CULTURE

‘Bob Fosse: The Musical’ to provide a taste of Broadway at Athens’s Lycabettus venue

Broadway’s spectacular tradition comes alive in Athens next week, through a sensational song-and-dance journey into the career of a legendary showman, Bob Fosse. Featuring 32 sensational Broadway dancers, «Bob Fosse: The Musical» comes to the Lycabettus Theater with performances beginning next Monday, July 26 (shows will run to July 31). The production offers a rare opportunity for local audiences to view scenes from Fosse films and plays, works written and directed by the legendary artist, brought together into one single performance. The show features authentic Broadway costumes and stage props, a large orchestra and directing by two great stars: Gwen Verdon (of «Sweet Charity» and «Chicago» fame) and Ann Reinking («All That Jazz»), two very important women in Fosse’s life, joined forces following his death, working together on the rich material he left behind. Mr Musical Fosse, also known as Mr Musical, died of a heart attack in Washington DC in 1987. His works remain ground-breaking. Though Fosse had already displayed his great gifts during the 1950s, his major career breakthrough came in 1969, when he directed «Sweet Charity,» the landmark musical starring Shirley MacLaine. This huge success was followed by an even greater one: «Cabaret» (1972) starring Liza Minelli. The film earned eight Oscars, including that for best director. Following «Cabaret,» Fosse returned to Broadway, staging works such as «Pippin,» for which he won two Tony awards. In 1975, the dancer/choreographer/director presented yet another sensation, «Chicago,» followed by «Dancin.» In 1979, Fosse made more headlines with a new film, «All That Jazz,» a seminal work which ended in nine Oscars, surpassing «Cabaret.» The challenge «This was a great challenge for us; a huge production. We had seven 18-meter trucks carrying 100 tons of sets and costumes from Britain. The auditions, which altogether lasted for six months, attracted 3,000 people. Ann Reinking was present at each and every one of them and personally chose the top 32 dancers. This is the first time in Fosse history that a musical will be presented in an open space. We will turn the Lycabettus into a sensational Broadway show!» said Michalis Adam, one of the production’s organizers at a press conference earlier this week. Also present at the press conference was assistant choreographer Christina Fernandez. «I would like to say a big thank you,» said Fernandez. «The performances in Greece are a dream come true, that of presenting our work at the Lycabettus Theater with a view of the Acropolis. The musical has it all. There’s something for everyone: crazy, funny, sensual scenes. Bob Fosse was a pioneer of musical theater. The show we are presenting differs from traditional musical performances. It’s something which draws you to it, something which you can experience from within. It’s like a whisper…» A life on stage Born in Chicago in 1927, Fosse was the son of a vaudevillian. At the age of 13, the aspiring performer was already on stage and touring with his very own dance act, the Rift Brothers, while two years later, he was choreographing his first piece in a nightclub. After a stint in the US Navy, Fosse spent two years in acting school before hitting the road again with «Call Me Mister.» In 1950 he arrived on Broadway, as a member of the chorus in «Dance Me A Song.» After that he was off to Hollywood, only to return to New York after brief appearances in three films. Fosse’s first break came in 1954, when veteran director and playwright George Abbott offered him the choreography of «The Pajama Game.» In 1972, Fosse became the first artist in entertainment history to win an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy in the same year. For more information and tickets, call 210.921.3310 or log on to www.fossethemusical.com. Performances begin at 9.30 p.m.