Auburn students passionate in the arts are swinging their hips to commemorate the life of one of the most influential director-choreographers, Bob Fosse, in an original performance titled, “All That Fosse.” He was an unprecedented choreographer who won eight Tony Awards, and forever changed the industry with his provocative yet entertaining choreography.
“All That Fosse” is a musical review of his life. The show consists of well-known songs from performances that Fosse directed and choreographed throughout his lifetime. The lyrics tell the story as the audience watches a young man transition into adult Fosse, the famed choreographer that he was destined to become.
Jeri Dickey, director, choreographer and professor at Auburn wanted to reflect and celebrate his life’s work.
“Fosse had such an influence on all musical theatre shows from classical performances to contemporary, and I wanted this to be a learning experience for the students,” Dickey said. “I was inspired by the works of Bob Fosse because the students here have not been exposed to different styles of dance.”
Dickey held auditions for the musical and cast 14 actors who she felt could handle the challenge.
“I wanted this production to be educational,” Dickey said. “I cast students for roles that I knew they would never audition for in real life, so that when they graduate they can say that they were challenged to try new things.”
One student in particular faced a challenge unlike the other actors. Benjamin Strickland was given the coveted role as adult Fosse, and was cast as the only freshman in the musical.
“It is not easy to relate to Bob Fosse because I am not a middle-aged man or a great dancer,” Strickland said.
In order to transform into his character, Strickland had to change his everyday mindset. “My time getting into character was spent intimately. I use to sit on my back porch and think, ‘What would Fosse do if he experienced the day I just had?’”
Although some roles were challenging, Dickey said that the cast worked hard and that she is thrilled with their efforts.
Senior Haley Stevens, cast as Velma one of Fosse’s dancers, said that she is excited to perform in front of an audience.
“I auditioned for this part with no intentions of getting to perform it, but I am ecstatic that I get this opportunity because the character is a lot like me,” Stevens said.
The Auburn University Department of Theatre will showcase “All That Fosse” Oct. 17-20 and again Oct. 22-25 in the Upstairs Theatre. Contact the Auburn University Theatre box office at 334-844-4151 to reserve tickets.
All Auburn students will receive a free ticket with valid student ID.