Keep It Hot
Keep It Hot
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.
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