Thursday 10 October 2013

Book Review: Fosse by Sam Wasson

Title: Fosse
Author: Sam Wasson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: 5 November 2013
Pages: 736
Format: E-Book - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction / Biography
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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More than a quarter-century after his death, Bob Fosse’s fingerprints on popular culture remain indelible. The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Fosse revolutionized nearly every facet of American entertainment, forever marking Broadway and Hollywood with his iconic style — hat tilted, fingers splayed — that would influence generations of performing artists. Yet in spite of Fosse’s innumerable achievements, no accomplishment ever seemed to satisfy him, and offstage his life was shadowed in turmoil and anxiety.

Now, bestselling author Sam Wasson unveils the man behind the swaggering sex appeal, tracing Fosse’s untold reinventions of himself over a career that would spawn
The Pajama Game, Cabaret, Pippin, All That Jazz, and Chicago, one of the longest-running Broadway musicals ever. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources — friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of whom have never spoken publicly about Fosse before — Wasson illuminates not only Fosse’s prodigious professional life, but also his close and conflicted relationships with everyone from Liza Minnelli to Ann Reinking to Jessica Lange and Dustin Hoffman. Wasson also uncovers the deep wounds that propelled Fosse’s insatiable appetites — for spotlights, women, and life itself. In this sweeping, richly detailed account, Wasson’s stylish, effervescent prose proves the ideal vehicle for revealing Bob Fosse as he truly was — after hours, close up, and in vibrant color. (Goodreads Synopsis)

Fosse by Sam Wasson is a must-read for any dance and musical theatre fan. Wasson has clearly put in a great deal of time researching for this biography as it is bursting with detail, anecdotes and information. Spanning over 700 pages, it offers an in-depth account of the life and work of wonderful choreographer and dancer, Bob Fosse. It covers the highs and lows and gives great insight behind the scenes.

Despite the length of this book, it never feels slow or dull and was entertaining from start to finish. There are plenty of explanatory notes and a comprehensive index and I can recommend this for those with an interest in theatre personalities.

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