Gwen Verdon
American actor-singer
Gwen Verdon
Biography
View basic information about Gwen Verdon.
Birthday
13 January 1925
Deceased
18 October 2000
Career Highlights
Some highlights of Gwen Verdons career
Label
Gwen verdon
Birth name
Gwenyth Evelyn Verdon
Active years end year
2000z
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for Gwen Verdon
Nicole Fosse
Parent
1963/03/24
Jim Henaghan
Parent
Joseph William Verdon
Parent
1925/01/13
Gertrude Lilian Standring
Parent
1925/01/13
Bob Fosse
Married
1960 - 1987
James Henaghan
Married
1942 - 1947
William Farrell Verdon
Sibling
Scott Brady
Dated
News
News abour Gwen Verdon from around the web
'Sweet Charity' provides triple-threat Sutton Foster 'room to show'
Huffington Post - 3 days
By Jil Picariello, ZEALnyc Theater Editor, December 2, 2016 When they build the musical theater equivalent of Mount Rushmore, I know who one of the faces will be. My only complaint about the inimitable Sutton Foster is that I have a hard time figuring out what she does best. Flawless dancing? Check. Stunning singing? Yup. Hilarious physical comedy? For sure. But the thing that puts the cherry on the Foster cupcake (and makes her latest, a small-scale revival of the 1966 Cy Coleman-Dorothy Fields-Neil Simon musical Sweet Charity, so brilliant) is that while doing all that singing and dancing and laugh-generating and even gymnastics (just watch this), she manages to imbue every moment with a depth of character that most performers don't attain even without the high kicks and tumbles. The psychological and emotional progression of the story doesn't stop for the musical numbers, rather, thanks to Foster, they are expanded by it. This revival is not as sweet as Charity usually is. ...
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Huffington Post article
First Nighter: The American Dance Machine at the Joyce Recalls Great Musical Comedy Dances Greatly
Huffington Post - 11 months
As Americans, we're lucky to have an abundance of national treasures. Some treasures, however, are more prominent than others. One less regularly ballyhooed is The American Dance Machine, which was founded in 1976 by dancer Lee Theodore, perhaps best known as Anybodys in the original West Side Story production. It was her cogent notion that choreography from musical comedies mustn't be allowed to shuffle off to oblivion when shows close. How right she was! Sure, many of the dances are recorded and even available at, say, the Theater on Film and Tape Archived at the New York Library for the Performing Arts. But it's not dancing alive in the moment, and what a loss that would have been. Theodore went about repairing the loss, but at her 1987 death the company foundered. Luckily for us and only a few years ago, Nikki Feirt Atkins revived the ADM and in turn has seen to reviving exultant dance routines threatened with a choreography burial ground as obscure as those where elephants go ...
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Huffington Post article
Come & Meet His Dancin' Feet: Lee Roy Reams at 54Below
Huffington Post - about 1 year
I doubt anyone thinks that Applause, the 1970's musical version of All About Eve, is a seminal work, certainly not one of those "ground-breakers" like Show Boat, Company or A Chorus Line. And yet to me, it was every bit as important as the complete canon of Rodgers and Hammerstein simply because of one member of the original cast: Lee Roy Reams. Mr. Reams played Duane, Margo Channing's hairdresser (Channing was the indomitable Lauren Bacall), and to a theatrically leaning pre-teen, Reams's performance was a revelation, not because of his dancing abilities, which defied gravity, not because of his singing, his big Broadway belt bouncing off the last row of the Palace theater, but because he was playing an openly gay character on stage. His was the first portrayal of an open homosexual I had ever seen. I realized at that moment: if he can be proudly gay in front of 2,500 people at the Palace -- I didn't differentiate between him and the character; I was 11 -- I can be fine with b ...
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Huffington Post article
Keepers of the Flame
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
A muse and a mentor can go a long way toward helping an artist transform music into magic. While labanotation is a wonderful tool for documenting choreography, it can't capture the more intangible aspects of dance. How does one translate the electricity that transpires between a dancer's eyes and the gestures of his hands? How does one package the thrill of an audience experiencing a charismatic artist's performance? How does one capture the excitement of an ensemble of talented, muscular dancers as they perform seemingly impossible and highly stylized tricks of their trade? Like pheromones, these phenomena are powerful, yet often ethereal; functionally vital yet transcendent and occasionally transformative. In terms of dance, they are as precious as the smell of fresh rain on hot pavement. But how long can that last? Theatre companies may rely on dramaturgs, opera companies on musicologists, and museums on their curatorial staff. But to keep dance alive, it often ...
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Huffington Post article
Biography of director Bob Fosse razzles, dazzles and delights
NPR - about 3 years
"Fosse" is filled with the kind of inside detail that comes of substantial research. 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 his head before his death.
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NPR article
Mark S. King: I Was a 9-Year-Old Drag Queen
The Huffington Post - over 3 years
"We're born naked... and the rest is drag." --RuPaul When I was 9 years old, I took my parents' album of the Broadway musical Damn Yankees and memorized every syllable of Gwen Verdon's show stopper, "Who's Got the Pain When They Do the Mambo?" Once I was satisfied with my lip synching and choreography (I decided that a mambo was a dance in which young boys gyrated and flung themselves on and off the living room sofa), the number was ready for public display. The premiere was a simple affair, exclusive and unannounced. Mrs. May from across the street had stopped in for afternoon coffee, and opportunity knocked when Mother busied herself in the kitchen for a few minutes. Not a smart move, Mother, leaving Mark alone with the company. "Mrs. May, would you like to see me do a song?" The unsuspecting woman gave a polite "yes, that sounds nice," and before Mother could run interference, I had turned on the stereo and dropped the needle at the precise moment where Gwen ...
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The Huffington Post article
Matthew Jacobs: WHAT? Beyonce Isn't Perfect?
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
When it comes to Beyonce, there's a feeling of incontrovertible allegiance bubbling through the pop culture ether. Her disciples -- of which there is an abundance -- express their praise by espousing the nearly universal idea that Queen Bey can do no wrong, that her very being is somehow enshrouded in perfection. It's practically a tenet adopted upon entry into the Beyonce coterie: If you are a true fan, you will worship dutifully, without exception and at any moment you are called upon to do so, amen. But it's dangerous when a superstar's legion of fans become so overzealous. At best, there's a risk of Kardashian-style ubiquity, where home pages, including our own, become a repository for one headline after the next about an individual's every move. At worst, there's the chance of a massive breakdown (a la Britney Spears) or even the buildup to a tragic death (RIP Michael Jackson). I don't think anyone is worried about Beyonce veering anywhere near the paths that befe ...
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Huffington Post article
David Finkle: First Nighter: Tommy Tune Invigorates Cabaret and So Does Ben Rimalower
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Thanks to Simon Cowell -- but really no thanks to him -- and to the scornful fellow's frequently equating "cabaret" with "old-fashioned" on American Idol and The X Factor, millions of televiewers have no idea that cabaret can be as fresh, as vital, as exhilarating a form of entertainment as any others available to the hungry public. Sure, most cities today have no, or only one or two, cabaret rooms, but New York City -- though populated by fewer than there were in decades past -- isn't one of them. As a matter of reassuring fact right now, there are two cabarets featuring unique performers well worth going to see as they pull down the fourth wall that the stage and movies rarely removes and cabaret does all the intriguing time. Tommy Tune, a performer like no other you'd find at work today, is a six-foot-six Texan, who came to New York to dance on Broadway and not only achieved his goal at his first audition but went on to steal the spotlight in Seesaw and cheer u ...
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Huffington Post article
Broadway Diva's Latest Act Includes Theme Song To X-Rated French Film
Huffington Post - about 4 years
As she began rehearsals for her new cabaret show, Loni Ackerman had one stipulation: she would not sing "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina." "I hate the song -- it just does not work out of context," Ackerman says of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stalwart. The 63-year-old star, who played the title role in "Evita" to great acclaim in both Los Angeles and New York in 1981, recalls a particularly nerve-wracking experience she had one night before the show’s now-iconic balcony scene. Suddenly, her opinion of the tune softens. "Maybe it's just that I'm claustrophobic and afraid of heights," she quips with more than a touch of nostalgia. From her Broadway debut in 1968's "George M!" to her recent turn in "Sunset Boulevard" at Long Island's Gateway Playhouse, Ackerman is able to wax poetic about 40 years' worth of theatrical experiences, both monumental and trivial. Ackerman’s now-storied musical resume -- as well as what she describes as a "rarefied" childhood on Manhattan's Uppe ...
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Huffington Post article
A Eugene O'Neill Tragedy Becomes An Upbeat Musical
Huffington Post - over 4 years
NEW YORK -- At one time, the term "sportin' lady" did not refer to a female athlete. A largely upbeat musical based on a downbeat story about just such a lady, "New Girl in Town," is enjoying a sprightly off-Broadway revival at the Irish Repertory Theatre. The musical comedy is based on Eugene O'Neill's Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy "Anna Christie." First seen on Broadway in a 1957 production that ran for a year, the show garnered a rare Tony Award tie for best actress in a musical for its two leading ladies, Thelma Ritter and the now-legendary Gwen Verdon, but has never had a major revival. O'Neill's dark story, about a prostitute who tries to change her life by reuniting with her barge captain father and unexpectedly finds love, was considerably brightened up for the musical. Energetic tunes and lyrics by Bob Merrill and the book by George Abbott both focused on the redemptive power of love. Irish Rep's artistic director Charlotte Moore also finds the bright ...
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Huffington Post article
Bob Merrill: The Music That Made Him - Playbill.com
Google News - over 5 years
He gave it a listen and followed that with a fast green light to Broadway where it arrived May 14, 1957, as New Girl in Town, a star vehicle for Gwen Verdon, who gave her third Tony-winning performance. Merrill used the back door of pop music to get to
Article Link:
Google News article
Powerful new 'Noli,' hardworking 'Sweet Charity' - Inquirer.net
Google News - over 5 years
... Hope Valentine—itself an updating of the original 1966 production directed and choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse, with book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Field, and starring Fosse's incomparable muse, Gwen Verdon
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Google News article
BROADWAY RECALL: CHICAGO Finds Its Audience - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Especially when you consider that, despite the presence of Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach, the original production was only a moderate hit, closing after a little more than two years and picking up no Tony Awards
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Google News article
'Can Can' shows growth of Talent Machine's young stars - Baltimore Sun
Google News - over 5 years
With music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Abe Burrows, "Can Can" opened on Broadway in 1953 and ran for over two years, winning Tony awards for Gwen Verdon — in only her second show — and for choreographer Michael Kidd
Article Link:
Google News article
STAGE TUBE: 9 Works Theatrical Presents SWEET CHARITY (Manila) - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Sweet Charity, which originally starred Gwen Verdon as dancer-for-hire, Charity Hope Valentine, premiered on Broadway in 1966. The original Broadway production had Cy Coleman's music, Dorothy Fields' lyrics, Neil Simon's book and Bob Fosse's Tony
Article Link:
Google News article
Pat Craig: 'Chicago' comes to Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton - San Jose Mercury News
Google News - over 5 years
Happily, the characters live on as Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, thanks to a handful of movies and a suggestion made by hoofer Gwen Verdon to her then-husband, Bob Fosse, that Watkins' play "Chicago" would make a pretty darned good musical
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Google News article
Bubbling and sparkling Sweet Charity - BusinessWorld Online
Google News - over 5 years
The star of the stage musical was Gwen Verdon, choreographer Bob Fosse's wife. The original show opened on Broadway on Jan. 29, 1966 and closed after only 10 previews and 68 performances, but it garnered nine Tony nominations and won the Best
Article Link:
Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Gwen Verdon
1925
Born on January 13, 1925.
1942
Verdon shocked her parents and instructors when she abandoned her budding career aged 17 to elope with reporter James Henaghan in 1942.
1945
In 1945, she appeared as a dancer in the movie musical The Blonde From Brooklyn.
After her divorce, she entrusted her son Jimmy to the care of her parents. Early on, Verdon found a job as assistant to choreographer Jack Cole, whose work was respected by both Broadway and Hollywood movie studios. During her five-year employment with Cole, she took small roles in movie musicals as a "specialty dancer". She also taught dance to stars such as Jane Russell, Fernando Lamas, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe. Verdon started out on Broadway as a "gypsy", going from one chorus line to another. Her breakthrough role finally came when choreographer Michael Kidd cast her as the second female lead in Cole Porter's musical Can-Can (1953), starring French prima donna Lilo. Out-of-town reviewers hailed Verdon's interpretation of Eve in the Garden of Eden ballet as a performance that upstaged the show's star, who jealously demanded Verdon's role be cut to only two featured dance numbers. With her role reduced to little more than an ensemble part, Verdon formally announced her intention to quit by the time the show premiered on Broadway. But her opening-night Garden of Eden performance was so well received that the audience screamed her name until the startled actress was brought from her dressing room in her bathrobe to take a curtain call. Verdon received a pay increase and her first Tony Award for her triumphant performance.
1958
Vernon won another Tony and went to Hollywood to repeat her role in the 1958 movie version Damn Yankees, memorably singing "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets". (Fosse can be seen partnered deliciously with her in the original mambo duet "Who's Got the Pain".)
Another Tony came when Verdon memorably played a role associated with Greta Garbo, Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, the hard-luck girl fleeing from her past as a prostitute, in the musical New Girl in Town. When Fosse directed as well as choreographed his first Broadway musical, it was Redhead, for which Verdon won her fourth Tony.
1960
In 1960, Fosse and Verdon wed.
1966
In 1966, Verdon returned to the stage in the role of Charity in Sweet Charity, which like many of her earlier Broadway triumphs was choreographed and directed by husband Fosse.
The show is based on Federico Fellini's screenplay for Nights of Cabiria. But whereas Fellini's black-and-white Italian film concerns the romantic ups and downs of an ever-hopeful prostitute, the musical makes the central character a hoofer-for-hire at a Times Square dance hall. The trademark Fosse showmanship, a dynamite musical score and theatregoers' affection for the exuberant, 41-year-old Verdon put the show over, despite Fellini's source material straining against the sanitized, Broadway-ized storyline. It was followed by a movie version starring Shirley MacLaine as Charity, featuring Ricardo Montalban, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Chita Rivera, with Fosse at the helm of his very first film as director and choreographer. Characteristically generous, Verdon helped with the choreography. The numbers include the famed "Big Spender", the fast-paced "Rhythm of Life", the witty "If My Friends Could See Me Now" and "I'm a Brass Band", in which MacLaine's Charity marched down the middle of Manhattan's Wall Street district. Verdon would also travel to Berlin to help Fosse with Cabaret, the musical film for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director.
1971
Fosse's extramarital affairs put a strain on their marriage and by 1971 they were separated.
They never divorced. She held him in her arms as he suffered a fatal heart attack in his room at the Willard Hotel as the show Sweet Charity was beginning nearby. He was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. She was a cat fancier, and had up to six cats at one time, with names such as "Feets Fosse", "Junie Moon", and "Tidbits Tumbler Fosse".
1997
In 1997 Verdon appeared in an episode of Walker Texas Ranger as Maisie Whitman.
1999
She later reprised the role in 1999.
2000
Verdon played Alora in the movie Walking Across Egypt (1999) and appeared in the film Bruno, released in 2000.
Verdon died in her sleep in 2000 of a heart attack at the home of her daughter, Nicole, in Woodstock, Vermont, at the age of 75.
At 8 p.m. on the night she died, all marquee lights on Broadway were dimmed in a tribute to the actress. Her remains were cremated. STAGE: FILM & TV:
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