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Jim Meskimen

21 Hours 27 Minutes

Blackstone Audiobooks

November 2013

Audio Book Summary

We see Bob Fosse’s legacy everywhere—from Broadway to “Billy Jean” to Beyoncé’s moves in the “Single Ladies” video. Yet in spite of Fosse’s deep cultural significance, no biography has ever brought him fully to life, unveiling the man behind the bowler hat and the swaggering sex appeal. Now acclaimed cultural historian Sam Wasson traces Fosse’s numberless reinventions of himself over a career that would spawn The Pajama Game, Cabaret, Pippin, Chicago, All That Jazz, and other iconic works of art and earn him Tonys, Emmys, and an Oscar.

Wasson traces not only Fosse’s prodigious professional life but his intense relationships with everyone from Liza Minnelli, Fred Astaire, and Neil Simon to Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Lange, and Dustin Hoffman. Through extensive interviews with collaborators and lovers and unprecedented access to Fosse’s archives, Wasson also reveals the deep wounds that propelled his subject’s excessive appetites—for spotlights, women, and life itself. In Fosse, Wasson’s stylish, effervescent prose proves the ideal vehicle for reanimating Bob Fosse as he truly was—after hours, close up, and in vibrant color.

“Here’s something you can’t say about many celebrity biographies: at nearly 750 pages, it feels like it ends too soon. Wasson is such a lively, engaging writer that, as he takes us through the life and career of the multi-award-winning choreographer and director Bob Fosse, we scarcely notice we’re turning the pages—until there are no more to turn…Combining keen analysis of Fosse’s stage and screen works with a compassionate look at Fosse’s often-tumultuous personal life, the book is everything you could want in a celebrity bio, without any of the gossipy, trashy, third-handrumory rubbish that makes too many biographies so painful to read. This one’s a pure joy to read, cover to cover; you read it not merely for Fosse’s story but also for Wasson’s inventive way of telling it. If this book doesn’t turn up on some literary-awards lists, it’ll be a serious crime.”—Booklist (starred review)

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