Recommended: Fosse

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

736 pages, $32

Sam Wasson’s biography of dance legend Bob Fosse is the first to be written in 25 years, researched with unprecedented access to the Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon Collection at the Library of Congress and supplemented by over 300 interviews with some of Fosse’s closest friends—and all contained within a hefty 736 pages. But with a past as colorful as that of the man who choreographed iconic shows Sweet Charity, Pippin and Chicago, how could it be anything less?

Wasson doesn’t cut corners when it comes to creating a three-dimensional portrait of Fosse, a man considered by most to be, by turns, a genius, workaholic, devoted father and insatiable ladies’ man. His description of the dance auditions for Pippin detail not only the tried-and-true advice whispered among the women to “tease [their] hair way up” and “use eyeliner” to attract his attention but also Fosse’s deep sincerity and regret when he needed to cut dancers—which he did one by one, with words of appreciation for their time and effort. It’s an unflinchingly honest book, and a choreographer as revered as Fosse deserves every page.

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