Dance for Musical Theatre: Robert Louis Fosse

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Dance for Musical Theatre: Robert Louis Fosse *No Works Cited Robert Louis Fosse was born on June 23, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the son of a vaudevillian and appropriately enough was born into the theatre. As a child, the art of dance wasn’t only used as a past time by young Fosse, but rather as a way of gaining attention from friends and family. From an early age he had already started studying ballet, tap and acrobatic dance. As Fosse grew up, his talented dancing and signature showmanship had began molding his future career. While still a teenager, he performed with a partner as the Riff brothers in vaudeville and burlesque theaters. Before moving to New York and studying acting at the American Theatre Wing, Fosse finished High School in 1945 and had spent two years in the U.S Navy. He also made extra money tapping in burlesque halls and strip clubs, where he was exposed to provocative gestures and poses of strippers. After moving to New York, Fosse landed his first Broadway job in the chorus of Call Me Mister (1948). His Broadway debut, however, followed two years later in Dance Me a Song (1950). After debuting on Broadway Fosse set his sights on Hollywood with dreams of becoming the next Fred Astaire. It was film work, which included three small films including Kiss Me Kate (1953), which helped Fosse realize his place was in theatre. His return to theatre brought on Pajama Game (1954). This was Fosse’s big break, which catapulted his Broadway choreographic career. Veteran director/playwright George Abbot took a chance on a young man to choreograph his show. Fosse’s ground-breaking choreography and staging in one of... ... middle of paper ... ...ok home an emmy for Liza Minelli’s television special “Liza with a Z” and a Tony for the stage show Pippin. After being shoved out of Hollywood Fosse rose to the top. Working with such stars as Dustin Hoffman in Lenny (1974), Eric Roberts in Star 80 (1983) and Roy Scheider in his (Fosse’s) autobiographical film All That Jazz (1979). However, the relentless workload and stress conveyed in All That Jazz plagued Fosse in the long run. His chain smoking caught up with him during work on Chicago when he suffered a heart attack and his marriage to Verdon also ended in divorce. Just like his two prior ones with dancers Mary Niles and Joan McCracken. Mirroring his auto-biographical movie, All That Jazz (1979) Fosse himself died just moments before the curtain went up on the triumphant revival of Sweet Charity in 1987.
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