Bob Fosse

bob_fosseBob Fosse was born in Chicago Illinois on June 23, 1927. Beginning in his early teens, he was professionally dancing in nightclubs where he discovered vaudeville and burlesque techniques. When he graduated from high school in 1945, he enrolled in the Navy. When WWII ended, he was still in boot camp. Upon fulfilling his requirements in the armed forces, he relocated to New York City to start a career. Here, he married and divorced twice. After his appearance in the 1953 movie musical Kiss Me Kate, he worked with Broadway director George Abbott and choreographer Jerome Robbins. Fosse choreographed Pajama Game which earned him his first Tony Award in 1954. The next musical he choreographed, Damn Yankees, led to a working and personal relationship with Gwen Verdon. They married in 1960 and had a daughter named Nicole.

Fosse went on to directing as well after his work as a choreographer was opposed by Broadway directors and producers. Fosse was succesful with Sweet Charity, Cabaret, and Pipin. The film adaptation of Cabaret, which Fosse choreographed and directed, won eight Academy Awards. Fosse also won Tony awards for directing and choreography for Pipin, as well as an Emmy for the variety show Liza with a Z. 

Fosse’s dance style was previously unseen on stage or on screen. His style of dance is often seen as “visionary, intense, and unbelievably driven…provocative, entertaining, and quite unlike anything ever before seen. His dances were sexual, physically demanding of even the most highly trained dancers… works that addressed the full range of human emotions.” It is also said that Fosse’s innovation of film and dance created the path towards the MTV/music video era. Bob Fosse was also the first person to be awarded the “trifecta” of entertainment awards: A Tony, an Oscar, and an Emmy.

Before his death, Fosse wrote three other musicals. After a heart attack during rehearsals for Chicago, he was able to write and choreograph his autobiographical film All That Jazz.  On September 23, 1987, Fosse died in Washington D.C. due to a heart attack.

Original Fosse “Chicago” Choreography

“Sweet Charity”

Works Cited:

“Bob Fosse.” Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016. .

Kantor, Michael. “Broadway: The American Musical – Bob Fosse.” PBS, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. .