Dancin' is a musical revue first produced in 1978, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, who won a Tony Award for the choreography. The show is a tribute to the art of dance, and the music is a collection of mostly American songs, many with a dance theme from a wide variety of styles, from operetta to jazz to classical to marches to pop.
Dancin' opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 27, 1978. It then transferred to the Ambassador Theatre and ran for a total of 1,774 performances (including previews). Additional choreography was by Christopher Chadman.
After the extraordinary success of the dance-intensive A Chorus Line, Fosse proposed a show with little dialogue and singing. Fosse's concept for the show was to use classical and show music, popular music, rock and roll, Mozart, Bach, George M. Cohan, and contemporary music by Neil Diamond and Melissa Manchester, anything except a new score written by a collaborator. He stated publicly that the project would free him from the burden of an artistic partnership: "When you have collaborators, you have all those midnight meetings. I'm tired of those...So I just decided to meet myself at midnight." Fosse invited choreographer Graciela Daniele to contribute a few numbers, but she declined, saying "When you are out of ideas, call me. I have the feeling that once you get into it, you're going to want to do it all." Despite the lack of creative partners, Fosse still had to negotiate with his co-producer Bernard Jacobs, the president of The Shubert Organization, who objected to Fosse's risqué number depicting a tourist coping with New York City's then-notoriously seamy Times Square. The show's remaining numbers impressed audiences, and because Fosse co-produced the show, it became his biggest financial success in the theatre.
The show's choreography was so demanding, however, that small theatre companies were unable to effectively recreate it, and so the show has not been revived. However, several numbers from Dancin' were recreated for the 1999 dance review Fosse, including: "Crunchy Granola Suite", "I Wanna Be a Dancin' Man", "Big Noise from Winnetka", "Mr. Bojangles", and "Sing Sing Sing".
A revival was scheduled to be produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company at Studio 54 for 2009, but this had been postponed until the 2009-10 season, and was again postponed. This revival has now been scheduled by the Roundabout for the Fall 2011, with direction by Graciela Daniele and Nicole Fosse (Bob Fosse's daughter) as creative consultant.
Opening night cast
In his New York Times review, Richard Eder writes the show is designed to be a musical show — there is no story line. He states that Ann Reinking is clearly the star and she is at her best in the high point of the evening, "Benny's Number", which recreates Benny Goodman and his band using "Sing, Sing, Sing". He also mentions several other dances, such as "Dancin' Man", with the entire cast dressed in "ice-cream" suits and lavender shirts; and "Fourteen Feet", where the shoes are nailed to the floor, and the dancers proceed to move within those confines. He sums up by writing "precision and style mark the evening at its best", but they serve very little.
Clive Barnes, newly moved to the New York Post, told Fosse that he thought the show was "tremendous" and "fantastic".
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|1978||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Wayne Cilento||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Ann Reinking||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Bob Fosse||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Willa Kim||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Design||Jules Fisher||Won|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Charles Ward||Nominated|
|Outstanding Choreography||Bob Fosse||Won|
|Outstanding Lighting Design||Jules Fisher||Won|
- "Fosse, 'Dancin'" PBS.org
- Gottfried, Martin. All His Jazz, Da Capo Press, 1990, p. 359. ISBN 0-306-80837-4
- Kenrick, John."History of The Musical Stage, 1970s II: Concept Musicals, Fosse" musicals101.com
- Gottfried, p. 366
- Fosse Internet Broadway Database
- "Bob Fosse's Dancin' Will Strut Into Studio 54 in 2009", Playbill, March 20, 2008.
- Jones, Kenneth."Bill Irwin and Nathan Lane Will Be Waiting for Godot on Broadway in Spring 2009", Playbill.com, October 16, 2008.
- Jones, Kenneth.Dancin', Look Back in Anger, Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet Set for Roundabout" playbill.com, February 16, 2011
- Eder, Richard. Review, The New York Times, March 28, 1978, p. 48