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AISLE SAY Washington, D.C./Baltimore


Starring Reva Rice and Linda Bowen
Choreography by Bob Fosse
Directed by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Ann Reinking
The National Theatre
1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Reviewed by Keith Waters

The touring company of Fosse, the 1999 Tony Award winner for Best Musical now playing at the National Theatre, shimmers, sizzles and shines during all of its three acts thanks to the talented efforts of its dazzling and energetic 28-member cast.

The show is a celebration of some of famed choreographer Bob Fosse's most notable numbers, as well as rarely-seen dance and musical numbers from his earliest works. Fosse was the first director in history in 1973 to snag the Oscar ("Cabaret"), Tony ("Pippin"), and Emmy ("Liza with a Z") in the same year. Fosse, who died at the age of 60 in 1987, received a total of nine Tony awards for his work as a director and choreographer, one Academy Award, and three Emmy Awards. Ann Reinking, a principal dancer in many of Fosse's shows, personally trained all of the cast members in the Fosse style of dance.

"Fosse" features fast-paced razzle-dazzle, and a variety of musical styles for all tastes. Reva Rice is a dynamic performer, and she presides over the evening with a sultry and regal presence, most notably in "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Cabaret."

The show offers many wonderful numbers, including "Big Spender," when the women in a bar perform their "come hither" routines in a deft and wry manner. The show is beautifully costumed, in particular "I Wanna Be A Dancin' Man," billed as a tribute to Fred Astaire, with both male and female dancers outfitted in dapper three-piece suits, complete with straw boater hats and spats, and the finale, Benny Goodman's "Sing, Sing, Sing," when even more snappy costumes appear along with a five-piece band on stage.

Washington, D.C. native Terace Jones is featured in the show and performs with muscular grace and agility, particularly in "Mr. Bojangles." Other stand-outs in the cast include Mark Swanhart, as a charismatic and supremely athletic prize fighter in "From the Edge," and Dylis Croman who performs a solo number in "Sing, Sing, Sing."

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