In Person: Stepping lively
Reva Rice and Kenya Osumi promise plenty of eroticism
in the newest version of the hit Broadway musical Fosse. Chris Betros
talks to the talented twosome.
The great American dancer, choreographer and director Bob Fosse died
in 1987 at the age of 60, but his obituary is far from finished. Fosse
has been enjoying a revival over the last couple of years thanks to a
dynamite Broadway musical featuring his finest song and dance numbers.
Last year more than 100,000 fans flocked to see the Tony Award-winning
musical Fosse during its Japan run, with dancer Reva Rice leading an all-American
troupe. This month, proving that theater knows no boundaries, Rice is
back with a European cast as well as Japanese TV actor and dancer Kenya
Osumi to stage Fosse in Tokyo and Osaka. "This version is much
more erotic and decadent," said Rice in Tokyo recently before rehearsals
began. "The cast is mostly European and they bring a flavor with
emphasis more on the sensual side of Mr Fosse. In America, audiences can
be a bit prudish compared to other countries that are more open about
Rice, who grew up in Toledo, Ohio, has established herself as one of America's
finest Broadway dancers. Besides starring in Fosse, she has performed
in London in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express as well as
in Japan in Smokey Joe's Cafe. Her "Instant Japanese"
phrasebook is within reaching distance, but as she and Osumi agree, body
language is what counts in their profession.
For Osumi, 36, Fosse marks the first time for a Japanese dancer to appear
in a Broadway musical. Once married to entertainer Rumiko Koyanagi, Osumi
feels more excitement than pressure. A bit shy with his English, he loosens
up soon enough and jokes with Rice about the decadent part of the show.
"After all, the basic instinct of human beings is decadent and
erotic," he said, adding that he prefers the theater to TV because
he likes to feed off the audience's reaction.
Rice, whose first name means "miracle" in a Native American
language, is happy to be in front of Japanese audiences again. "They
are very reserved. They'll fool you at first and then at the end
of the show, they let you know it was just magnificent. In America, people
will clap in the middle of a song, whereas here they don't want
to be rude by applauding at wrong times during the show. This time I'll
throw in a couple of Japanese words in some numbers and see what happens."
And plenty of numbers there are. Fosse is a compilation of the multitalented
man's greatest hits, among them "Life Is Just a Bowl of
Cherries," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "Big Spender"
and "Take Off With Us," from musicals such as All That Jazz,
The Pajama Game, Sweet Charity, Chicago, Cabaret and Dancin.' All
of them contain what Rice calls Fosse's choreographic signature:
groups of dancers who are not cookie-cutter but each with a distinct individuality,
drilled to death so there is synchronicity. "It's a very
accessible choreography. It's about putting finesse and savoir
faire into something as simple as picking up a teacup," said Rice.
"There is an underlying sensuality and sophistication to simple
things like that."
For Osumi, the challenge of mastering the Fosse style is all too obvious.
"Japanese dancers are not as well-proportioned as Western dancers.
But we can draw from our traditional arts like noh, kyogen and kabuki.
There is a beauty in not letting all your energy burst out," said
Osumi who keeps fit through jazz ballet, going to the gym and skiing.
While Rice never had the chance to meet Fosse, she gained some valuable
insight about his turbulent life from his third wife and long-time star
Gwen Verdon, and his protégé Ann Reinking. "There were a lot of
dramas among the women in Bob Fosse's life. I felt honored these
women wanted to share their experiences with me. Gwen gave us the imagery
and motivation behind the different movements," she said.
If she could meet Fosse, Rice said she would thank him for being true
to himself. "He wasn't afraid to go against the grain. He
gave opportunities to a lot of dancers who probably would never have worked
in the industry because they weren't classical ballet dancers or
they were from different ethnic backgrounds or their sexual preferences
Rice has been on the road now for four-and-a-half years and only spends
about six weeks a year at home in Las Vegas. "When I do go home,
I never leave my house. I just sit around the pool and yell at my dogs.
I'm lucky to have my boyfriend. He's in the industry as
well and understands what it takes to do what we do. We try to make sure
we don't go four or five weeks without seeing each other."
In between her musicals, Rice is into kickboxing and is working on an
exercise video, a treadmill routine that's a combination of hip
hop and boxing. Maybe she'll be a pro boxer one day. "No,
if I had to do anything else, I'd be a lawyer. When I want to make
a point, I'm pretty adamant about it."
Fosse comes to Bunkamura July 31-August 18.
For tickets and showtimes, call 03-3477-9999.
Photos courtesy of H. Sugi
and Max Botticelli
|B u y i t o n l i n
The Spy Who Shagged Me [DVD]
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539: Sea worthy
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538: The public eye
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537: Casting a spell
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536: Page turner
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535: Glitter twins
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534: Character study
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533: The big freeze
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532: Hitting a Homer
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530: Hey Jude
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529: Field goals
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528: Voice of reason
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527: Rock enroll
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526: Spoils of war
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525: Second acts
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524: State of Grace
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523: Manga mania
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522: Queen of hearts
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521: Remember when
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519: Bilingual beat
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518: Full speed ahead
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517: American dream
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516: Hail the hobbits
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515: In the name of love
Only 20, British actress Keira Knightley is already building an impressive
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514: Horsing around
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513: Free bird
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512: Girl next door
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511: Emotional baggage
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508: All that jazz
Filipino singer Charito is still winning fans after 20 years on the Tokyo
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507: Lord of the rings
Hollywood can't get enough Japanese horror movies to remake. Producer Takashige
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506: Men of honor
Tom Cruise and Edward Zwick say we can all learn from the samurai code of
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505: A lofty goal
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504: Gallo's humor
Vincent Gallo comes out swinging in defense of his controversial movie The
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503: Making J-Waves
Radio navigator, TV host, event MC and jewelry designer Chris Peppler has
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502: Glitter Ball
501: Crossing swords
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500: Share the wealth
To commemorate our 500th issue, Metropolis is asking Halloween partygoers
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499: In full bloom
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498: Just for laughs
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497: Nobel mind
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496: Broad strokes
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495: Action figure
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494: Show and tell
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Chris Betros tunes in.
493: Pasona non grata
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492: Rain man
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491: Golden boy
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490: Murder, she wrote
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489: Life or death
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488: Work of art
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487: A charmed life
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486: He's back
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485: Prime time
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484: Screen test
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483: Angel eyes
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482: No holds barred
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481: Top of the hill
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480: Inside the Matrix
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Chris Betros hears what the stars have to say about it.
479: Universal themes
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478: On the ball
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477: That's a rap
Director Curtis Hanson gets a surprisingly good performance out of controversial
hip-hop superstar Eminem in 8 Mile. Chris Betros finds out how he did it.
476: Say the magic word
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475: Bully boy
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no-holds barred drama Bully. Chris Betros tries to figure him out.
474: Inventive mind
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473: The king of rock n role
Montreal entertainer Martin Fontaine brings The Elvis Story to Japan this
month. Sachie Kanda meets the star of the high-energy musical.
472: Inside out
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the right choices in their lives. Chris Betros gets a few tips, too.
471: Dramatic intrigue
International star of stage and screen Mozaffar Shafeie gives Stephen Cotterill
the lowdown on Tokyos theater scene.
470: Guru of gore
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You wouldnt think so from his films, though, Chris Betros observes.
469: Female bonding
Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike leave 007 shaken and stirred in Lee Tamahoris
Die Another Day. Chris Betros hears more.
468: Baby boom
Pint-sized BRAT has Japans pop culture in his sights. Chris Betros
talks to his creator, British illustrator John Shelley.
467: Good Lord
Actor Viggo Mortensen dismisses comparisons between Lord of the Rings and
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466: Just for thrills
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465: As a Matt of fact
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464: First bass
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463: White lies
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462: Pottering about
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461: In Gere
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460: Freedom of the press
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his free newspaper Tokyo Headline. Sachie Kanda reports.
457/458: A farewell to arms
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456: Leaders of the pack
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454: Future tense
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453: Keeping the Faith
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451: Watts the matter
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450: Class action
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449: On the rise
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448: Tomorrow the universe
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447: Cyber sisterhood
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446: Hot rod heart
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445: Raking it in
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444: Funny business
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443: Cartoon Channel
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442: Killa' Milla
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441: The show must go on
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440: Hip hop pop
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439: The long road home
After tasting Hollywood success, Y Tu Mama Tambien director Alfonso Cuaron fled
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438: In the spirit
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437: The Tomei express
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436: Wells spoken
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Simon directs the latest movie version
435: Stepping lively
Reva Rice and Kenya Osumi promise plenty of eroticism in the newest version
of the hit Broadway musical Fosse
434: Full plate
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433: Brunch break
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432: Heart beat
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431: Hard to heart
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430: Calling the tunes
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429: What women want
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428: The write stuff
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427: Will and testament
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426: Foster care
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425: Pop rocks
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424: No shortcuts for Morgan Freeman
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423: Universal values
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422: Tsuzuki style
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421: Arnie, get your gun
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420: Plenty to Crowe about
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419: Piano man
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418: War plane
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416: The sexplorers
Killing Me Softly director Chen Kiage and star Heather Graham talk titillation
415: Don't call us retro
Stereolab take tunes back to the future
414: Running "Rings" around the
The cast and crew of Lord of the Rings talk Oscar and samurai elves
412: Lynch pin
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410: American Woman
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409: There's nothing like a dame
Veterans Julie Andrews and Gary Marshall team up for the Princess Diaries
408: Caiya Kawasaki
has built her image on berating Japanese men, but it's all for a reason
407: The Skys the Limit
Vanilla Sky's Cruise, Cruz & Crowe on casual sex
art of elegance
Veteran designer Takeo Nishida
judge an ogre by its cover
Shrek producer Jeffrey Katzenberg
Crime and Punishment in suburbia director Rob Schmidt
401: Life's a party
400: In the Nic of time
Nicole Kidman high-kicks in Moulin Rouge
Memento's director Christopher Nolan
American alt rockers 311 take a special interest in Japan
397:Evolution of an ex-Filer
David Duchovny explains why he went from the X-Files to Evolution
396: Rock Warrior
Former Clash frontman Joe Strummer
395: 2001's absurd odyssey
The Coen brothers pay tribute to classic American cinema
Angelina Jolie kicks plenty of butt in Tomb Raider
up with the Jones
a man in a rush
Director Brett Ratner can't wait to film Rush Hour 3 in Tokyo
from the Madden crowd
Captain Corelli's Mandolin is more than a World War II love story ...
NHK morning news anchor Toko Takeuchi is an early bird with a passion ...
Artist, filmmaker, actor, model, Vincent Gallo
for the universe
softly and carry a big kick
Actor Steven Seagal
Italian mime Ennio Marchetto
385: A sight
for saur eyes
Jurassic Park III's Sam Neill
planet that went ape
Visionary filmmaker Tim Burton
The father of ambient music, Brian Eno
TV personality Mari Christine
Long-awaited Pearl Harbor comes to Japan
so close encounter
Director Steven Spielberg
Samantha Lang, director of The Monkey's Mask
Crocodile Dundee - Paul Hogan
British actress Charlotte Brittain
The Mummy Returns' Brendan Fraser
Independent movie auteur, Michael Di Jiacomo
American Short Shorts Film Festival organizer, Tetsuya Besho
Doug Wright, screenwriter of Quills
Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group
call me babe
Bombshell Charlize Theron
American Psycho's Christian Bale
French actress Juliette Binoche
Nick Park and Peter Lord, the creators of Chicken Run
"Tony" Hopkins in a PR stupor
Meet the Parents' Ben Stiller
"Auteur" filmmaker Paul Cox
364: As the
Meg Ryan promotes her new movie
The down-low on J. Lo
in the hood
Actor Masaya Kato
Hollywood's queen of cool, Gwyneth Paltrow
that funky music
Catch up with Verbal from Japan's hip-hop group m-flo
358: A heartbreak
Hotel Splendide director Terence Gross
Star Jamie Bell
354: In a
New age musician, Kitaro
Jim Carrey as The Grinch
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