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“Fascinating . . . Wasson has taken complete control of his subject.” — Wall Street Journal
The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Bob Fosse revolutionized nearly every facet of American entertainment. His signature style would influence generations of performing artists. Yet in spite of Fosse’s innumerable—including Cabaret, Pippin, All That Jazz, and Chicago, one of the longest-running Broadway musicals ever—his offstage life was shadowed by deep wounds and insatiable appetites.
To craft this richly detailed account, best-selling author Sam Wasson has drawn on a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources: friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of them speaking publicly about Fosse for the first time. With propulsive energy and stylish prose, Fosse is the definitive biography of one of Broadway and Hollywood’s most complex and dynamic icons.
“Spellbinding.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Impeccably researched.” —Vanity Fair
An NPR Best Book of the Year
Letterman’s club, prom committee, Latin club, honor society, swimming team, president of Alpha Hi-Y [the high-school branch of the YMCA], student council.” The students elected him senior-class president. Buttressed, perhaps, by his popularity, Fosse decided the time was right to stop hiding his shame and dance for the toughest crowd in Chicago: his high-school class. Consisting mostly of sketches and songs, Miss Philbrick’s annual variety show rarely featured dancers, but she made an exception
Fosse’s career, his life, depended on it. Barry said, “You would say something and he would say, ‘Why do you think that’s a good idea?’ And then you would have to spend hours explaining it and defending it. I mean, he was always probing you that way. You’d be drained. He wanted to push you and he wanted to make sure you really did think it was going to work. He’d fucking interrogate me about everything, three hundred and sixty degrees. Then I’d go home and rewrite the scene and bring it in the
believed TV audiences were uninterested in Broadway musicals, and the expense of producing commercials confined low-budget productions like Pippin to the more affordable print ads. But shooting on the cheap, in a studio in Princeton, Ostrow could save on major production fees. He picked a small number, “The Manson Trio,” and had it filmed quickly, with one camera, on June 7, 1973. Preoccupied with Lenny, Fosse left the directing to William Fucci and the dancing to Vereen, Pam Sousa, and Candy
midtown, a few square blocks Noel Behn called Fosse Country. The Deli. The DGA. The Brill Building. The Russian Tea Room. Sam’s office at West Fifty-Seventh, which Fosse could see from his place on West Fifty-Eighth. Minus the first twenty years and a couple locations, his whole life had been spent in these buildings. They buffered him from the neon sting of Broadway, ten blocks below, where dreams were torn like tickets and forgotten innocents reached out to him from the dark. “I see a hooker on
dances to be done his way, but he was open to her suggestions. Shirley added a hat trick from ‘Steam Heat’ to ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now.’ That wasn’t in the original choreography.” With special permission from the studio, Fosse would bring Haney to their sound stage before the studio opened on weekends and plug in a pot of coffee, and the two of them would work until five in the afternoon, without breaking, blocking out every number for the camera. “Bob would start with the top of each