Pittsburgh Gets Fosse Frugs and Shrugs Jan. 11-16

News   Pittsburgh Gets Fosse Frugs and Shrugs Jan. 11-16 The national tour of the hit song-and-dance revue, Fosse, struts into Pittsburgh's Benedum Center Jan. 11 after a four-month run at Chicago's Ford Center for the Performing Arts-Oriental Theatre.

The national tour of the hit song-and-dance revue, Fosse, struts into Pittsburgh's Benedum Center Jan. 11 after a four-month run at Chicago's Ford Center for the Performing Arts-Oriental Theatre.

The touring version of the Best Musical Tony Award winner, a retrospective of dances and numbers shaped by director-choreographer Bob Fosse, continues to Jan. 16 in Pittsburgh before frugging its way across the country (Houston, Boston and Cleveland are next).

The tour opened Sept. 22, 1999, in Chicago and was extended to Jan. 8, 2000, a month beyond its initial Dec. 5, 1999, close date. An announced booking in Toronto was scrapped to accommodate the Windy City run.

For Pittsburgh ticket information, call (412) 456-6666.

* For the tour, directors Richard Maltby Jr. and (co-choreographer) Ann Reinking shortened the second intermission to a pause and cut out "Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, MO," "Hot Honey Rag" and "Nowadays," streamlining the experience. The three-act Broadway staging still offers those numbers and there is no plan to cut them, according to a spokesman.

Broadway audiences expect the show that won the Tony, the spokesman said. The Broadway production, however, is expected to shorten its second intermission as well.

Next in line for the tour are Jones Hall in Houston (Jan. 19-23), Colonial Theatre in Boston (Jan. 27-Feb. 13) and the Palace Theatre in Cleveland (Feb. 15-27).

*

The national tour of the ensemble show, a tribute to and recreation of the dances and musical numbers Bob Fosse shaped for TV, film, Broadway and nightclubs, is led by Reva Rice and Linda Bowen. Featured performers are Terace Jones, Julio Monge and April Nixon. The company includes Ken Alan, Ashley Bachner, Andrew Boyle, John Carroll, Christine Colby Jacques, Dylis Croman, Janice Cronkhite, Rick Delancy, Anika Ellis, Rick Faugno, Sara Gettelfinger, Darren Gibson, Meg Gillentine, Amy Hall, Sara Henry, Shawn Ku, Gelan Lambert Jr., Matt Loehr, Krisha Marcano, Cassel Miles, Greg Reuter, Vincent Sandoval, Jennifer Savelli.

The touring company has a cast of 28, compared to Broadway's 32, according to a comparison of Playbills.

The musical revue opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City Jan. 14, 1999. Previews began Dec. 26, 1998.

The Livent-nurtured show (now under the umbrella of SFX Entertainment Company, since Livent was bought by the company) is considered "new" in the sense that it's a repackaging of routines, dance elements and full numbers devised by Fosse, the onetime dancer, stage director choreographer and film director known for his slinky, hot, isolated muscle movements. The retrospective draws from previous Broadway shows (heavily from 1978's Dancin', another Fosse revue), films, nightclub acts and TV specials. Fosse died in 1987, after suffering a heart attack.

Credited with co-conceiving Fosse are Richard Maltby Jr., Chet Walker and Ann Reinking. Fosse's widow and longtime collaborator, the legendary dancer Gwen Verdon, is "artistic advisor." The production is co choreographed by Walker and Reinking.

Walker, a former Broadway dancer in Pippin and Dancin', conceived the idea of a retrospective with Fosse as early as 1986. Reinking is a Fosse protégé who appeared in Dancin' and "All That Jazz" and recreated Fosse's work for the hit revival of Chicago, in which she also starred.

Maltby is a director and lyricist (Big, Closer Than Ever, Miss Saigon) who staged the popular Ain't Misbehavin', a revue of Fats Waller's work. Fosse, like Ain't, does not have a storyline.

The show includes recreations of famous dances from such Fosse choreographed musicals as Big Deal (his last show, in 1986), Chicago, Redhead, New Girl in Town, The Pajama Game, Pippin, Sweet Charity, Dancin', films "All That Jazz," "Kiss Me Kate" and "Cabaret," and the TV special, "Liza With a Z," and more.

Fosse designers remain Santo Loquasto (set and costumes), Andrew Bridge (lighting) and Jonathan Deans (sound). Loquasto's recent credits include Ragtime, Nine Armenians and Barrymore. Orchestrations are by Ralph Burns and Doug Besterman.

Loquasto's set in New York uses twin prosceniums within the stage. The frames roll out from the wings to create new performance perspectives and dance spaces. Other times, the prosceniums roll back flat against the wings to allow the full depth of the stage to be used.

The production's three-act form was also used when it played summer 1998 tryouts in Toronto, Boston and Los Angeles. The production plays about 2 hours and 20 minutes on the road.

Fosse is the last full production to emerge from the financially troubled Livent Inc. The sale of the bankrupt company to SFX secured the futures of Broadway and touring companies of Ragtime and Fosse. The Livent-generated Seussical, a family musical, is expected to be nurtured under SFX as well.

The Sept. 14 program for the national tour of Fosse included the following musical numbers:

ACT ONE

PART I
"Life is Just a Bowl Cherries" (Big Deal)
"Fosse's World" (dance elements inspired by "The Little Prince," How to Succeed... and other shows or films)
"Bye Bye Blackbird" ("Liza With a Z")
"From the Edge" (Dancin')
"Percussion 4" (Dancin')
"Big Spender" (Sweet Charity)
"Crunchy Granola Suite"(Dancin')

PART II
"From This Moment On" (from the film, "Kiss Me, Kate")
"Walking the Cat" (dance elements from Redhead)
"I Wanna Be a Dancin' Man" (Dancin')

ACT TWO

PART III
"Transition" (dance elements from New Girl in Town)
"Dancing in the Dark" (inspired by "the dance team of Bob Fosse and Mary Ann Niles"; dance elements of Fosse and Niles of TV programs)
"Steam Heat" (The Pajama Game)
"I Gotcha" (TV's "Liza With a Z")
"Rich Man's Frug: The Aloof, The Heavyweight, The Big Finish" (Sweet Charity)
"Cool Hand Luke" (choreographed for Gwen Verdon for 1968's "Bob Hope Special")
"Big Noise From Winnetka" (Dancin')
"Dancin' Dan/Me and My Shadows" (Big Deal)

ACT THREE (A pause replaces the intermission)

PART IV
"Glory" (Pippin)
"Manson Trio" (Pippin)
"Mein Herr" (from the film "Cabaret")
"Take Off With Us -- Three Pas de Deux" (film, "All That Jazz")
"Razzle Dazzle" (Chicago)
"Who's Sorry Now?" ("All That Jazz")
"There'll Be Some Changes Made" ("All That Jazz")
"Mr. Bojangles" (Dancin')
"Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" (Big Deal)

PART V: FINALE
"Sing, Sing, Sing" (Dancin')