Bob Fosse's "Dancin'" commercial - 1978, and a new production

This came out last week (from


(Performances begin Fall 2011 at Studio 54 on Broadway, 254 West 54th Street.)

Roundabout Theatre Company presents a new Broadway production of Bob Fosse's DANCIN', directed by Graciela Daniele.

This is the first production of DANCIN' since the original 1978 production. Bob Fosse's original choreography will be recreated on the stage of Studio 54. Creative consultation will be provided by Nicole Fosse (Bob Fosse's daughter). Cast members and the design team will be announced shortly.

Bob Fosse'S DANCIN' is a masterful tribute to the art of movement featuring legendary choreography by Bob Fosse and a score of jazz, classical and pop songs! Fosse was one of the greatest and most influential figures in dance and theatre history, with works including Cabaret, Chicago, Sweet Charity and Pippin, as well as the recipient of two Tony Awards, three Emmys and an Academy Award®.

The New York Times article says that a tour is possible.  I would love to see it if it came here!

NaBloPoMo/Follow up to Saturday's post/"And the Father will dance" by Mark Hayes/"Mr. Cellophane" - Ben Vereen and the Muppets

National Blog Posting Month! (which means daily blogging)  I'm going to participate with Moomin Light again this year (I always post daily on Birds and Blossoms and Durham:  Top of the Triangle).  However, there is one change, for me, from previous years.  Some days will have photos and some will have writing.  I'm not going to try to write every day.  I found that I don't write longer posts that way, and that just makes me cranky. 

For those who were might have wondered from Saturday's post, I did go to church yesterday.  I wasn't nearly as angsty as I was Saturday night, and some of that angst, or at least my allowing myself to express it, came from other things in my life (which I don't write about).  Things went pretty well.  I only had two "Mr. Cellophane"* moments, but you can't expect everyone to say hello, or look at you, just because you say hello (unless you're walking around downtown Hillsborough, in which case it usually happens).  It would have helped if those hadn't been the first two people I passed when I got in the building.  Once I got into the choir room, things got better.  They always do.

I love the anthem, And the Father Will Dance (by Mark Hayes), we sang yesterday.  I finally realized that it was partly because it reminds me of some of the choral music I sang back in high school and college.  I didn't do any choral singing again until I joined the choir a few years ago.  Here is And the Father Will Dance, sung by the TMC Choir:

I realized, while we were singing the anthem (probably during one of the held Ds), that I'm going to keep going to church. 

Would I miss a performance opportunity?!


* Cellophane, Mr. Cellophane
Should have been my name, Mr. Cellophane
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I'm there! (from the musical, Chicago)

I used this video from The Muppet Show because I couldn't find a Broadway version of the song, and I don't care for the movie version.  I love hearing/watching Ben Vereen sing/dance just about anything!

[Hat tip to the choir member who sent out the YouTube video link]

Friday Fun Song: "Willkommen" (from Cabaret) - Joel Grey and others, plus the Glee version of "Hot Patootie" (and assorted other things)

Here's an example of the sort of train my thoughts run on. 

There's a new character, played by John Stamos, in Glee this season.  My favorite performance on the recent Glee version of Rocky Horror is his performance of Hot Patootie.  I really enjoy the dancing.:

I didn't realize that he has also done a good bit of Broadway, including playing Albert in the recent revival of Bye, Bye, Birdie (his part starts at 0:50). [Bill Irwin plays Mr. McAfee (his part starts at 5:47).]  He also played the emcee in the recent Broadway revival of Cabaret.  This revival portrays the emcee in a very different manner than the original 1970's version.  I don't care for it.

Of course, I had to go looking for the original version with Joel Grey.  He won a Tony for the original Broadway version in 1967 and an Academy Award for the movie version in 1972.*  In one of my favorite songs from Cabaret, Willkommen, he's deliciously creepy in the movie version - and he's the creepiest when he's acting the friendliest.  Unfortunately, the movie version is not embeddable (Click here to see it.  If you haven't seen the movie:  Yes, that's Michael York.).  Here's the stage version, also, excellent, from the Tony Awards (Harold Prince directed the original Broadway version; Bob Fosse directed the movie.  I'm partial to the movie version, of course.):

He also performed this, without strange makeup and behavior, on the Muppet Show in 1976

Actually, there's a part 2 to this train of thought, but I'll leave that for another day.


...Kander's and Ebb's fascination with the collaborative process began with their work on Cabaret, where a long experimental period permitted actors such as Joel Grey to contribute ideas toward the creation of their characters...


* One of only eight actors to win both the Tony and the Oscar for the same role.  From

Eight performers have won the Tony and later the Oscar for the same role: José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac (Tony: 1947/Oscar: 1950), Shirley Booth in Come Back, Little Sheba (1950/1953), Yul Brynner in The King and I (1952/1956), Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1957/1964), Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker (1960/1962), Paul Scofield in A Man for All Seasons (1962/1966), Jack Albertson in The Subject Was Roses (1965/1968) and Joel Grey in Cabaret (1967/1973). Lila Kedrova did it the other way around. She won an Oscar for Zorba the Greek, and 20 years later won a Tony for the same role in Zorba (1964 Oscar/1984 Tony).

"Steam Heat" from Fosse

We started learning "Steam Heat" in Theater Dance class today.  I'm going to have to work on the section at 0:44 - doing the "knee clap" is difficult enough for me, but adding the head roll makes it even more challenging.  We also do something more simple with the hats at 1:14 - otherwise we'd ruin the dance by having to chase the hats around the floor.  "Steam Heat" is originally from the musical, The Pajama Game;  this version is from the musical revue, Fosse.



[We had a wonderful vacation.  I might even get around to blogging about it if we have a few rainy days.  For the most part, I didn't want to come home, but Theater Dance gave me something to look forward to (besides seeing older son!).]

Bookstores that I wish were libraries

Of course, you could say that about a large Barnes and Noble, but it's not the same.  As much as I enjoy the occasional browse in B & N, a good, independent bookstore, with its own style and taste is far more interesting.  I love going to a bookstore that has a good, but limited (because I only have so much time to browse), selection of intriguing books. The best ones are always the ones I wish I could borrow from because I could never afford to pay for all the interesting books there. 

P5290512s Two of those bookstores are in the Triangle - The Regulator, in Durham, and Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.  We went to two more on vacation.

Trident Booksellers and Cafe is on Newbury St. in Boston's Back Bay - just about a block from my favorite ice cream place.  The bookstore, my favorite store in Boston, was the last stop on my just-a-few-weeks-late Mother's Day wander around Boston [photo, right, by older son]. 

I found many interesting books there.  I bought three:

Lyrically interweaving discoveries from science, psychology, music theory, paleontology, and philosophy, Robert Jourdain brilliantly examines why music speaks to us in ways that words cannot, and why we form such powerful connections to it. 
Critic Acocella's deep knowledge of and organic feel for dance infuses her fleet-footed and witty prose. Like a dancer, she makes her art look easy, which it certainly is not, and what poise and range she evinces. Acocella has written expertly and vividly about dance for the New Yorker and other venues and is a keen literary critic as well. She has now collected 30 of her stellar artist profiles, electrifying portraits that seamlessly pair biography and criticism and draw authoritatively on psychology and history. Add to that Acocella's versatility and knack for choosing just the right individuals. Accompanied by superb photographs of the artists, Acocella's portraits bring into focus such complex figures as Lucia Joyce, James' mad dancing daughter; Mikhail Baryshnikov; Martha Graham; Bob Fosse; Marguerite Yourcenar; Dorothy Parker; Philip Roth; M. F. K. Fisher; and Susan Sontag; as well as the iconic Mary Magdalene and Joan of Arc. How agile these firmly rooted yet whirling essays are, and how very enlightening. Acocella's portraits are so much fun to read, they feel like indulgences rather than writings that do no less than enrich and sustain culture. 

A fantastic book which I just happened to find on the discount table (along with the second one)!

We also spent quite a while browsing in Artists + Authors in Marblehead, MA.  We just had to be careful to stick to the used, but not rare books. From the less unusual (but still very interesting) category, I bought The True Believer:  Thoughts on the nature of mass movements by Eric Hoffer, and we bought The Lore of Ships by Tre Tryckare for younger son. 

*  I linked to Amazon just to show you the books because Trident doesn't have an online store. 

A link post (which includes Liza Minnelli)

I thought I'd get lots of blogging done this weekend.  You see, after all the busy-ness of the last few months (good busy, but some of the busiest I've ever been, just the same), I decided to take this weekend and schedule nothing. 

Nothing at all.

I decided that, besides laundry, dishes, and the every day stuff, I'd just do whatever I felt like.  What a bizarre concept.  I was sure that I'd get lots of blogging done, but I never really felt like blogging.  What did I feel like?


TalesfromOuterSuburbia I'd start reading a book, or downloading photos, and I'd get sleepy and go take another nap.  Along with sleeping well at night, I slept two to three hours during the day.  I haven't even finished any of the books I'm reading (Small Pools, Unseen Academicals, and Tales from Outer Suburbia). 

I almost didn't write this part of the post because it seems so... shameful to get so little done over a whole weekend.  However, catching up with the last two weeks' worth of Glee put me in a good mood this evening so I decided to confess anyway. 

Here are a few interesting things I ran across the last few weeks:

...So often the beauty of compassion between partners is overlooked or forgotten, but when it exists the connection between the two can be felt by everyone in the room...
If anyone had asked you, a decade ago, to predict who would be the biggest star of 2010, you might have said Jim Carrey. Or Tom Hanks. Or Tom Cruise. They headlined the biggest movies of 2000, after all...

Bob Fosse - "Snake in the Grass" and Michael Jackson - "Billie Jean"

A friend posted this video on Facebook yesterday.  It blends Bob Fosse's dance for Snake in the Grass from The Little Prince with Michael Jackson's performance of Billie Jean - showing Fosse's influence on Jackson.  Lots of fun!


Here's the complete performance of Snake in the Grass.

"The Little Prince" and "A Snake in the Grass" - Bob Fosse

TheLittlePrince The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is one of our favorite books.  It's one of those books that we hadn't wanted to see performed because we didn't want a performance to disturb our mental pictures of the book (or worse, to ruin them with a bad performance). 

We did go to see the Playmakers' holiday performance of their play, The Little Prince last December.  Younger son wasn't sure if he wanted to see it because he was worried about how they could do parts of the story onstage.  I didn't have a chance to blog about it, but it was an excellent performance.  The actors were great, and the stage designers were able to bring the sets and characters of Saint-Exupéry's unusual story to life without overdoing them or ruining them. 

Kiley This gave us hope for further performances so, last week, we watched the 1974 movie, The Little Prince.  It's an all-star production:  Directed by Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain),* music by Lerner and Lowe (My Fair Lady, Camelot), and starring Richard Kiley as the Pilot (right), Steven Warner as the Little Prince (right), Gene Wilder as the Fox (below, right**), Donna McKechnie as the Rose, and Bob Fosse as the Snake.

Parts, of it I loved, and parts, I didn't.   When we finished watching, we enthused about the movie.  The actors do wonderful work with their parts. 

However, after a while, I finally admitted that I didn't like the music. Others agreed - we actually regretted it when the actors started singing.... well, except for Richard Kiley.  He's got such a beautiful voice that I could happily listen to him read the phone book (click to listen to him sing Night of my Nights from Kismet***).

Wilder As much as I love Lerner and Lowe's music, it wasn't right for the story of The Little Prince.  It's a stylized story - in the spare number of characters, the simple, unvarnished settings, and the carefulness of the characters thoughts.  Lerner and Lowe's music is lush and expansive, and it seemed to weigh the scenes down.  I could see Stephen Sondheim possibly doing well writing a score for The Little Prince because he does well with stylized stories.

The song that worked the best in the musical is A Snake in the Grass, sung and danced by Bob Fosse.  I think part of what made this song work is that they had to let Fosse choreograph it (or at least most of it), and he also is excellent at stylized material:****

Would I recommend movie version of The Little Prince?   If you love the story and the actors, yes (You may even enjoy the music more than we did). 

* Along with Kismet, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Face, The Pajama Game, Royal Wedding, Damn Yankees, and Charade.  On the Town was his first movie!

** Gene Wilder's photo is of the fox in chapter 21: 

"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . ."

*** It's fun to be married to a bass.  Dear husband is singing along with Night of my Nights while he cuts older son's hair.

**** I love it when he gets the sand out of his pocket to do a soft shoe!