Leopoldstadt
T2c talked to this amazing performer before the ceremony.
Special Achievement Award:To B.H. Barry, one of the world’s foremost fight directors.
Outstanding New Broadway Play: Leopoldstadt and Outstanding Director of a Play:Patrick Marber – Leopoldstadt
Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Some Like It Hot Robert E. Wankel and Neil Meron
Broadway’s Samantha Pauly and Reeve Carney Come To Chelsea Table and Stage
On May 29th catch Samantha Pauly for Memorial Day. Best known for originating the role of Katherine Howard in Broadway’s smash hit SIX the Musical, and her captivating performance as Eva Peron in Jamie Lloyd’s critically acclaimed revival of Evita on London’s West End, Samantha Pauly has carefully crafted an evening that reflects the last few years of her life. Join this Grammy nominee and Drama Desk Award winner as she revisits some career highlights, Broadway classics, pop/rock favorites, and all the fun stuff in between.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and actor Reeve Carneyreturns to Chelsea Table + Stage June 4th to perform a night of music honoring the artistry of the legendary rock n’ roll supergroup Led Zeppelin. Carney is best known for his portrayal of Dorian Grayin on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, Riff Raff in Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show Reimagining, as well as originating the role of Peter Parker in Julie Taymor/U2’s Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark. He is currently starring in the Broadway blockbuster, Hadestown. Reeve Carney delivers a one-man-show cabaret that feels more like an invitation-only after-party than a traditional concert performance. Don’t miss this special performance from one of Broadway’s leading actors!
Tabitha Brown That’s Your Business Farmer’s Market in NYC
Dance In Times Square Today
Midnight Moment: The Doors: Lizard Kings
Romantic and Meaningful Love Quotes For Her To Help Win Her Heart
How to Take Advantage of Virtual Numbers for SMS
Entre Institute Review – Is Jeff Lerner’s Program a Scam?
Events2 days ago
Happy Memorial Day From T2C
Broadway5 days ago
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Happy Birthday Richard Jay-Alexander
Art4 days ago
Taylor Swift Exhibition Opens in NYC
Broadway5 days ago
The Outer Critics Circle Awards and You Are There Part 1
Celebrity5 days ago
The Glorious Corner
Events3 days ago
Tovah Feldshuh Joins The American Popular Song Society In Celebration of Marilyn Maye
Broadway4 days ago
The Outer Critics Circle Awards and You Are There Part 2
Cabaret3 days ago
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For June