Was Ann Reinking copying Gwen Verdon in the 1996 Chicago?

Musicaldudepeter
Broadway Star
joined:3/18/10
When Reinking played Roxie in the original cast of the revival of Chicago, she played it very a la Gwen Verdon... And she claims that Verdon 'taught' her the role... But it sounds like a Verdon imitation - Reinking presumably thought this was the definitive way to play the role. Any thoughts?
blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
It was Ann Reinking's APRIL FOOLS!
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
kingslim
Swing
joined:5/5/11
I disliked her performance..Just my opinion..Thought it was to cartoonish but her dancing was just amazing.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
I like Reinking's "after Fosse" choreography overall a lot, much better than Marshall's nondescript choreo for the movie, but I sorta wonder why she didn't just try to revive the actual Fosse choreography (Hot Honey Rag, aside.) When you watch some of the original numbers next to hers, they are usually SO similar, and yet Fosse's steps are just that much more ideal (ie compare the Tony performance of something basic like All I Care About to the revival.)

I am glad that Kander and Ebb insisted they go back to the Me and My Baby cakewalk though (which was cut out of town because Gwen found she had too many vocals and replaced with the danced "strut"--which you can see, actually Reinking recreate on youtube--though I believe it was reinstated when Liza went on.)
Brick
Broadway Legend
joined:11/21/06
I wouldn't say she was copying, but I do think the performance was influenced by Gwen and Fosse's original interpretation of the character. Ann did work with Gwen when replacing her on the original production, and was certainly close with Fosse. So, she was likely familiar with their ideas when they created the character. I would imagine, then, she brought that understanding to the room when creating her performance for the revival. This seems especially reflected in the way in which her performance seems more crass and vaudevillian in style than the Roxies that followed.

I should also add, Ann's breathy purr of a voice has always been similar to Gwen's quiver. So, there are some similarities that would make the effect of that influence more noticeable (or even similar) than if she, say, had a powerhouse voice.

Updated On: 4/1/14 at 09:31 PM
WOSQ
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/03
Ann was originally hired only to choreograph the Chicago revival at City Center. When whoever-it-was dropped out close to rehearsals, Ann stepped in since she did know the role having played it for 6-8 months in 1977--while wearing a strawberry blonde wig which did not go with her natural coloring at all.
"If my life weren't funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable." --Carrie Fisher
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
I'm tempted to gear this thread slightly off topic since I've always been curious about the relationship between Fosse, Verdon and Reinking. Were Verdon and Fosse together when he hooked up with Reinking or were they already separated?
StageStruckLad
Featured Actor
joined:3/13/13
Carlos, get the newly released (and quite long) Fosse biography. It's very entertaining, and it has everything you would want to know about the intertwined relationships of Fosse, Verdon and Reinking. Ann was interviewed for the book.
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Thank you StageStruckLad. Is it "Fosse" by Sam Wasson?
gleek4114
Broadway Star
joined:5/24/13
"Amateurs copy, professionals steal." - Alice Ripley
evic
Leading Actor
joined:3/5/04
Having seen the original show numerous times and second acting it about 100, I say that yes she did do a Gwen imitation of the voice- the same shakiness, the same intonations and it worked for the character. Ann was excellent as Roxie - funny, brilliant dancer of course. She took the voice one step further in the revival (I gotta Paaaaaeeeeeeee), but she was really sensational in the part acting wise.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
For anyone curious, here's the video of Ann doing "The Strut" which, as I mentioned, was what replaced the full song/cakewalk version of Me and My Baby out of town in the original production to give Gwen less singing (it was put back for Liza, and Fred Ebb insisted it be used for the revival.) I prefer the full song/cakewalk, but this dancing's pretty great. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df3UNn7CCx4
east side story
Leading Actor
joined:4/21/11
Who did Reinking replace at the last minute prior to City Center?
StageStruckLad
Featured Actor
joined:3/13/13
Yes, Carlos, that's the book.
StageStruckLad
Featured Actor
joined:3/13/13
Eric, that video was amazing. God, those legs! Thanks so much for posting the link!
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
That clip is wonderful, Eric, thanks for sharing. It looks like she might be wearing the jacket/top she wore in the hospital fantasy sequence in All That Jazz in that clip.
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
AHTC
Chorus Member
joined:7/20/10
Ann replaced Liza last minute.
TotallyEffed
Broadway Star
joined:3/29/07
Liza was supposed to do it at City Center? Do spill that tea!
Musicaldudepeter
Broadway Star
joined:3/18/10
I would like to highlight the point that someone made much earlier in the post that Reinking's portrayal of Roxie was indeed extremely caricature-ish and vaudevillian, and I agree that no one has really brought that same type of interpretation to the role since - I think she was brilliant... seems her Roxie was a homage to Verdon the way her choreography was to Fosse. Interesting thread!
Musicaldudepeter
Broadway Star
joined:3/18/10
BTW, why wasn't Reinking nominated with Neuwirth for best actress at the Tonys? It always strikes me funny that Velma is the award-magnet part. Neuwirth won in '97, Ute Lemper won in London in '98, and Zeta Jones won the Oscar for the movie (supporting actress) in '02... Since Roxie is generally knows as the more 'acting' role, it's strange that Velma is always the award winning one. Maybe it's cos it's such a show-stopping, all singing, all dancing, all everything kind of role - so quintessentially musical theatre. The Tonys gave Reinking the award for choreography the year Neuwirth won, so they must have felt they were honoring her there instead. Reminds me of 2012, where Jan Maxwell was nommed for Follies, and Bernadette Peters was snubbed, although Peters was being given the Isabelle S. award.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
I believe in the actual stage version of "The Strut" part of the joke is Verdon/Roxie performs it with a pregnancy pad. In the Reinking video, the blond guy dancing with her (blanking on the name) went on to be one of the more prominent male dancers in the Chicago revival (you can see him in basically all of the early promo performances...)
ghostlight2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/5/04
"Who did Reinking replace at the last minute prior to City Center?"

I don't think anyone was replaced last minute. I think they just never found anyone they really liked for the role, so they defaulted to Ann. If anyone has evidence that someone was actually cast and replaced last minute, I'd love a link to that information.

"In the Reinking video, the blond guy dancing with her (blanking on the name) went on to be one of the more prominent male dancers in the Chicago revival (you can see him in basically all of the early promo performances...)"
David Warren-Gibson
evic
Leading Actor
joined:3/5/04
Eric- thanks for that great clip....I laughed imagining Melanie Griffith trying to do this number...she could barely walk in time when she did the revival. Is the other dancer Larry Giroux?- Another first rate Fosse dancer.
Wilmingtom
Broadway Star
joined:7/18/11
For the record, the revival actually originated at Long Beach Civic Light Opera, starring Bebe and Juliet Prowse, directed by Rob Marshall with Reinking as choreographer, in the style of Fosse, and with music director John McDaniel's band on the stage. Later Walter Bobbie, then Encore's AD, grabbed it and directed it himself for Encores and the rest is history. It's why Bobbie is largely considered the luckiest man in the world.
ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
Here's Ann's ROXIE from the revival.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gwwo1epOZKk

I think she's phenomenal. Her performance makes much more sense seeing it rather than hearing it.
#sadandtransparent

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