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Door County Cherry

Fosse/Verdon

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A teaser aired during the Golden Globes tonight.  I both can't wait for this show and worry I'm setting my hopes up too high because this teaser is amazing.

 

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Odds & Ends: Ahmad Simmons to Play Ben Vereen on Fosse/Verdon

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Another standout star has been added to the cast of Fosse/Verdon, FX's upcoming limited series about the romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon and the collaborators they meet along the way. New to the cast is Ahmad Simmons, an upcoming ensemble member of Hadestown, taking on the role of Broadway icon Ben Vereen (who collaborated with Fosse on his Tony-winning turn in Pippin). Simmons joins a previously announced cast that includes Sam Rockwell as Fosse, Michelle Williams as Verdon, Norbert Leo Butz as Paddy Chayefsky, Laura Osnes as Shirley MacLaine, Ethan Slater as Joel Grey, Kelli Barrett as Liza Minnelli and Bianca Marroquin as Chita Rivera. Fosse/Verdon is co-produced by Hamilton collaborators Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andy Blankenbuehler, with the pilot episode directed by Thomas Kail and written by Dear Evan Hansen's Steven Levenson, who serves as showrunner.

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I’m looking forward to the beginning of this show next week. It has a stellar cast. I’m guessing this show will be an Emmy contender this year. 

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Well honey, since nobody in Hollywood can dance and act, (much less sing)  you are out of luck.  MGM and talent are gone. This is going to be horrible, but of course I will watch it. Ha. 

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On 4/1/2019 at 7:48 PM, atlantaloves said:

Well honey, since nobody in Hollywood can dance and act, (much less sing)  you are out of luck.  MGM and talent are gone. This is going to be horrible, but of course I will watch it. Ha. 

Good thing this filmed in New York, with tons of Broadway talent, 

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S1.E1: Life Is a Cabaret

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Spanning five decades, Fosse/Verdon explores the singular romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. Teleplay by Steven Levenson; Story by Steven Levenson & Thomas Kail; Directed by Thomas Kail.

New teasers:

Duet:

The curtain rises:

Clip:

Gorilla:

Original air date: 4/9/19

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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A wild guess, based solely on the previews: Michelle sounds like she's ripping off a previous performance -- when she played Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.

This won't stop me from eating this up with a spoon.

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This was part of the review in my local paper, “I’m pretty allergic to musical theatre and know little about the history of popular choreography. All that said, Fosse/Vernon is, hands down, the best new series of the year. ... Not to be missed.”.

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Is it a series or a mini-series or a one-season thing?

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On 4/1/2019 at 7:48 PM, atlantaloves said:

Well honey, since nobody in Hollywood can dance and act, (much less sing)  you are out of luck.  MGM and talent are gone. This is going to be horrible, but of course I will watch it. Ha. 

“Nobody”? LOL. 

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1 hour ago, scrb said:

Is it a series or a mini-series or a one-season thing?

It’s an eight part series, so a mini series. It’s going to cover 5 decades.

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I already feel like Michelle Williams is trying to hard.  I find her overrated.

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He is not doing a very good job of fake smoking,  but otherwise adequate.

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I really enjoyed the first episode. I have to say, that I not really familiar with the films and people involved. Verdon is especially a blank to me. But I am looking forward to seeing the rest. 

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I was nervous after reviews were mixed but I ended up enjoying this. I do think familiarity with the music helps because I was singing along with it.  I hope it continues and they didn't front load the music.

I did think it was interesting how some of this was filmed "theater" style.  So instead of pure flashbacks, we saw them with the present-day Fosse watching from either the side or as if ti were on a screen.

I also liked how the delivery of the lines aligned with the beat of Mein Herr. 

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There are so many prestige projects from the last few years that were well-reviewed, but I found to be painfully slow. Glad that wasn't the case tonight as I found the episode moved really quickly.

I'm definitely in for the next seven weeks.

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They had me at the opener to Hey Big Spender. 

I really liked this so far, its really interesting to see the transitions between time periods, the different locations and films, and the way that musicals are filmed, as opposed to other kinds of movies. 

It was so cool seeing Aya Cash show up, and right after Your the Worst ended!

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I feel like I jumped into the middle of something, and I'm looking all around me, trying to take it in.

First, Michelle: I feared the Marilyn tics reappearing, but -- man! She's Gwen here: down to the slightly-open mouth, upper teeth-showing, barely-breathing-while-she's-speaking, way that Verdon had.  And the voice is...homage...without grating on me (I always found the Original Version a bit OTT).

Sam Rockwell, as ever, makes you forget he's Sam Rockwell.  He's Paul Muni, in that respect.  Although more than Fosse, I kept seeing Roy Scheider-as-Fosse, only Scheider looked younger in All That Jazz than Rockwell does here.  Go figure.  

Cabaret is one of my favorite films, so I was greedily slurping up the backstage minutiae (Gwen picked out the gorilla mask, and the frilly white blouse for Sally?? Where was Liza's hairpiece for "Mein Herr"???  They hired **real hookers for the Kit Kat Club????)

The production design is stunning.  I immediately coveted their New York apartment.  And there was Aya Cash playing Neil Simon's soon-to-be-dead wife Joan (didn't know about that friendship), and Norbert Leo Butz as Paddy Chayefsky (I saw his Emcee in the D.C. production w/Teri Hatcher as Sally, and Christ! he was brilliant; nothing he's done since has ever measured up for me).

I'm out of breath.  I'll have to mull it over.  And watch it again.  But after just one ep, I look back on my favorite line from the film (Liza's goodbye to Michael York at the train station: "I'd love to come down to the platform & wave a tiny white handkerchief, et cetera...") and now can only hear it spoken by Gwen.

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I just wanted to point out how hilarious I find it that the title of tonight's Fosse/Verdon episode was the same as the title for tonight's season finale of Schitt's Creek (Life Is a Cabaret)!

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I'm a total theater dork, so I was all in as soon as I heard about this. I was a little taken aback by the similarities between the show and All That Jazz, which is one of my favorite movies,  but I choose to see it as an homage. I thought it was great- Sam Rockwell disappeared into that role and if I closed my eyes I thought I was hearing Gwen Verdon's voice. I'm looking forward to more dancing in future episodes. 

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I'm in! And I'm going to re-watch the first episode.👯‍♀️

Edited by answerphone · Reason: Typo
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I’ll watch almost any show with singing or dancing but casting so many current Broadway actors meant I knew I’d definitely be watching this show. 

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15 hours ago, scrb said:

Is it a series or a mini-series or a one-season thing?

This is part of what's supposed to be an anthology project (following last year's "Feud"). I guess ratings will govern whether there's another.

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I can't believe Sweet Charity had a budget of $20 million! Considering inflation, that would be like a movie musical nowadays having a budget of $138 million.

The film version of Les Mis was a huge production with multiple big stars, and that had a budget of $61 million when it came out in 2012.

I'm glad he was given the chance to make Cabaret - the greatest movie musical of all time, IMO.

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Watched and liked it.  Rockwell just slides into the part, Williams I sense doing bits - like Verdon's unique head movements - but a good performance.  And it got across how exhausting it is to be part of these productions.

I am intensely weary of non-linear productions, that seem to exist just for the sake of doing them.  If every episode switches between 4 or 5 decades, it's going to be exhausting.  There's no good point to it here.  Innaritu uses it with purpose in a movie, but isn't wedded to it (Birdman), and he's the best at it.

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13 hours ago, memememe76 said:

I have to say, that I not really familiar with the films and people involved. Verdon is especially a blank to me.

If you're not too afraid of going down the youtube rabbit hole, look for Verdon and Sweet Charity.

12 hours ago, Door County Cherry said:

I did think it was interesting how some of this was filmed "theater" style.  So instead of pure flashbacks, we saw them with the present-day Fosse watching from either the side or as if ti were on a screen.

As others have mentioned, I definitely got an All That Jazz vibe to this. We even saw a young Fosse hoofing it at a whorehouse as older Fosse watches.

I also think that the time jumps can be overused and on occasion take away from what is happening at the "current" time - in this episode the rehearsal and filming of Cabaret.

9 hours ago, voiceover said:

They hired **real hookers for the Kit Kat Club????

I loved when he asked if anyone had acting experience. When one asked if porn counted, they then all raised their hands. Hah!

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I don't know why but I was surprised they got to Cabaret in the first episode. I guess it's part of the non linear time motif.

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I am intensely weary of non-linear productions, that seem to exist just for the sake of doing them. 

Me too. I suspect the show started out at the end in order to connect the main characters to what they were most famous for. It looks like subsequent episodes go back to when they first met. The narrative structure is odd and I don't care for it. That said I did enjoy the episode. 

I recently saw Cabaret, maybe for the first time, and I can't believe it was a mainstream success in the early 1970s. It's very weird, foreign, and sexually daring for its time. I can believe critics would have found it engaging and unique but not that mainstream audiences would have made it profitable. 

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Well I am eating crow, Michelle is nailing it as Vernon. Sam is over come by all the hair dos and ciggie butts, but I'll deal with him later. I am a big fan of both of them, especially Gwen, I think they are actually doing a pretty good job here! It's wonderful! 

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59 minutes ago, meep.meep said:

Hey don't diss the audiences of 1972!  This was 3 years after the success of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, and if Americans could handle four normal Americans swinging in the suburbs, they could sure embrace decadence in Weimar Germany.  Mainstream audiences used to be *more* accepting than they are today when the only thing people will go to see are super hero movies.

Yep, there was also Blazing Saddles and other stuff you wouldn't see today being made. The seventies were a much looser time. Although my gran and her friends did walk out of Cabaret, but old biddies, right?

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2 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I recently saw Cabaret, maybe for the first time, and I can't believe it was a mainstream success in the early 1970s. It's very weird, foreign, and sexually daring for its time. I can believe critics would have found it engaging and unique but not that mainstream audiences would have made it profitable. 

Remember also that "Myra Breckenridge" and "Portnoy's Complaint" were bestsellers during roughly this era (as well as movies like "I am Curious Yellow").  Many people were much more open at that time (and the naysayers didn't have the forums to complain about them). 

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I found out about this show for the first time yesterday when the Hamilton YouTube channel released the five dance challenge videos.

I really enjoyed it, I've never seen Michelle Williams in anything before, but I thought she did a really good job being Gwen Verdon, especially the voice.

The jury's still out on the Liza impersonation for me.

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5 minutes ago, atlantaloves said:

Whoever is doing Liza's voice is right on point. It's not too too much! 

Liza was always "too much". I think this actor is a better singer.

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But is that her singing? I bet ya it is a good impersonator, it's just too good. Doesn't matter, because it is PERFECT. 

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4 hours ago, iMonrey said:

Me too. I suspect the show started out at the end in order to connect the main characters to what they were most famous for. It looks like subsequent episodes go back to when they first met. The narrative structure is odd and I don't care for it. That said I did enjoy the episode. 

I recently saw Cabaret, maybe for the first time, and I can't believe it was a mainstream success in the early 1970s. It's very weird, foreign, and sexually daring for its time. I can believe critics would have found it engaging and unique but not that mainstream audiences would have made it profitable. 

You need to immerse yourself in movies of the period. They were MUCH more daring then later movies and especially early 80s films. Not just musicals but regular movies too. 

Michelle Williams WAS in "Cabaret" on Broadway, y'all. She's not some Hollywood wannabe.

Oh, also:

anyone notice how many articles described the heroine in "Sweet Charity" as an optimistic taxi driver? 

She's an optimistic TAXI DANCER.

One person made a mistake somewhere and all these other journalists copied it.

She's not a taxi driver in the Italian movie the musical is based on, either: she's a prostitute.

Edited by lucindabelle
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Kinda surprised by all the love here. I did not love it. But I also didn't dislike it.

I think the non-linear storytelling is an interesting choice here and speaks very much to a theatre specific audience more than a mainstream one. Maybe that's what they wanted, but given the level of ads for the show, I thought maybe they wanted mainstream. I think those who know something about Bob Fosse and the theatre world may have a much better time following and enjoying the story than those who have no clue, so not sure this will pull in just any old viewer.  Feel comfortable saying that had I watched this with one of my non-theatre going friends, we would have had to pause several times for questions. I know enough and I was still like, "wait what?" at times. 

I'm rather surprised by how All That Jazz this felt, I was expecting something more original, but that may be my own fault for assuming that, that could've been intentional. I didn't read reviews or much stuff about what this was supposed to be. But it took me by surprise and I had to adjust and try not to compare it to the movie.

I thought the first half was rather slow and a touch underwhelming, but that it found more of a rhythm in the second half, carried largely by the music scenes. I'm going to stick with this despite not loving the first episode. The rest of the season previews look great and compelling. I think this could be easily improve with each episode and build off that second half rhythm it seemed to find.

Competition is fierce with a lot of big names this year, so can't predict a winner by any stretch, but it would seem Michelle Williams firmly entered the race as a serious contender for Best Actress in a Limited Series at the Emmys this year and we're only one episode in.

Edited by JasmineFlower
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7 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I recently saw Cabaret, maybe for the first time, and I can't believe it was a mainstream success in the early 1970s. It's very weird, foreign, and sexually daring for its time. I can believe critics would have found it engaging and unique but not that mainstream audiences would have made it profitable. 

But it's also a compelling story of  the unlikely friendships that form when you're outside of your comfort zone, and how the strangest people can surprise you with their grace, grit, and moral courage.  And *that's what fascinates -- the pervy, nervy sexuality is just the shirt it's wearing.

Courage-as-theme never fails to fascinate.

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