Bob Fosse is the unforgettable reason for one of the Top 10 nights I’ve spent in a theater. In terms of audience response to him, I’m not certain I’ve ever experienced anything to beat it.
The occasion was the 1963 City Center revival of Pal Joey with Fosse in the title role, of course, supported by mink-wrapped Viveca Lindfors(!) as Vera, Rita Gardner as Linda and Kay Medford as Melba, singing “Zip.” I was there on a Sunday night in June during the 15-performance run, which happened to be an Actors Fund evening (raise your hand if you remember those) and which meant, since it was Sunday, all other shows were dark.
Which meant that every dancer in Manhattan who wasn’t on stage was in the audience. Which meant that the packed-house crowd responded to everything Fosse did, to every inverted first position, every hip hitch, every shoulder turn, every crotch bump, every pointed finger on every hat tip.
Twice monthly, ArtsNash is delighted to feature articles from our partner The Clyde Fitch Report. The contributors to CFR cast their journalistic eyes on the worlds of arts and politics. Follow The Clyde Fitch Report on Facebook and Twitter. David Finkle is the author of the preceding article, one of a series in The Aisle Seat for CFR.
*Photo courtesy Clyde Fitch Report.