They are the main characters of Fosse/Verdon, the new series produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Most of all, they revolutionized the musical on Broadway and in film, portrait of two artists and their passion explosive. FX Nobody knew Bob [Fosse]. I have been with him for 40 years ; I did not know Bob. Ann [Reinking, his other wife] was with him for 7 or 8 years. And neither of us knew Bob, because he didn’t know himself. (Gwen Verdon)
Bob Fosse has remained an enigma to her who was his partner, his wife, his confidant and his muse : Gwen Verdon. Bob Fosse is probably have remained a mystery to him. Genius of Broadway to the self-destructive behavior, he has scuttled his marriage, his relationships, and his person. Addicted to drugs (Seconal and Dexedrine, an anesthetic and a stimulant), alcohol, sex, and women, it will, perhaps, also because of its excesses, but above all for his talent, marked the history of Broadway musicals and comedies. A success it owes to an innate sense of choreography that has “defined what we imagine to be a musical Brodaway” according to Kevin Winkler, author of the biography, Big Pearl : Bob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical. “He had this unique style is at once cool and sexy, led by the pelvis “. A success also, or even especially, won thanks to his collaboration with Gwen Verdon , without whom, it would not be the legend he became. FX
We are at the beginning of the 50’s and if Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon know, it is only because of the middle of the music is a small world. It debuted, it had the reputation of being difficult “because I could not stand a bad choreography” confided she to CUNY Television in 1991. It is through the intermediary of the producer Hal Prince, stage director George Abbott and the project Damn Yankees that they meet. The young choreographer, is at first reluctant, yields, and only if he can spend a few days in rehearsal with it. She is chosen to play the lead role, Lola and Pit wants to be certain that it is capable of either, although it has already received a Tony Award in 1953 for her role in Can-Can. The result is history. Thus was born the greatest couple on Broadway.
In 1960, the year of their marriage, they ride their first comedy on the boards : Redhead. He directs and choreography, she plays the leading role. The recognition was total, the show won 6 Tony Awards, including best actress, best choreography and best music. In the work of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon , there will be a lot of themselves. She created the role of Charity in Sweet Charity, Lola in Damn Yankees or Roxie Hart in Chicago in his own image. All That Jazz (the show begins ! in the vf) will be partly autobiographical, portraying a choreographer, demanding, stressed out and addicted to drugs.
Everything could go well in the best of worlds, but Bob Fosse is fickle and the accumulation of his adventures eventually deplete Gwen . “Bob was known to be a womanizer. He has never been faithful with his wives or his girlfriends, ” says Kevin Winkler. A latest rumor gives him an affair with Jessica Lange, it was too much for his wife. “Bob grew up around the strip clubs. The women were a hobby for him. He even cheated on his mistresses ! A part of him felt guilty, another had to be ecstatic “, confided Verdon .
I’m more charming and funny when I’m surrounded by women. I pavane. Probably an inferiority complex when I was a small boy, and therefore a way to prove myself to myself. I really trashed my marriage and it is something that I regret. (Bob Fosse) FX
The couple separated, but cannot divorce. And if the love is not there, they remain inseparable. “There was a connection very deep between them. It is built in the rehearsal rooms. One day, Bob Fosse said that the best moments of his life, he had spent in a rehearsal room with his wife, Gwen, and that he had been able to install a fridge and a bed, he would never have left the room and would have lived a life great. The problems always started when he left the room. I think that the work, inspiration and perseverance to do well the things that have really driven to have the career that was to them and create that chemistry between them, ” says Kevin Winkler. She will remain near him until the end, as well in his career, in his private life after his death. With his daughter, Nicole (producer and consultant on the series Fosse/Verdon), his other wife, Ann Reinking, they maintain the legacy of Bob Fosse . It is also Gwen who held the hand in his hotel room while he awaits the rescue after an alert heart.
Fosse/Verdon , this is the story of a professional collaboration, but it is above all a story of passion. A passion that has sustained damage over the betrayal of Bob, but that is in spite of everything continued to be intense, beautiful and noble until the end. The man who shot Liberty Valance said to us that if the legend is more beautiful than the story, it is better to print the legend. The story of Bob and Gwen would always be more beautiful than the legends, to the point of wondering why Hollywood has so many waited to tell their story. Fosse/Verdon – season 1 Teaser VO