Synopsis: Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is an intimate documentary of Broadway’s greatest dancer, the brilliant Gwen Verdon, produced, written and directed by Chris Johnson and Ken Bloom.
The muse of both Jack Cole and Bob Fosse, Gwen Verdon changed the face of Broadway choreography over forty years. Through rare footage of Gwen Verdon performing in iconic stage musicals from Can-Can through Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity and Chicago modern audiences can see Gwen at her best and learn the unexpected and surprising true story behind her success and career.
From overcoming debilitating childhood rickets to becoming pregnant out-of-wedlock at sixteen, Gwen’s rise to success is the story of a woman who never gave up, and persevered to become Broadway’s greatest dancer against all the odds. She was a powerhouse of creativity, talent, and determination whose legacy can still be seen in dancers on Broadway today.
Featuring interviews with family members such as son, James Henaghan, daughter, Nicole Fosse, and nephew, Paul Verdon – they add personal reminiscences. Also featured are fellow cast members, collaborators, and Broadway & film legends such as Chita Rivera, Tab Hunter, John Kander, Charlotte d’Amboise, Harvey Evans, Lee Roy Reams, and more! Featuring numbers from the original Broadway productions of Can-Can, Damn Yankees, New GIrl in Town, Redhead, Sweet Charity, Chicago and the film Damn Yankees. Merely Marvelous is a glorious look at Broadway through the career of one of its greatest stars and her unexpected rise to fame.
Merely Marvelous recently had its world premiere on BBC Four in the UK. To date it has been viewed by 200,000 viewers and streamed by an additional 100,000 households.
Ken Bloom (Co-Director/Producer) Grammy Award-winning authority on American popular song and musical theatre. Ken was Executive Producer of Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, a three-part series broadcast by PBS in October 2010 as well as a documentary on Broadway legend Jerry Herman. His 16 books includes Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time which has sold over 100,000 copies.
Chris Johnson (Co-Director/Producer/Editor) New York-based photographer and filmmaker. His work has been seen in various outlets, including The New York Times. Chris is the author of the coffee table photography book, A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God, as well as the director of a documentary film version. He has traveled the world on a screening/lecture tour about his work, speaking and screening the film in over 100 cities on six continents. Graduate of The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University