There's a Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon TV Series In the Works—With the Team Behind Hamilton at the Helm
The news that Lin-Manuel Miranda, Andy Blankenbuehler and Thomas Kail are working together on a new project is almost too wonderful to handle. But the creative team behind Hamilton isn't reuniting for just any old thing: They're teaming up for a dance-centric television series about Broadway legends Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, and we cannot contain our excitement.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, FX has given the green light to an eight-episode limited series that will focus on the romantic and creative relationship between Fosse and Verdon, and how it transformed musical theater. Miranda is attached as an executive producer alongside Nicole Fosse (the subjects' daughter and an actress and dancer in her own right); Blankenbuehler is a co-producer (and, we hope, will be on hand for the dance sequences); Kail is slated to direct the pilot episode (written by Steven Levensen, who you might recognize from 2017 Tony Awards juggernaut Dear Evan Hansen). Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell are set to star.
Andy Blankenbuehler performed on Broadway in Fosse before becoming the Great White Way's go-to choreographer. Photo by Rachel Papo
"Bob Fosse ignited a revolution in American dance, theater and film. But, in contrast to the well-worn myth of the visionary artist working in solitude, Fosse's work would not have been possible without Gwen Verdon, the woman who helped to mold his style—and make him a star," said Miranda, Blankenbuehler and Kail in a joint statement.
Calling this a dream team is no overstatement—Blankenbuehler spent a couple of years performing in Fosse on Broadway, and if anyone has a handle on Bob Fosse's iconic, idiosyncratic style, it's got to be Nicole Fosse.
Production is scheduled to begin this fall, as FX is aiming for a 2019 release—keep your eyes peeled for casting notices!
Lin-Manuel Miranda at work. Photo by RadicalMedia. Courtesy PBS
And in other "Lin-Manuel Miranda has zero chill" news...well, there's a lot of it.
This morning, it was announced that the creators of Hamilton—Miranda, Blankenbuehler, Kail and music director Alex Lacamoire—are getting a special Kennedy Center Honor "as trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category." No big deal.
It was also recently announced that Miranda will be making his directorial debut with a film adaptation of Tick, Tick...Boom!, a musical by Jonathan Larson (of RENT fame) in which Miranda starred opposite
Aaron Burr Leslie Odom, Jr. in 2014 for a New York City Center Encores! production. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that bidding is underway for the rights to a filming of Hamilton made in 2016, before Miranda left the titular role, and might be on screens as early as 2020. (And we didn't even mention that Miranda is publishing a book of his famed good morning/goodnight tweets, or his announcement that the proceeds from the upcoming Puerto Rico Hamilton performances will be donated to arts organizations in the territory, or this fantastic interview he gave "TODAY," or his latest Emmy nomination, or...)
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- Bob Fosse | Biography, Musicals, Movies, & Facts | Britannica.com ›
- FX Orders Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon Limited Series Starring Michelle ... ›
- Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) | Twitter ›
- FX Orders Bob Fosse Series Starring Sam Rockwell, Michelle ... ›
- Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michelle Williams, Sam Rockwell Team for Bob ... ›
- Every project Lin-Manuel Miranda currently has in the works | EW.com ›
In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.
And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.
"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."
The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.