Gwen Verdon was born on January 13th 1925 and died on October 18th 2000 at Aged 75.

The creative processes for a production can be daunting without the relevant experience, or in Mr. Fosse’s case, he was pure genius.  He was able to bring to life a production and also get the best out of his artists and performers.  This article will give a glimpse into the creative processes of Bob Fosse and Sweet Charity.

Choreographer: Bob Fosse.

The Show was Conceived, Staged/Directed and Choreographed by Mr. Fosse.

As a Director Mr. Fosse said, “I think I can say truthfully that directing ‘Sweet Charity’ gave me the most exhilarating time of my life.”

Mr. Fosse was ecstatic that Miss. Verdon had returned to Broadway after being absent for about 6 years. Mr. Fosse stated: “This was to me my present to her on her return to Broadway, so I tried to get into the show everything that Gwen could do so well.” He also stated about the “I’m A Brass Band” number: “a dance of sheer elation and joy.”

Gwen Verdon - Photo from the web.

Gwen Verdon – Photo from the web.

He also spoke of Miss Verdon in her role as “Charity.”

“Gwen was at her peak in Sweet Charity because she was old enough to know what to do, and her body was young enough to cooperate.”

Broadway dancer Kathryn Doby (and later, assistant to Mr. Fosse) talks about her audition and her time with the Broadway show, Sweet Charity.

“I auditioned for choreographers who would just sit out in the audience and let the assistants handle the audition, and never say anything to the dancers. Bob was a lot more involved and up onstage himself. If somebody was a terrific dances, but wasn’t right for the show, he would always tell them, ‘For this show we’re looking for something else. But keep it up, you were wonderful. And thank you for coming.’”

Dancer, David Gold spoke of Mr. Fosse and his time on Sweet Charity.

“He liked dancers with a core ballet technique because they had a strong spine and a cleanliness of line. But he would never use people where the ballet technique showed through. He didn’t want it to be the centre that you’re concentrating on.  He wanted you to be involved in what the dance was about.”

Sweet Charity, 1966 opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on January, 29th 1966. The show had a total of 608 performances. Sweet Charity, 1966, had a total of 8 Nominations at the 1966 Tony Awards, with One Win in the category “Best Choreography” for Bob Fosse.

SWEET CHARITY, Gwen Verdon Theatre & Opera Advertising Poster

SWEET CHARITY, Gwen Verdon Theatre & Opera Advertising Poster

The Verdon Fosse Legacy LLC

Did you know?

The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS) ran for 24 Seasons from 1948 to 1971 and had a total of 1068 Episodes featuring performers/artists, from the Vaudeville days, Broadway Shows and Hollywood.

Choreographers (TV Show):

Over the numerous seasons of The Ed Sullivan Show, there were various Choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Hugh Lambert, John Wray, June Taylor, Robert Sidney, Bob Fosse, Louis Johnson, and David Winters.

What do you think of Gwen Verdon’s performance?

Today’s gem is from Season 20, Episode 4 of The Ed Sullivan “Toast of the Town” with Gwen Verdon performing “I’m A Brass Band” from the Broadway show, Sweet Charity, 1966. This Episode aired Tuesday, 04th October, 1966.


About Andrew Choreographer:

My passion is teaching classes for various ages, levels and abilities through jazz dance, exercising and/or warm up classes as well as writing about my chosen craft.

I have choreographed for Rick Evans Band, and had roles on the TV series Neighbours, The Flying Doctors and various TV commercials.

I place a strong emphasis on technical dance training, including dance education of past and present dancers/choreographers who have contributed to the arts.

I am contactable on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.