Fosse | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Bob Fosse's dances are known for their sexy, sassy, strutting style--the splayed fingers and serpentine arms, the scrunched shoulders and pumping pelvises. But what marks them as the work of a genius are the intricacy of his group compositions and the ingenious physicalization of a score's internal rhythms and instrumental textures. His brilliance is on full display in this anthology of familiar and little-known numbers from such Broadway shows as Chicago, Sweet Charity, The Pajama Game, Dancin', and the ill-fated Big Deal as well as TV's Liza With a Z and the brilliant films Cabaret and All That Jazz. Created by Ann Reinking, Richard Maltby Jr., Chet Walker, and Gwen Verdon, Fosse presents the material thematically rather than chronologically in order to explore contrasting aspects of this complex, conflicted artist. The music's variety emphasizes Fosse's versatility: selections range from vaudevillian chestnuts ("Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries," "Who's Sorry Now?") to classic jazz (Benny Goodman's "Sing, Sing, Sing") to grinding funk. This national touring edition of the New York hit has returned to the Oriental Theatre, where it was launched in 1999; the historic theater is a fitting venue, given that Chicago-bred Fosse patronized the Oriental regularly as a stagestruck schoolkid. After a year and a half on the road the show has lost some of its intensity and anxious edge; but the talented and virtuosic cast, led by the sizzling Reva Rice and the powerhouse Terace Jones, still convey Fosse's continually surprising breadth and depth as well as his captivating razzle-dazzle. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, 312-902-1400. Through July 28: Thursday, 7:30 PM; Friday, 8 PM; Saturday, 2 and 8 PM. $22-$67.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joan Marcus.

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