‘Fosse/Verdon’ TV Review: What Background You Need To Know To Understand FX Series
On Tuesday night, Fosse/Verdon, FX’s new eight-episode miniseries about a romantic and creative Broadway partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, kicked off and fans are already hooked.
When it comes to Broadway musicals and Hollywood blockbusters, it’s necessary for it to have a wow number to hook the audience in from the start. Lin-Manuel Miranda, one of the Fosse/Verdon executive producers understands this, as does Hamilton director Thomas Kail, who had a big influence on the first episode, and Dear Evan Hansen scribe Steven Levenson, who wrote it. And to bring viewers in the very first episode paid homage to Fosse and Verdon, which gave viewers both Sweet Charity and Fosse’s professional peak Cabaret. And by the end of the episode, viewers were left with the impression that this series will involve a fascinating exploration to find out.
But if you haven’t been sold on watching the show, you might be wondering is Fosse/Verdon a series for theater geeks? Well if you begin watching Fosse/Verdon without knowing any background of who Fosse and Verdon were, the show doesn’t offer a lot of hand-holding.
The show begins in 1969, when Fosse’s first film, a movie version of Sweet Charity, which he had directed on stage, was about to flop, which would turn out to be a career setback that many people would never be able to recover from. During this time, people didn’t want Fosse without Verdon and that gets to Fosse because he himself didn’t want to be without Verdon. But this is a turning point for Verdon, as she scraps and scrambles to get parts that are worthy of her talents, but her career never measures up to the same heights as it did in the 1950s and 60s again.
Fosse then goes on to direct the 1972’s Cabaret, which he’ll win an Oscar for, then two Tonys and three Emmys for different projects all within the same year. And his next two movies, 1974’s Lenny and 1979’s All That Jazz, will both receive Best Picture nominations, and he will then go on to direct and choreograph the original production of Chicago on Broadway in 1975. From this point on, Fosse/Verdon moves forward and backward in time. And in the second episode, the two stars will meet for the first time, on the 1955 musical Damn Yankees, where the choreography they conceived together essentially rewrote the rules of American dance.
Tune in on Tuesday at 10 pm ET on FX to watch the new second episode of Fosse/Verdon.