Spanning five decades, “Fosse/Verdon” explores the singular romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. Bob is a visionary filmmaker and one of the theater’s most influential choreographers and directors, and Gwen is the greatest Broadway dancer of all time. Only Bob can create the groundbreaking musicals that allow Gwen to showcase her greatness. Only Gwen can realize the unique vision in Bob’s head. Together, they will change the face of American entertainment — at a perilous cost.
Partly due to the non-linear timeline of this series, I think it helps if the viewer is familiar with the work of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. My introduction came during the Broadway run of "Dancin’ ", the amazing dance revue that inspired my love of Broadway, musical theater, and the style of Bob Fosse.
After watching the first two episodes, I am pleasantly surprised, due especially to the performance by Michelle Williams (Verdon). She seems to embody Verdon, even to the point that any issues I have with her representation of the dancing are merely quibbles. She conveys the nuances of the Fosse dance mannerisms and the subtleties of a woman who led a confused life under the influence of the infuriating Fosse.
Sam Rockwell delivers a convincing depiction of Fosse. I prefer it to the Roy Scheider portrayal in "All That Jazz". Rockwell’s Fosse is meticulous, quiet, emotionally distant and possessing a ruthless honesty that manages to betray him when personal relationships get tough.
The show demonstrates the unique language of dance and style that Verdon and Fosse shared. Fosse had an addictive personality, so it is no surprise that their relationship revolved around the muse-meal ticket disjunction. Other productions have focused on a woman’s love for a flawed man. "Fosse/Verdon" tells the same story and is quite believable. She clearly loves him more than he loves himself.
As with the TV show "Smash", I love the behind the scenes look at the creative processes and the personality conflicts.
Watch for Paul Reiser as Cy Feuer. In upcoming episodes, I am looking forward to the portrayal of Ann Reinking, among others.