The new Broadway production of Bob Fosse's Dancin' officially opened on March 19 at the Music Box Theatre, and Playbill was on the red carpet to talk to the stars of the show and capture snaps of all the opening night looks. Read the reviews here.
Tony winner and original Broadway cast member of the 1978 Dancin' Wayne Cilento directs the show, which re-creates Fosse's original, Tony-winning choreography. Sixteen dancers bring the work to life every night, in large group dances as well as solo, duet, and trio numbers. Dancin' includes such iconic Fosse numbers as "Crunchy Granola Suite," "Sing, Sing, Sing," "From the Edge," "Mr. Bojangles," and "I Wanna Be a Dancin' Man."
"I think that a lot of people have an idea of what Fosse is, and this show is going to re-educate people on how diverse and versatile he actually was," says cast member Manuel Herrera, who notably sings the song "Mr. Bojangles" in the show. "He truly was a director's choreographer—his movement always meant something. It wasn't just a move for movement sake."
Fellow cast member Neka Zang agrees: "Fosse treated his dancers like actors, which we are. So we're really more than just a dancer. We're telling a story. We're acting through the movement."
See the red carpet video of the cast below, explaining "What makes a Fosse dancer."
It's been over 40 years since Dancin' first premiered on Broadway, and it's been many years since audiences have seen original Fosse choreography. (The current Chicago revival was choreographed in the style of Fosse by his late collaboratore Anne Reinking.)
Many of the vignettes in Dancin' are little musicals within themselves, such as "Big City Mime." Fosse had originally cut the number during the original Boston tryout, but Cilento has reconstructed it for this production. Along with Cilento, original Dancin' cast member Christine Colby Jacques is on board, handling reproducing Fosse's choreography with associate direction and additional choreographic reconstruction by Cilento's long-time collaborator Corinne McFadden Herrera. Assistant musical staging and additional choreographic reconstruction is by Lauren Cannon. The revival also newly includes additional material by playwright and Dancin' original Broadway production cast member Kirsten Childs, who serves as text consultant for the production.
"It's a responsibility that I do not take lightly," says cast member Tony d'Alelio on continuing the Fosse legacy and inspiring a new generation of dancers. "I know my life changed when I saw the production of Fosse in the late '90s, early 2000s. It inspired me to be the kind of dancer I want it to be. So, I hope that there are young people out there that are going to come and see the show and get to dance class!"
Dancin' is presented in cooperation with Nicole Fosse, daughter of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, who was in attendance opening night with her three sons. "The 1978 cast inspired me to become a dancer," she tells Playbill. She now runs the Verdon Fosse Legacy, an organization dedicated to preserving the work of her dancing parents, which includes a summer professional training program in New York City.
READ: Nicole Fosse Knows That Dancin' Was Particularly Special to Her Father
The other cast members of Dancin' include Ioana Alfonso, Yeman Brown, Peter John Chursin, Dylis Croman, Jōvan Dansberry, Karli Dinardo, Jacob Guzman, Kolton Krouse, Mattie Love, Yani Marin, Nando Morland, Khori Michelle Petinaud, Ida Saki, and Ron Todorowski, rounded out by understudies Aydin Eyikan, Pedro Garza, Afra Hines, Gabriel Hyman, and Krystal Mackie.
As this diverse cast reflects on inspiring the dancers of tomorrow, many of them mention that when they were young, they didn't see examples of themselves on stage. Their presence on Broadway now holds even more importance to them, knowing they may be inspiring young dancers of today—who might not have seen themselves in Fosse before, but who can now with this new Dancin'.
"That means I'm doing something good with my life," says Brown, who performs the spirit dancer in "Mr. Bojangles." "That's the dream, right? That your life can be purposeful and inspiring to somebody else."
Click through the gallery below for photos from the red carpet, including the company of Dancin' and celebrity guests like Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, and Hillary Clinton.