Was Ann Reinking copying Gwen Verdon in the 1996 Chicago?

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Also, here's a fascinating and rare look at her ROXIE in the original Encores! concert.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fKjNByomgQ
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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.

FOR THE RECORD: the 1992 Long Beach Civic Light Opera's Terrace Theatre production of CHICAGO was NOT in any way where the Encores! City Center concert-style revival originated four years later.

For this LBCLO production, Bob Fosse's original 1975 Broadway production was recreated in full and Rob Marshall recreated Bob Fosse's original direction (with Ann Reinking's guidance). Tony Walton's complete original set design was recreated and it was a fully costumed production - no minimalistic concert-style staging like the 1996 revival. Yes, "Funny Honey" was performed on top of a piano. Yes, the milk bit in "We Both Reach for the Gun" was used. "Cell Block Tango" was performed with the ladies carrying their prison bars. All from Bob Fosse's original and NOT used in the 1996 revival.

Also, Ann Reinking did NOT choreograph this production 'in the style of Bob Fosse'. She recreated Bob Fosse's complete original choreography but in an ironic twist, chose to create complete original choreography for the "Hot Honey Rag" number. She eventually would switch this all up for the 1996 revival.

The cast was: Julie Prowse as Roxie (in a curly Gwen Verdon wig); Bebe Neuwirth as Velma (in a black Louise Brooks wig); Gary Sandy as Billy Flynn and Kaye Ballard as Matron "Mama" Morton. Also, original Broadway cast members recreating their original roles were: Barney Martin as Amos Hart and M. O'Haughey as Mary Sunshine.
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I would imagine that Prowse was fantastic!
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I love this thread. That footage of Ann in the Encores production is incredible - I'd never seen that before. I can immediately see why that transferred. It's electric.
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Also from Encores, the opening. It's mostly Bebe, but it contains the "I gotta pee!" moment that Roxie has right after killing Fred Casely (Michael Berresse).
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^ Think that's Broadway... not Encores
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And that's not Michael Berresse, right?
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You know, you're probably right, thanks, Musicaldudepeter, it must be Broadway- but StageStruckLad, that is without a doubt Michael Berresse. Don't believe me, ask PalJoey.

eta: strike probably - it's definitely Broadway. I don't know what I was thinking. Thanks again for the correction, Musicaldudepeter. For StageStruckLad, a compare and contrast: Tony Yazbeck and Michael Berresse in a bit of Hot Honey Rag from





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Updated On: 4/4/14 at 12:37 PM
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All this talk of Ann just renews my curiosity as to what her Cassie was like when she went into A Chorus Line.

The only thing I can find on Youtube is this short clip of her from a television show.

http://youtu.be/YjixsHhtm6o
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If were going to talk about Ann Reinking "adopting" other performer's work...we have to mention the 1985 Oscars....where, OH WHERE, does there exist a document of this? I have searched hither, thither and yon for such a thing, all in vain.
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^Why, what did she do?

And that clip of her in A CHORUS LINE is breathtaking. I've often wondered what her performance was like, too. As the clip shows, and as I imagined, she could dance the part just as well as Donna - though could she sing it? I do know Bennett altered some of the choreography of "Music and the Mirror" to make it fit her body better; where Donna's strength was her arms and back, Ann is all legs.

(In knowing this, I wish someone had been able to alter the choreography for Charlotte D'Amboise in the revival, who's body was so ill-suited to all those lay-outs and arm choreography.)
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Was Ann Reinking copying Gwen Verdon in the 1996 Chicago?

David Warren Gibson

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Brick, I felt the exact same way about Charlotte in the revival of A Chorus Line. Whatever changes to the choreography, no matter how minor, that had been made for Ann probably would have suited Charlotte much better than the original choreography for Donna.
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That's him! Thanks Mr LuPone...

I've seen very little of Reinking's choreography when she isn't channeling Fosse, but if the TV Bye Bye Birdie is an indication, it's a mess (much like Wayne Cilento's--another Fosse star.)
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So weird watching Fosse/Verdon and starting to join all these dots together that you never knew existed..

"Its the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
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Isn't the point of a revival to replicate the original musical?  I would think that they would want to make as close to the original musical as possible, given the fact that a lot of people may not have been around when the original musical was first produced.  I am in the middle of watching the "Fosse/Verdon" episode where they begin working on "Chicago".  It's very interesting to see how rabid Verdon was to work again with Fosse on Broadway...

 

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ChgoTheatreGuy said: "Isn't the point of a revival to replicate the original musical? I would think that they would want to make as close to the original musical as possible, given the fact that a lot of people may not have been around when the original musical was first produced....
"

Uh, no. Or rather, on occasion. More often the point of the revival is to revisit the original work with a new eye and/or in light of cultural changes since the original. (See current revival of OKLAHOMA! See every revival of GYPSY--nobody is foolish enough to try to force Lansbury, Daly, Peters or LuPone to imitate Merman.)

One can recreate choreography, certainly, though see the posts just above about the problems with putting choreography created for one dancer on another dancer years later.

Sure, we occasionally get revivals that try to be museum pieces, i.e., exact replicas of the original. They tend to be deadly dull.

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Ive always wondered why Ann wasnt nominated for her performance. Was she ineligible because shed played the role on Broadway before? Did they just not submit her so that Bebe could be their sole candidate in the lead actress category and Ann was going to win for choreography anyway?
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Isn't the point of a revival to replicate the original musical? I would think that they would want to make as close to the original musical as possible, given the fact that a lot of people may not have been around when the original musical was first produced.

Not at all.  Unless it’s a rare anniversary production, revivals are re-interpreted and modified.  Some have to use the original choreography (such as A CHORUS LINE, WEST SIDE STORY, etc), but the production itself has been modified — different sets, costumes, staging, etc.  No actor in this lifetime would ever choose to imitate or replicate the actor who originate a role.  Creatively speaking, actors want to interpret a role fresh and new as if THEY created it originally.   

Every revival in the past few decades did not recreate their original Broadway production.  I think the 2006 Broadway revival of A CHORUS LINE was the last one.   The still-running revival of CHICAGO is a concert-style production that looks nothing like the original 1975 Broadway production which used costumes, sets and 2-level structure with staircases on each side.  

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NOWaWarning said: "I’ve always wondered why Ann wasn’t nominated for her performance. Was she ineligible because she’d played the role on Broadway before? Did they just not submit her so that Bebe could be their sole candidate in the lead actress category and Ann was going to win for choreography anyway? "

I don't think the producers actively avoided pushing her for a nom or anything like that, but it was a pretty stacked category (this was back when there were only 4 nominees and Bebe, Karen Ziemba and Pamela Isaacs were pretty much locks for nominations with several strong contenders for that last spot) and they knew Ann was a lock for choreography. So their attention turned to Bebe for actress and Ann for choreography. 

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What was Ann's relationship with Fosse when she went into ACL? I can only imagine Fosse hated  ACL as it took all the thunder away from Chicago so he couldn't be very happy that she was going into a Bennett production

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wiggum2 said: "What was Ann's relationship with Fosse when she went into ACL? I can only imagine Fosse hated ACL as it took all the thunder away from Chicago so he couldn't be very happy that she was going into a Bennett production"

Their relationship remained amicable his entire life, hence why she continued being associated with him and his productions (she replaced Debbie Allen in his 1986 Broadway revival of SWEET CHARITY) even after their romance ended.  He was very supportive of her career so she took on projects like OVER HERE! (in 1974, post PIPPIN), replacing Donna McKechnie in A CHORUS LINE (in 1976) then replacing Gwen in CHICAGO (in 1977) then being part of the original cast of his DANCIN’ (in 1978 ) and appearing in his film ALL THAT JAZZ (1979).  

 

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thanks... I hope we see Fosse and Gwen's thoughts in ACL in the next eps!

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I seem to recall reading somewhere that Fosse went to see Reinking in A CHORUS LINE on several occasions. (I could be wrong.)