Fosse/Verdon Review 2019 TV-Show Series Cast Crew Online
Creators: Thomas Kail, Steven Levenson
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Michelle Williams, Norbert Leo Butz
Review: The new FX series, which features the magnetic performance of Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams, has ups and downs as the association of its subjects.
“Do not show me the effort, do not show me the sweat!” Shouts a choreographer in the first episode of the new miniseries Fosse / Verdon. “All I want to see is that smile!” It is a saying Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon paid brilliant attention throughout their creative association, although not so much in their tumultuous marriage, and one more evident in the musical cabaret of the first Oscar, essays for which they are dramatized in that mentioned scene. Fosse / Verdon, however, despite its tremendous results, feels at once draining and sweaty, an eight-hour distillation somewhat disordered from an association of five decades. The result is a series that is irregular and unsure of itself, but also periodically rescued by its ingenious cunning and kinetic energy.
A kind of dual artistic portrait, the series of eight episodes, produced by Broadway veterans Thomas Kail, Steven Levenson and Lin-Manuel Miranda, pays homage to the creative genius of Fosse and Verdon. It is difficult to say about most of the films and television that take a tortured artist and his bright-eyed muse as their subject, and Fosse / Verdon appreciably resists the temptation to leonize Fosse or frame Verdon’s success as a product. of his tutelage.
This has a lot to do with the program’s commitment to parity, made literal by the slash in its title, as does the performance of Michelle Williams as Verdon. Masterfully adopting the four and more dense speech patterns of Tony Winner, Williams is assertive, tender, sensual and athletic, as convincing as a professional and a Broadway legend, as she is the harassed wife-manager of a problematic author. In moments she seems frankly imperial, like a gazelle, or airy and fragile, like a hummingbird. It is the kind of performance, elegant and animal in equal measure, that Fosse would have loved to capture on stage or celluloid, and how memorably he extracted from Verdon, Liza Minnelli and Dustin Hoffman, among others.
Sam Rockwell almost equals his co-star, portraying Bobby with a furtive charm and a self-destructive doubt. Fosse was a man perpetually dissatisfied, depressed, drugged and adulterous, often after his greatest creative triumphs, as in 1973, the year he won an Oscar for Cabaret, an Emmy for Liza with a Z and a Tony for Pippin and more Later he admitted himself to a mental health center. In the 700-page biography of Sam Wasson, in which the writers based the series, Fosse is described as suffering from PTSBSD: “post-traumatic stress disorder-entrepreneurial disorder”. Rockwell takes advantage of these ups and downs and, often, at the same time, the glint in his eyes barely conceals his exhaustion and his sense of victimhood. He does not feel very sympathetic with sympathy (Fosse’s compulsive obsession and upbringing in the absence make it difficult to sympathize), but Rockwell rounds his limits enough so that we feel the attractiveness and charisma that also attracted many of the company’s dancers. .
Fosse’s work prospered in this type of contradictions, the interaction between light and darkness, the countryside and class, fascism and art, glare and darkness and fatality. Discord was his sweet spot, although the industry initially did not accept his provocations. “People are not going to go to the movies anymore,” Gwen tells Cabaret producer Cy Feuer (Paul Reiser), when she asks Fosse to light up the infamous gorilla costume scene. “They will find something true.”
At its best, Fosse / Verdon finds it, and most of the time it relies on the work left behind by its two themes, which allows it to provide a kind of roadmap to understand them. “Bob,” Gwen laughs on a film set, “it’s my native tongue.” When Fosse asks for Verdon’s help in postproduction, the help she provides properly even though she has her own essays to attend, the program effectively communicates the unique intuition at the core of her collaboration. It was one of instinct and physics, and the choreography was a kind of shared language; When Fosse meets Verdon for the first time, auditioning her for Damn Yankees, you can feel the electric current running between them as palpable in their movements as in the snap of their character shoes.
But Fosse / Verdon misrepresents the tension as often as it cultivates it. If the reverse chronology of another elaborate FX series, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, finally revealed its virtues, the five episodes of Fosse / Verdon that were made available to critics left me in search of some kind of structural logic in the arrangement of the show, which makes prodigious use of the title cards (“267 days since the last Tony Award of Gwen Verdon”; “Bob Fosse: 3 years since the sweet charity collapsed”) to pinball between the triumphs and the failures of his subjects. Individual episodes move so generously between time and space, from an uncomfortable game rehearsal to a star-making debut decades earlier, that it becomes difficult to discern a DIY story. The resulting convolution sabotages what might otherwise be hot moments of confrontation: a scene in which Gwen is about to walk on Bobby with another woman is prolonged in several episodes, she mocks so redundantly of cuts and flashbacks until the moment has run out. Any impact
The program arrives at its rhythm when it is established, as in the fifth hour, a kind of bottle episode that unites Gwen, Bob and some of the best support players of the program in a beach house in Southampton. Fosse, just a couple of months out of a psych ward, wants to film Lenny; Gwen wants him to present in Chicago for her; her new lover, Ann Reinking (the impressive, and ascending, Margaret Qualley) wants her to rest, by order of the doctor. “That man,” explains Fosse’s friend Paddy Chayefsky, played by charming stage actor Norbert Leo Butz, “is going to do exactly what he wants to do.” It’s a brilliant pressure cooker of an episode, in which Fosse / Verdon does well. in its dramatic potential without relying on pomp or musical numbers.
But there are a lot of them, as there should be, and the nerds of the theater will be delighted with the recreations of shows like Mein Herr, What Lola wants and Who has the pain? Ultimately, I wished that Fosse / Verdon was more focused, that I could more closely align all its fascinating parts. But to those who appreciate the art of performance, the strongest piece of the series and the entertainment ingredient on which it is most intelligent, I say: Willkommen! Bienvenue! You are welcome!
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