Director Bob Fosse’s partly autobiographical, self-indulgent, but occasionally brilliant musical had a Fellini-like vision of the life and death of top choreographer, Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider), who is feeling the strain.
With one hand, he’s auditioning the dancers and working on the choreography for his new show, while with the other he is editing a film about a stand-up comedian – which doesn’t leave much time for his ex-wife Audrey (Leland Palmer), girlfriend Kate (Ann Reinking) or daughter Michelle (Erzsebet Foldi).
Not even his start-the-day selection of uppers and downers is working as it should. Joe is also ignoring symptoms of heart disease, and having regular sessions with his Angel of Death (Jessica Lange) during which they travel through many painful old memories.
Heart surgery time comes along – but is he ready to die?
All That Jazz is the story of the self-destructive Broadway director/choreographer, his loves, obsessive work, and ultimate disintegration. Despite the adolescent shallowness of the central character, the overall production is completely absorbing.
A strange but potent cocktail of whiplash choreography, erotica and open-heart surgery, it concludes with the apposite production number Bye Bye Love (life).
The breathtaking dance numbers are brilliantly staged, and Scheider’s performance is outstanding.