'Fosse/Verdon': The greatest Broadway icons you'll meet in FX's series on Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon

FX's new series 'Fosse/Verdon' will primarily focus on the romantic and professional relationship between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon


                            'Fosse/Verdon': The greatest Broadway icons you'll meet in FX's series on Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon

FX is all set to launch the highly anticipated miniseries 'Fosse/Verdon' which will tell the story of 20th century's iconic Broadway couple Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. The duo met in 1955 and soon developed an undeniable chemistry both on stage and off. The couple formed a partnership that lasted for three decades and, on their journey, they bagged numerous awards including Tony and the Oscars. 

The limited series which premieres on April 9 will explore the complicated relationship between these two powerhouses. Sam Rockwell has taken on the leading role of Bob Fosse while Michelle Williams underwent a full makeover to portray Gwen Verdon. The show is based on their true story and takes inspiration from the biographical novel by Sam Wasson. Besides the two powerhouses, you will also meet several iconic characters that were active in the performance arts scene around the same time. 

Here's a breakdown of some of the iconic characters you will see on FX's new series.

Bob Fosse — Played by Sam Rockwell

American dancer, musical theatre choreographer, director and film director Bob Fosse (1927 - 1987), UK, 2nd November 1973. (Photo by John Downing/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American dancer, musical theatre choreographer, director and film director Bob Fosse (1927 - 1987), UK, 2nd November 1973. (Photo by John Downing/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Chicago-born choreographer and filmmaker came to the Broadway scene with the 1950 production of 'Dance Me a Song.' His first choreography break was with Carol Haney in the musical 'Kiss Me Kate,' and he immediately established the "Fosse" technique called the "amoeba" style which involved slouching shoulders and jutting hip movements.

He began to work as a choreographer on Broadway with 1954’s 'The Pajama Game' and he met Verdon, who became his muse, wife, and partner, the following year while working on his next project 'Damn Yankees'. 

For his work in theatre, Fosse was nominated for 20 Tonys and he won nine. He won an Oscar for directing 1972 hit 'Cabaret'. In 1979, he was nominated for 'All That Jazz.' He died in 1987 in Verdon's arms after suffering a heart attack.

Gwen Verdon — Played by Michelle Williams

American actor and dancer Gwen Verdon (1925 - 2000) smiles. She wears a striped button-down shirt. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actor and dancer Gwen Verdon (1925 - 2000) smiles. She wears a striped button-down shirt. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Gwen Verdon was born in 1925 in California and, as a child, she had rickets, which affected her legs. Her mother enrolled her in a dance class to strengthen her legs. By the time she was six, she was already dancing on stage and went on to study multiple dance forms including tap, jazz, ballroom, flamenco, and Balinese.

At 11, she appeared as a solo ballerina in the musical romance film 'The King Steps Out'. At 17, she abandoned dancing to elope with reporter James Henaghan. However, she resumed dance after her divorce and entrusted her son to her parents. Working as an assistant to Jack Cole for a time, Verdon became part of the Broadway community and won her first Tony for Cole Porter’s 'Can-Can,' and second one for Damn Yankees, 'Lola,' which she worked on with Fosse. 

Verdon and Fosse married in 1960 and Verdon took a backseat from the Broadway stage after giving birth to their daughter in 1963. In 1966, she made her return with the lead role in 'Sweet Charity' directed and choreographed by Fosse. Verdon and Fosse separated in 1971 as Fosse became known for infidelity and destructive habits, but the duo remained legally married till Fosse's death.

Ann Reinking — Played by Margaret Qualley

Actress, dancer and choreographer Ann Reinking photographed in 1977. (Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)
Actress, dancer and choreographer Ann Reinking photographed in 1977. (Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)

A Seattle native, Ann Reinking made her Broadway debut in 1969 with 'Cabaret and Coco.' She was later part of the original cast of 1971’s 'Pippin,' directed and choreographed by Fosse and the two became romantically linked as Reinking controversially took over Verdon’s role in 'Chicago' in February 1977. She was nominated for her second Tony in Fosse’s 'Dancin’' the following year and later appeared in the films 'Annie' and 'Micki & Maude.' After Fosse’s death, Reinking won a Tony for her choreography paying tribute to her mentor/lover in the 1996 revival of 'Chicago,' which has become the longest-running revival in Broadway history.

Shirley MacLaine — Played by Laura Osnes

American actress Shirley Maclaine in a belly-dancing outfit in a publicity still for 'John Goldfarb, Please Come Home', directed by J. Lee Thompson, 1965. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actress Shirley Maclaine in a belly-dancing outfit in a publicity still for 'John Goldfarb, Please Come Home', directed by J. Lee Thompson, 1965. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Shirley MacLaine, the Hollywood royalty, began her acting career in the ’50s and secured Oscars for films including 'Some Came Running,' 'The Apartment,' 'Irma La Douce,' and 'The Turning Point', before winning the lead actress for 1983’s 'Terms of Endearment.' MacLaine danced Fosse’s choreography on Broadway in 1954’s 'The Pajama Game' and as well as in the film when she took over the lead role in 1969’s 'Sweet Charity,' which Verdon had originated for the stage.

Chita Rivera — Played by Bianca Marroquin

Photo of Chita Rivera Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Photo of Chita Rivera Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Another Broadway icon we meet is Chita Rivera who made her way to the top in the 1950s starring in musicals like 'West Side Story,' 'Guys and Dolls,' 'Can-Can,' and 'Mr. Wonderful.' She worked with Shirley MacLaine in the late ’60s as part of the cast of movie 'Sweet Charity,' translating Fosse's choreography on screen. Years later, Rivera and Verdon would co-star in the original 1975 production of 'Chicago,' with Rivera playing Velma Kelly opposite Verdon’s Roxie Hart. 

Liza Minnelli — Played by Kelli Barrett 

American singer and actress Liza Minnelli makes a phonecall (Getty Images)
American singer and actress Liza Minnelli makes a phonecall (Getty Images)

The daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, Liza Minelli made her Tony-winning Broadway debut in 1965 with 'Flora, the Red Menace,' and later played Sally Bowles in the screen adaptation of 'Cabaret,' which Fosse directed. The film went on to earn eight Academy Awards with Minnelli winning a lead actress Oscar.

Joel Grey — Played by Ethan Slater

Joey Grey in the 'Cabaret' (IMDb)
Joey Grey in the 'Cabaret' (IMDb)

Joel Grey began his career in the '50s and is best known for his role as the Master of Ceremony in 'Cabaret.' Winning a Tony for the role, Grey reprised the character for the big screen adaptation of 'Cabaret' winning an Oscar for a 1987 revival. He continued his film and TV projects over the decades and directed the 2011 play 'The Normal Heart.'

Neil Simon and his wife Joan Simon — Played by Nate Corddry and Aya Cash

Neil Simon and his wife Joan Baim photographed at home in 1971. (Getty Images)
Neil Simon and his wife Joan Baim photographed at home in 1971. (Getty Images)

You will also meet Pulitzer-winning writer Neil Simon, played by Nate Corddry, and his wife Joan Simon, played by Aya Cash.