"Hey, Big Spender," from Sweet Charity, 1969, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, performed by Chita Rivera, Paula Kelly, and others. Among his most iconic creations, "Hey, Big Spender" exemplifies the Fosse style, described by Richard Kisland as "earthbound, physical, percussive, and sexy."


Bob Fosse, Photo courtesy of Library of Congress Pictured: Bob Fosse in a studio shot. The Fosse "brand" has become virtually synonymous with theatrical jazz dance. (Photograph from the collections of the Music Division, Library of Congress.)


Bob Fosse (1927-1987), a prolific director and choreographer for musicals and films, began dancing in nightclubs at thirteen. During World War II, he served as a naval entertainment officer in the Pacific. Following theater and television work in the late 1940s, Fosse traveled to Hollywood in 1953 to perform in Kiss Me Kate, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, and Give A Girl A Break. He choreographed both the original Broadway productions and films of Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, and Sweet Charity. His movie My Sister Eileen (1955) was closely followed by stage productions of New Girl in Town (1957) and Redhead (1959). Among Fosse's subsequent Broadway successes were How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1961), Little Me (1962), Pippin (1972), Cabaret (1972), Chicago (1975), and Dancin' (1978). He also created the television special, "Liza with a Z," and directed the semi-autobiographical film, All That Jazz (1979). Into a sexy and distinctive style, Fosse incorporated isolations, off-center body positions, tight vertical movement, and high-stepping struts. A collage of his numbers that pays tribute to his inventiveness, Fosse won the 1999 Tony award for Best Musical.

Learn more in Bob Fosse, an essay by Larry Billman.


Dancin', Broadhurst Theatre, 1970s Bob Fosse's first all-dance revue, Dancin' was conceived by him as tribute to the art of dance, with a score made up of existing music in many different styles. Poster designed by Bob Gill for the Broadway show, directed and choreographed by Fosse, which opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in 1978.