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Big DealBob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical$
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Kevin Winkler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199336791

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199336791.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

Keep It Hot

Keep It Hot

(p.185) 8 Keep It Hot
Big Deal

Kevin Winkler

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses two back-to-back projects in different media that share similarities. Lenny was Fosse’s film biography of comedian Lenny Bruce, whose disgust at sexual taboos and political and religious hypocrisies pushed his routines into the area of social satire. Chicago, Fosse’s “musical vaudeville,” unfolded as a series of numbers that conjured popular entertainment acts of the 1920s. Its story of jazz era killers who seek show business celebrity through murder and manipulation of the media was clearly meant to echo the present. Fosse shared co-librettist credit with Fred Ebb, but the critical response focused on Fosse’s staging concepts as the dominant production element. Chicago was a hit, but not a smash. It would take two decades for audiences to embrace its cynicism and relate it to contemporary American life. More than forty years after its original production, it is recognized as the quintessential Fosse show.

Keywords:   Chicago, Lenny, Lenny Bruce, The Little Prince, Michael Jackson, Fred Ebb, John Kander, Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera, concept musical

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