FX’s "Fosse/Verdon" pulls back the curtain on the notable, albeit controversial, Broadway power duo that was Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon.
"Some things are historical fiction," said Nicole Fosse, the only daughter of influential director/choreographer Fosse and Tony-winning performer Verdon, who died in 1987 and 2000, respectively. Nicole, who serves as a producer and creative consultant on the series, opened up about her childhood in relation to the series on a conference call with reporters this month.
"The FX series is including a much broader spectrum of the potential truth," Nicole, 56, added about the miniseries spanning five decades of her late parents’ romantic and professional lives. It stars Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams in the leading roles and several actresses as Nicole at different points in her life.
Her father is said to have reinvented the New York City theater scene throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. He won a record number of Tony and Academy Awards for his musical stage and film work, including "Chicago," "Pippin" and "Cabaret."
"Part of my parents’ enduring legacy is that my father really changed the framework for Broadway," Nicole said. "Pieces like ‘Hamilton’ or ‘In the Heights’ or ‘Rent’ can happen because of my father’s work. The framework is different [now]. Musicals are different because of the way he constructed musicals."
He became known for his signature choreography style — shoulder-rolling mixed with jazz hands — which has been mirrored on Broadway today, as well as in film and music productions. Look to Beyonce’s "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" music video for the quickest reference, which channels Fosse’s "Mexican Breakfast" choreography.
But his impressive portfolio and entertainment influence is often overshadowed by issues made public within his marriage to Verdon — several reported affairs, as well as his personal struggles with drugs and alcohol abuse and battle with depression.
The series also explores parts of their marriage Nicole may have been too young to understand.
Early scenes in "Fosse/Verdon" portray Nicole, between the ages of 10 and 12, serving alcohol to her dadand being left with sitters as he spends alone time with women. Nicole recalled the first time she actually served a beer — to Fosse and playwright Herb Gardner — was when she was 7, "even younger than we’re seeing in the episode."
“I’m much more aware of how distraught my father could be internally," she said. "Being raised with him as my father, that was normal to me, the obsession with work, the crazy hours, and when I watch it on screen or read it in a script, I really see … how enveloped he was by show business to the point where he didn’t really develop a lot of another life."
Fosse met Verdon (his creative muse) in 1955 on the set of "Damn Yankees" and they wed five years later while working together on Broadway’s "Redhead." In 1963, they welcomed their daughter Nicole. Less than a decade later, they were separated.
Their separation, rumored to have stemmed from Verdon discovering Fosse was having several affairs while filming "Cabaret," didn’t end their creative partnership.
“They knew they could trust each other, even when their marriage was no longer really a marriage," Nicole said. "They had a lot of trust with each other and a lot of loyalty … If you exclude the bedroom part, they were loyal to each other their entire lives.”
ON TV: "Fosse/Verdon" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.