Neuwirth Leaves Fosse May 27, Vereen in the Wings

News   Neuwirth Leaves Fosse May 27, Vereen in the Wings Bebe Neuwirth, a veteran of Bob Fosse shows, ends her spring fling in Broadway's Fosse, the Tony Award-winning revue of the famed director-choreographer's work, May 27.

Bebe Neuwirth, a veteran of Bob Fosse shows, ends her spring fling in Broadway's Fosse, the Tony Award-winning revue of the famed director-choreographer's work, May 27.

Ben Vereen steps into the show May 28 and stays through the summer months at the Broadhurst Theatre. Neuwirth, who won a Tony playing Nicki in the Broadway revival of Sweet Charity, also won the Tony for the Fosse-style revival of Chicago. She joined the Fosse troupe April 2, appearing with co-director/choreographer Ann Reinking. Neuwirth was the solo headliner in the show beginning April 28, after Reinking left.

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As if taking a cue from one of the show's songs, "There'll Be Some Changes Made," there have been adjustments to the Tony Award-winning show: After Scott Wise left the company earlier in spring, the "Shoeless Joe" baseball sequence was cut, which reflects the running order of the streamlined national tour. With due respect to the creators, observers had pointed to the baseball ballet from Damn Yankees as out of sync with the rest of the stylized show. No sequences were added, but during the casting of Vereen, Reinking and Neuwirth, songs and sections had been variously reassigned.

A number called "Walking the Cat" that featured Reinking, Neuwirth and Ken Alan now features just Neuwirth and Alan. After Vereen left, Eugene Fleming opened the show with "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" (taking over Vereen, who had taken the song previously sung by Stephanie Pope) and continues to do so. The "Cool Hand Luke" section, originally a trio, was a duet with Reinking and Neuwirth. It became a trio again with Neuwirth as one-third of the whole April 28. Beginning April 28, Neuwirth performed "Mein Herr" (which Reinking handled) and "Bye Bye Blackbird" (now sung by Reinking) and continues sizzling in "Steam Heat."

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Reinking was originally announced to April 29, but cut out a few days ahead of schedule. Her next project is choreographing the new musical, The Visit, at the Goodman Theatre in September. Chita Rivera stars.

Adding star names to the Best Musical Tony Award-winning ensemble show has kept audiences interested in Fosse. Reinking and Neuwirth starred together in the hit revival of the Chicago.

* Neuwirth (widely known as Lilith on TV's "Cheers" and "Frasier") has returned to the still-running smash revival of Chicago several times since it began in 1996. She most recently appeared in it (next door, at the Shubert Theatre) in February and early March 2001.

Tickets are $35-$85. The Broadhurst is at 235 W. 44th Street. For ticket information, call (212) 582-1200.