In 1978, Bob Fosse staged a tribute to his favorite art form with a largely plotless show called “Dancin’” that wound up running for more than four years.
The show, with a mix of dance forms and musical styles, was famously demanding, and has not returned to Broadway since, despite an effort to do so 15 years ago. But now a new group of artists, led by a member of the show’s original cast and with the support of Fosse’s daughter, is reimagining the show and bringing it back to Broadway early next year.
The revival, now called “Bob Fosse’s Dancin’,” is scheduled to begin performances March 2 and to open March 19 at the Music Box Theater. It is directed by Wayne Cilento, who was a performer in the original cast.
The show, Fosse said in 1978, “is about the sheer joy of dancing.”
“After all, you go to the ballet, you don’t expect one ballet to have anything to do with the next, do you?” he said. “The dances work on their own, or they don’t work. I feel like I’m bucking some very rigid expectations of what a musical is supposed to be. Well, what the hell, I’m giving the best I’ve got.”
The original production did not delight The New York Times critic at the time, Richard Eder, who could not accept the lack of a plot, writing, “it is like the frosting declaring its independence from the cake.” But apparently a lot of people were just fine with frosting: The show ran for 1,787 performances.
The revival had a pre-Broadway run earlier this year at the Old Globe theater in San Diego. The San Diego Union-Tribune called it “a spectacular production of sight and sound. And most of all, dancin’.”
Fosse’s Tony-winning choreography is being “reproduced” by Christine Colby Jacques, who was also a member of the original company. The playwright Kirsten Childs is being credited with “text consultation and additional material.”
The show’s lead producer is Joey Parnes; it is being capitalized for $15 million, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.