Soundbite: Composer Stephen Schwartz on Bob Fosse, of TV Series ‘Fosse/Vernon’

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CHICAGO – The final episode of the FX Network’s miniseries “Fosse/Vernon” airs on Tuesday, May 28th, 2019, concluding one of the more fascinating explorations of a historic show business couple. Bob Fosse and Gwen Vernon were titans of Broadway (and for Fosse, beyond), and one of BF’s collaborators was Stephen Schwartz, the composer of Pippin, which Fosse directed and choreographed.

Stephen Schwartz was a young wunderkind when he collided with Bob Fosse. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon in 1968 he worked in the music business, and in 1971 he wrote the music and lyrics for the classic “Godspell” musical. For his next project, he re-explored a college project named “Pippin, Pippin.” a musical fantasy based the 8th Century Prince Pepin/King Charlemagne legend. Retitled “Pippin,” the musical was assigned to director/choreographer Bob Fosse, who helped Schwartz (with a book by Roger O. Hirson) create a smash hit. The original Broadway run was 1,944 performances from 1972 through 1977.

Stephen Schwartz (foreground) and Bob Fosse (back) Developing ‘Pippin’ in the Early 1970s
Photo credit: File Photo

“Fosse/Vernon” is a limited run miniseries on the FX Network, starring Sam Rockwell as director-choreographer Bob Fosse, and Michelle Williams as actress-dancer Gwen Vernon. The series, which tells the story of the couple’s troubled marriage and professional relationship, is based on the biography “Fosse” by Sam Wasson. Each episode is a different point in their lives, often told in flashback and flash forward style.

From an interview from 2010 – and published here for the first time – Patrick McDonald of spoke to Stephen Schwartz on his collaboration with Bob Fosse, and the techniques of his direction.

The ”Fosse/Vernon” miniseries on the FX Network concludes on Tuesday, May 28th, 2019 (10pm ET/9pm CT). See TV provider for App or channel location. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald,

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