News

There's a Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon TV Series In the Works—With the Team Behind Hamilton at the Helm

The creative and romantic relationship between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon is the subject of a new series coming from FX. Photo courtesy DM Archives

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...)

Broadway

We knew that Ivo van Hove and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's production of West Side Story would challenge our preconceived notions about the show.

But a recent Vogue story gives us a taste of just how nontraditional the Broadway revival will be. Most notably, van Hove is cutting "I Feel Pretty" and the "Somewhere" ballet, condensing the show into one act to better reflect the urgency of the 48-hour plot. (The choice has been approved by the West Side Story estate, including Sondheim, who has "long been uncomfortable" with some of the "I Feel Pretty" lyrics.)

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Sponsored by NYCDA
Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

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:

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Cover Story
Jayme Thornton

It's a much-repeated part of Francesca Hayward's origin story that she discovered ballet at age 3, when her grandparents bought a video of The Nutcracker to keep her occupied and she immediately started dancing around the room. What's less well-known is that there was another video lined up next to The Nutcracker that Hayward liked to dance along to: Cats. "I really just did the White Cat bit and fast-forwarded the rest," she remembers. "I'd make my friends who came around be the other cats."

Twenty-four years later, she's not only become a Royal Ballet principal, but has been cast as Victoria the White Cat in Tom Hooper's new movie adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, out in theaters on December 20. "I remember the director telling me I'd got the part: 'Just to let you know you're the lead in a Hollywood film,' he said." Hayward laughs. "This is crazy!"

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"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.

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