On Cape Cod last week, my family and I were sitting at a big round table enjoying a wonderful dinner. The champagne flowed as freely as the conversation. As is typical among our gang, the discussion was dominated by the arts, and on this particular night, film, theater, and music were the main topics.
My brother Chris is a composer and his standards for what make a quality musical are very high- higher than most peoples’. Chris is a guy who was happy to see Rent finally close! Anyway, he stated that he felt Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret was one of the best, if not the best, musicals ever produced. That led to a discussion of the film version starring Liza Minnelli, who won a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar for her performance. Another Oscar winner for that film was the director Bob Fosse. I happen to be a huge fan of Bob Fosse. From his films to his choreography, his overall creative vision, Fosse made memorable contributions to the performing and visual arts.
Besides his talent and impressive body of work, the late Bob Fosse signifies something else that is personal to my family. In his 1979 autobiographical film All That Jazz, my father made a small appearance! It was really exciting at the time. In the nightclub scene, my Dad was a musician on the bandstand in the background, and he was directed personally by Bob Fosse. Cool! I believe he instructed my Dad to act bored, a musician on a break reading the newspaper, and then pick up his horn to play when the act came onstage. The funny thing is that I wasn’t even allowed to see the R rated film at the time. I was only eleven years old and my father forbid it. But I have of course seen it since then 🙂
All That Jazz has one of the best opening scenes of a movie ever. Terrifically shot, it captures the grueling pressure of a Broadway audition and is set to the hit song “On Broadway” by George Benson. As a kid I remember loving that song, and playing the record over and and over again in my room, dancing as if I had big Broadway dreams. It’s a great, groovy track. I’m posting this video for “Music Monday” but it could easily be a “Dancing Monday”. That’s the excellent Roy Scheider (an actor I love) dressed in black, depicting the film character “Joe Gideon” based on Bob Fosse himself.