With Ann Reinking and Ben Vereen still a fresh addition to the Broadway Fosse company, producers announced March 6 that Bebe Neuwirth, a veteran of shows developed by director-choreographer Bob Fosse, will join the troupe at the Broadhurst Theatre April 3.
Neuwirth, who won Tony Awards for the 1980s revival of Fosse's Sweet Charity (playing Nickie) and for the 1990s revival of Fosse's Chicago (playing Velma opposite Reinking) will strut in Fosse with Reinking, who is extending beyond her previously announced exit April 1. Reinking's current co-star, Ben Vereen, leaves Fosse April 1.
The lady killer-dillers of Chicago will sing and dance together in Fosse for four weeks, to April 29. The "track" Neuwirth will play is still being determined, a spokesman said.
Fosse does have a section that includes "Nowadays" and "Hot Honey Rag," of Chicago, and diehard Chicago fans would be hungry for a reunion of the pair in those sequences.
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 is currently in the show, at the Shubert Theatre, to March 11. (The Shubert and the Broadhurst are next door to each other.) Vereen shares the stage with Reinking through April 1. *
Reinking, the choreographer who helped create and develop the hit musical, Fosse, stepped into the Tony Award-winning musical revue at the Broadhurst Theatre March 2.
Dancer Reinking was a longtime favorite of director choreographer Bob Fosse, whose work the show celebrates, and appeared in a featured roles is his popular revue, Dancin', and in his film, "All That Jazz." She shares the stage with Vereen, a Fosse veteran from Pippin and "All That Jazz." Vereen joined Fosse Jan. 26.
Reinking's dance duties in the show include "Big Spender," "Mein Herr" and a new duet version of "Dancin' Dan" ("Me and My Shadow") with Vereen. She weaves in and out of numbers, with the ensemble.
Reinking, linked personally and professionally to Fosse, co directed Fosse with Richard Maltby Jr. and also co choreographed the show (and has co-conception credit). She also choreographed (and starred in) the 1996 revival of Chicago, now at the Shubert Theatre. She staged the Chicago numbers "in the style of" Fosse, who created the original production in 1975. Several numbers from Chicago are seen in Fosse.
Fosse opened Jan. 14, 1999, and won the Best Musical Tony Award in 1999. It marked the last Broadway musical that actress-dancer Gwen Verdon worked on. Verdon, Fosse's widow and dance collaborator from such shows as New Girl in Town, Redhead, Sweet Charity and Damn Yankees was Fosse's artistic advisor, working closely with pal Reinking.
Vereen, meanwhile, continues in his track, opening the show with "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries." Vereen and the newly modified Fosse debuted Jan. 26 at the Broadhurst Theatre. The tracks for the Tony Award-winning actor now includes "Dancin' Dan," "Razzle Dazzle," "Mr. Bojangles" and "Manson Trio," which he famously danced in Bob Fosse's Pippin (earning him the Tony Award), and more.
Vereen, 54, is no stranger to being a "leading player" in a show linked to choreographer-director Bob Fosse. "Leading Player" was the character he performed in Fosse's staging of Pippin in 1972. "The Manson Trio" is the slinky straw-hat number he danced with two women in Pippin's famous TV ad. Vereen performed a featured part in Fosse's autobiographical film, "All That Jazz." Reinking also appeared in the picture.
Vereen heads a cast of 32 dancers, featuring Eugene Fleming, Dana Moore, Elizabeth Parkinson, Keith Roberts and Scott Wise, all performing late director-choreographer Fosse's great — and lesser-known — musical numbers from his stage, film and television hits.
In Pippin, Vereen sang "Magic to Do," a kind of signature song for the actor-dancer, but the tune is not being interpolated into Fosse for his tenure. He recently played Billy Flynn (singing "Razzle Dazzle") in the Fosse-style revival of Chicago, in Las Vegas. The actor-dancer made headlines when he survived a near-fatal accident and went on to appear in Broadway's Jelly's Last Jam. He also appeared in Broadway's original Jesus Christ Superstar and Grind, and the Madison Square Garden production of A Christmas Carol. His official website is at www.BenVereen.com.
Tickets are $35-$85. The Broadhurst is at 235 W. 44th Street. For ticket information, call (212) 582-1200.