Sunday, December 13, 2009

Broadway on YouTube: Fosse and Robbins

Here are two commercials for Broadway shows that feature, solely, the choreography of two masters of the stage, Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins.

First, here is the commercial - a whopping 58 seconds - for Fosse's first revue, Dancin' which began a lengthy run in 1978. That show is poised for a revival soon by the Roundabout Theatre Company. I think this commercial is so 70's and so Fosse. The narration is snappy and carefree while sounding bored and unaffected. It goes right for the 1970's recession-era pocket book. And the visuals are all Fosse. Slo-motion dance moves in isolation by dancers (including a sexy young Ann Reinking), who look alternately joyous, exhilarated and sophisticatedly bored. You gotta love Fosse!

The second commercial is for Jerome Robbins' Broadway, another song and dance revue, only this one made up of dances from shows created by the legend himself. The show featured lengthy segments of West Side Story, On the Town and Fiddler on the Roof. Tony winner of Best Musical 1989, it was, as advertised, "the Musical of Musicals." This ad works perfectly. You really get what you see in the commercial. Notorious for a 6 month rehearsal period and an original cast that had half of them putting their notice in on opening night, Broadway still hasn't seen something of this importance and magnitude since. Regardless of its impact on the company, the end result was stunning dancing and what amounted to a series of small plays, so specific was the character driven choreography.

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