Bob Fosse's Dancin'

An Almost Plotless Musical

You can’t fault the producers of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ for false advertising.  The title more or less says it all.  Still, in case there is any doubt, a dancer (Manuel Herrera) clarifies at the beginning: “What you will see is dancin’, dancin’, some singin’, and more dancin’.”

No problem here.  The result is a terrific revue with athletic and airborne choreography that goes beyond the popular image of Fosse dancing as jazz hands.  Highlights include a version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” sung by a representation of Bill Robinson (Yeman Brown).  Before he sings, he says, “I, too, sing America. / I am the darker brother … They’ll see how beautiful I am / And be ashamed— / I, too, am America.”

The “America” section, however, is an uncomfortable exception.  There is a somewhat unreflective, jingoistic quality to the number that feels discordant with the current political climate.  The songs have been selected carefully—“Dixie,” for example, was featured in the original, 1978 production, but has been cut from this one—and what remains is inoffensive: the unionist “Rally ‘Round the Flag,’” the satirical “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and the ubiquitous “Stars and Stripes Forever.”  Still, they are all military tunes that are a little too cheerful about long-held symbols of patriotism.

Nevertheless, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ is an almost unremitting good time, a dynamic and eclectic show that provides about as pure a pleasure as Broadway can offer.

Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ runs through May 14th at the Music Box Theatre.  239 West 45th Street  New York, NY.  2 hours 15 minutes.  One intermission. Photograph by Julieta Cervantes.


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