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The Versatile Fred Astaire
Sheryl Flatow

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Fred Astaire is rightly celebrated as one of the greatest dancers ever to grace the stage and screen. Through his elegance, his choreographic invention, his eye for detail and his perfectionism, he brought to dance a sophistication that remains unsurpassed. However, Astaire was more than a dancer and choreographer; he was perhaps the most versatile artist this country has ever produced. In the first half of the 20th century, he introduced more future standards than any other singer. Although he had a light voice with limited range and power, he more than made up for his vocal deficiencies with spot-on phrasing, impeccable timing, and an innate ability to go inside the music and lyrics and deliver them with elegance, simplicity and honest emotion. That is why all the great Broadway and Hollywood composers, especially George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, were eager for him to introduce their songs. Astaire was also a talented pianist and drummer, and those abilities were occasionally showcased in his movies. This lecture series will examine all facets of Astaire's remarkable career and his enduring contributions to American culture, building on a popular 2012 series that focused solely on his dancing. These programs will feature many more of his dance numbers, and also highlight his vocal skills and musicianship.

1. Broadway to Hollywood: Astaire's beginnings in Vaudeville, stardom on Broadway, and the beginning of his partnership with Ginger Rogers.
2. Legendary Partnership: The RKO musicals with Ginger -- and one detour.
3. The 1940s: Partnering with the likes of Eleanor Powell, Rita Hayworth, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby, and one more fling with Ginger.
4. 1950s and Beyond: Classic films with Jane Powell, Cyd Charisse, Leslie Caron and Audrey Hepburn, four award-winning TV specials, and more.
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Sheryl Flatow has written about theatre and dance for more than 30 years. She curated major exhibitions in San Francisco on Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, George Balanchine, and several others. She has led pre-performance talks; moderated panel discussions on theatre and dance; and conducted public interviews with leading figures in the arts, including Patti LuPone, Barbara Cook, Natalia Makarova and Estelle Parsons. She also wrote the CD liner notes for Into the Woods and Jerome Robbins' Broadway. She has lectured at LLS/FAU for several semesters. 

Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Date: Tuesdays, January 10, 17, 24, 31
Location: Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
Fees: Member - $50
Non-member - $65
Cash will no longer be accepted as payment for lectures.

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