Windy, Mike, and Vinnie explore the history of movies, one musical at a time!
Episode 54: Broadway Revue FOSSE, Part 2 (Fossepocalypse Bonus Round)
Jazz Hams! The Fossepocalypse is finally over!
(No more roving bands of cannibalistic jazz dancers. No more Death by Jazz Hands. No more Broadway Thunderdome. (Damn, that’s a thing I really want now.))
Join us as we finish talking about the 2002 revue FOSSE, which is also a review of our previous months of immersion in the evolution of the Fosse style. We have definite opinions about which numbers lived up to the originals, which dancers delivered the goods, and which dancers can pick up their plane ticket home.
If you want even more Fosse, the FX miniseries FOSSE/VERDON is spectacular. And Windy highly recommends the Fosse biography by Sam Wasson.
This may be the end of this particular project, but join us for our next episode as we wade into uncharted waters!
Episode 53: Broadway Revue FOSSE, Part 1 (Fossepocalypse Bonus Round)
We’re back, Jazz Hams, with our final Fossepocalypse – the bonus round viewing of the Broadway revue FOSSE!
This 1999 revue won the Tony for Best Musical that year. Originally conceived by Chet Walker (a regular dance captain for Fosse), the show toured out of town through most of 1998. The full credits are: “The musical was directed by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Ann Reinking, with original choreography by Bob Fosse. The co-choreographer was Ann Reinking, with choreography re-creations by Chet Walker and dance reconstructions by Lainie Sakakura and Brad Musgrove with Gwen Verdon as artistic advisor.”
Trivia: HAMILTON choreographer Andy Blankenbauer was in the original Broadway cast!
This production was filmed as part of PBS Great Performances in 2002 with Ann and Ben Vereen stepping into a few numbers to add sexy star appeal. (Sadly, Ben doesn’t move the way he used to, but he’s still got all that charisma!)
If you’re a fan of Fosse, seek out this DVD to see little-known pieces (like the “Cool Hand Luke” trio) beautifully recreated. It’s also a chance to see familiar pieces in a new light (or see parts you’ve never seen before because of Fosse’s editing style!).
There is no IMDB entry for this one, folks.
Episode 52: All That Jazz, Part 2 (Fossepocalypse #11.5)
This is is, Jazz Hams.
The official conclusion of the Fossepocalypse. (There will be one bonus round after this, but the musical filmography of Mr. Bob Fosse ends here.)
We discuss John Lithgow as Michael Bennet stand in, the weird head canon of Richard Dreyfuss as Joe Gideon, and the producing shenanigans pulled to get this film over the finish line.
The film ended up with a slew of Oscar noms, including a Best Actor nom for Roy Scheider, but didn’t win any of the big awards. It did tie for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, though (with a Kurosawa film). (Wrap your head around that!)
Join us as we celebrate a terrific entertainer, not much of a humanitarian, and a very complicated friend!
Episode 51: All That Jazz, Part 1 (Fossepocalypse #11)
The Fossepocalypse nears its ultimate denouement as we watch Fosse’s autobiographical masterpiece ALL THAT JAZZ.
The movie stands on its own (boy howdy, does it) but oh the layers when you know your Fosse work and history! The egotistical frustrations of making PIPPIN a Fosse show, the insanity of creating a Broadway show while editing a movie, the complications of directing your wife and lover while sleeping with the rest of the cast…Fosse’s cinematic version of himself was unflinchingly honest and ugly.
We see the truly loving father, the honest terror of trying to create, the lingering trauma of sexual assault. Casting Roy Scheider was yet another genius move on Fosse’s part. Scheider’s innate warmth keeps us invested at even the most hateful self-centered moments.
Beyond the autobiographical, this is one of the best “backstage musical” movies ever made. In the opening audition sequence, Fosse captures life upon and behind the wicked stage with all the brutal sweat and short-lived hopes, and also shows us the shallow maneuvering the often happens behind the scenes and before the artistry. It’s also a morality tale on the costs of art – the metaphor of “creating art is like giving birth” has never been so honestly bloody and painful.
And it’s funny and sexy. So, “take off with us!” And enjoy this week’s episode!
Episode 50: Chicago Part 2 (Fossepocalypse #10.5)
Welcome back to the Fossepocalypse, Jazzhandians, with the capital city located in CHICAGO.
This week’s conclusion discusses Little Mary Sunshine, Renee Zellweger as a puppet, and the showstopping Catherine Z-J. We give a lot of love to John C. Reilly as Amos (deservedly so), the slick confidence and tapping prowess of Richard Gere, and the *chef’s kiss* costumes of Colleen Atwood.
CHICAGO was a dream project for Gwen (and Bob back when it was Gwen-and-Bob). In true Fosse fashion, Bob was also working on the film LENNY while creating the show – and this was the beginning of severe health problems (not one but TWO heart attacks during this period). CHICAGO was shut out at the Tonys by Michael Bennett’s A CHORUS LINE – I think we can guess how Bob felt about Michael after that.
Don’t leave us hanging like Mr. Cellophane – take a listen!
Episode 49: Chicago (Fossepocalypse #10) Part 1
Listen up, you jazz babies! This week’s episode is a classic of stage and screen – CHICAGO.
The original cast was titanic in talent: Gwen Verdon as Roxie, Chita Rivera as Velma, and Jerry Orbach as Billy Flynn. The 1996 revival featured Bebe Neuwirth (yes, from Cheers) as Velma and Ann Reinking as Roxie (with Joel Grey as Amos and James Naughton as Billy).
And then Rob Marshall made his 2002 movie. His choreography is a tribute to Fosse. Catherine Zeta-Jones is a killer cool Velma, and Richard Gere is a surprisingly effective and conniving Billy. John C. Reilly is a heartbreaking Amos. And Renee Zellweger is also in the film (Windy’s not a fan, but honestly – she’s not bad. She’s just overshadowed by the others.)
If you’ve never seen it – come on, babe, why don’t we paint the town?! And then take a listen!
1976 Tony Awards Performance – “All I Care About is Love” with Jerry Orbach
1996 Revival – Bebe Neuwirth “All That Jazz”
Great even if you don’t like musicals
Great discussions about a genre I don’t know much about or watch very often. Little Shop of Horrors is probably my favorite episode since that is the one I am most familiar with.
While good intentions, language is a barrier
Warning: take note of explicit rating. This podcast drops many f bombs and too frequently uses foul slang when other words would work better. This undermines a knowledgeable host.
My new favorite podcast
I had heard of a Reel Education before, but I haven't listened to it. I recently heard about A Reel Education: The Musical on another podcast I frequently listen to. I love musicals. I always have, all of my life. I'm not caught up yet but I'm working my way through and I have LOVED every episode so far. I look forward to hearing episodes about some of my favorites and seeing how the hosts feel about some of the terrible musicals that are out there. I will definitely continue to be an avid listener as long as they keep making episodes!