by Anna Altheide
To steal a lyric from The Prom's “Zazz” — ask yourself: what would Fosse do? In the case of FX’s Fosse/Verdon, perform opposite The Ensemblist’s most recent featured artist, Kelcy Ann Griffin.
Having performed for two years in Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre, Griffin (like Debbie Allen) is no stranger to Fosse's world. In her latest turn on the small screen, Griffin shines in her portrayal of acclaimed actress, Debbie Allen, in the final installment of the FX miniseries, based on the romantic and creative partnership of Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams).
For her role in Fosse/Verdon, Griffin spent a day filming opposite Rockwell and Williams in upstate New York. She describes the experience as “incredibly authentic,” with hair and makeup taking five to six hours to recreate Allen’s 80s updo. In keeping with authenticity, Griffin also live performed Sweet Charity’s “If They Could See Me Now” number “at least 40 times” with a collection of live mics, including spot mics and in-ear binaurals.
In recounting her favorite takeaway from filming, however, Griffin ranks working opposite Rockwell at the top of the list.
“Toward the end of the day shooting, we kept going over the last moments in the scene where we were just talking. I’m sitting there […] having a moment: I am in a scene with Sam Rockwell. Watching him work is breathtaking, because he is so genuine, so smart, and every take is different, which is really hard to do when you’re doing everything over and over again.”
She elaborates, “For someone you watch on TV, and you’re like, ‘I’d love to work with him some day,’ to when you’re actually standing on stage working with him, is one of those moments that you can’t replace.”
Stream our latest podcast, #158 Fosse and Verdon, to hear more about Griffin’s experience in Fosse/Verdon, from her full audition process to Midtown rehearsals with Mimi Quillin.