PLEDGE NOW
Bob Fosse: Troubled, Turbulent Icon

A big new biography of Broadway dance king Bob Fosse – of “Chicago,” the film “Cabaret,” “All That Jazz” – opens up a turbulent life.

Bob Fosse, center, leads the cast through an energetic dance number during a rehearsal of his musical "Big Deal" at the Minskoff Rehearsal Studios on Broadway in New York, March 31, 1986. (AP)

Bob Fosse, center, leads the cast through an energetic dance number during a rehearsal of his musical “Big Deal” at the Minskoff Rehearsal Studios on Broadway in New York, March 31, 1986. (AP)

Gustav Flaubert said “be bourgeois in your life and radical in your work.”  Broadway and Hollywood dance king Bob Fosse, says a big new biography, was radical in both.  On stage and screen, Fosse remade the American musical with his unmistakable tilted hat, splayed-fingered, high charge.  His razzle dazzle in “Cabaret” and “Chicago,” “All That Jazz” and more was laced with sex and death and darkness.  Sensual grit.  So was his life.  Dazzling on stage.  Dark and turbulent off.  A terror of failure as he commanded dazzling success.  Up next On Point:  a new life of Bob Fosse.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Sam Wasson, author of “Fosse” and “Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman.” (@SamWasson)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Book Review: ‘Fosse’ by Sam Wasson — “He was blond and slim, with a disarmingly boyish smile and the belief that everything interesting was about sex. And he had perfect timing, becoming one of Broadway’s outstanding choreographers in the mid-1950s, just as the power in the making of musicals had begun shifting from directors to dance masters. Then, too, the musical, an at times bawdy affair, was now turning openly erotic; this gave him the opportunity to experiment with taboo, creating the signature style that would make him famous.”

Vanity Fair: Q&A: Bob Fosse’s Biography: Sex, Death, and Jazz Hands — “I think everyone admires his style. No matter what you say about his movies’ content, you can’t say anything against the style. So anyone who is interested in the medium is going to go crazy for Fosse. I know that George Clooney is a huge fan of ‘All That Jazz.’ What can you say against Fosse as a stylist?”

NPR: Biography Of Director Bob Fosse Razzles, Dazzles And Delights — “‘Fosse’ is filled with the kind of inside detail that comes of substantial research, and vivid descriptions that turn the research into a sort of movie in your head. All the way from little Bobby Fosse’s elementary school disappointment when the spotlight faded on him, right through to the moment when Gwen Verdon, the love of his life, cradled Fosse’s head on her lap on a D.C. sidewalk, just blocks from an audience he was at that very moment razzle-dazzling to beat the band.”

Read An Excerpt Of “Fosse” By Sam Wasson

Playlist

Visit Our Blog For Some Iconic Fosse Routines

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

 
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 5, 2016
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Spread the word — we FINALLY have both a new website (in beta) and a new newsletter. Sign up, visit and see what’s happening in the On Point digital universe.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #3: Jeb Bush — Cry for Me, America!
Thursday, Feb 4, 2016

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) asked a New Hampshire audience to clap for him — and our own Jack Beatty was there to hear it.

More »
Comment