Posted by Helouul 2012-11-29 04:52:12
I'm a student from Belgium, and I have to write a diary for a contest. I've chosen to write about Gwen Verdon, when she played Roxie Hart in the 1975's Chicago production.
If you saw Gwen once, if you came to the show, please tell me everything you know about it, the actors, their relationships ect... It'd help me a lot! Sorry for my mistakes, I'm still learning English
Oh and if you have got some pictures, I'd like to have a look at them too !
Posted by Helouul 2012-11-29 05:45:59
For example if you know the reason why Gwen left the show after a few months.. let me know
And also.. where Gwen and her husband Bob Fosse used to live!!
Posted by BrodyFosse123 2012-11-29 11:27:15
Gwen Verdon only left the show for several weeks to have surgery on nodes in her throat after inhaling a feather during the show's finale. Liza Minnelli famously filled in for her during this time with the request that Gwen Verdon's name remain on all advertisement, in the Playbill, etc. Liza's run was not advertised though it was not a hidden secret and ticket sales increased enormously before and during her limited run in the show. Gwen returned once she recouperated and continued in CHICAGO for over a year, including premiering the 1st National Tour of the musical.
Posted by eperkins 2012-11-29 12:39:15
And don't forget to goggle her. You'll turn up more information. And there is some footage on Youtube.
Posted by SugarBabyBounce 2012-11-29 12:43:14
This is a great resource as well. Good luck!
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-11-29 18:42:21
Helouul, I saw the 1975 show many times, always with Gwen Verdon. (I wasn't in NYC during Minnelli's run.)
I'll be happy to share anything I can remember about the show, but I didn't know Miss Verdon or Mr. Fosse personally and I don't know what a "diary" is in the context of a contest.
In brief, although Verdon perhaps wasn't quite as good a dancer or singer as Chita Rivera by then, she more than made up for it with sheer star power and comic timing. One of the funniest performances I've ever seen!
There was also something about the cheerfully amoral way she played Roxie that made the dark material more tolerable at a time when the show seemed too cynical. (Of course nowadays we know it wasn't nearly cynical enough.)
Although I didn't know Verdon, I did have one encounter that perhaps says something about the type of person she was. During the curtain call, Verdon and Rivera threw roses into the audience. At one performance, I was sitting in the front row and a rose from Verdon fell into my lap. As I picked it up, the woman seated behind me hit me in the head with her pocketbook and grabbed the rose out of my hand.
I just sat there stunned, thinking, "Really? Did that just happen? Over a flower?" But apparently Miss Verdon saw it because she walked to the edge of the apron, went down on one knee and put another rose in my hand. I was not only touched but astonished she was aware what was going on in the audience.
I don't know that story will help you, but at least it's something nobody else will know.
Posted by Demitri2 2012-11-29 19:41:32
My mom was a huge Chita Rivera fan having first seen her in WEST SIDE STORY and raving about this incredible talent she had seen. Knowing that for her birthday one year I scrapped up whatever dollars I could and purchased tickets to CHICAGO. She had already taken me to see Rivera in BAJOUR so I knew I was in for a treat. What I didn't know was how impressed I'd be by seeing Gwen Verdon for the first time. She was a revelation to me and had more talent in her "right finger on her left hand" than any other performer I had seen. There was something so capitivating and magical about her. She never pushed or went over the top but instead was able to reel you in just by being unique. She was lovable but never cloying. And what a gifted dancer with an incredible body. Definitely a one of a kind. I remember during intermission overhearing two young girls talking. One asked the other how old she thought Verdon was. The other said, "Thirtyish?" Ha...I believe she was fifty at the time.
There's quite a bit of clips on Youtube on Verdon.
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-11-29 21:32:40
Well put, Dimitri. I haven't seen the late crop of Roxies, so maybe they have all been brilliant. But Gwen Verdon took lines like "I gotta pee!" and made them seem almost witty.
Nothing demonstrates this, IMO, better than the "Roxie" number. It has what, six notes? And yet in Verdon's hands it was a show-stopper.