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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

'Fosse/Verdon' Proves That Without Gwen Verdon, There Is No Bob Fosse

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

On Thursday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Fosse/Verdon made a strong case for their show as the For Your Consideration period slowly winds down this Emmys season. Television Academy voters will begin voting June 10 for the nomination round. 

With Fosse/Verdon stars Michelle Williams, Sam Rockwell, Norbert Leo Butz, consultant Nicole Fosse and the creative team in tow, the limited series demonstrated why Gwen Verdon was just as important to the legacy of the Fosse style as Bob Fosse himself. The truth was told through the choreography in the series. 

"Nicole, the Verdon Fosse Legacy and the reconstructors worked with our choreographic team to create the precision in the choreography. [Fosse and Verdon] were two people, who expressed themselves in movement. That was their genius," said Fosse/Verdon executive producer/director/writer Thomas Kail. "To try to honor that and watch these dancers be willing to light themselves on fire because it was Bob's choreography or Gwen's choreography is exquisite." 

The story shines a light on the fact that without Verdon, Fosse wouldn't be held in the same regard as a legendary choreographer. It's that aspect that Williams embodied throughout the eight episodes. 

"This is a story about collaboration," said executive producer/writer Steven Levinson. "It's a story about the myth of the auteur, the reality of collaboration and the fraught of collaboration."

For Fosse and Verdon's daughter, Nicole Fosse, this collaboration carried over to her personal life behind closed doors. 

"Dance was a language in our household that we all shared. It was a primary way for my parents to communicate with me," she revealed. "It was the family business. It was the family language. It was the family vocabulary. We spoke dance."

It's that language that Williams manifested in the series by playing Verdon. Williams became the part because she understood the language Verdon was speaking each time she stepped on the stage or in the dance studio.

"When you watch live performances — music, dance or theatre — it gets inside of you and it shakes you up," she thoughtfully summed up. "You walk out a little bit differently. It gives back to you as much as you give to it." 


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