Bob Fosse, Joseph, and Rihanna


dance music

I was watching Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1999) the other day. It’s the height of camp, and I was trying to work out what the elements were and what they reminded me of. Then it came to the introductory Potiphar number and it clicked.

The Rich Man’s Frug is a dance number that appears in Sweet Charity (1969), a musical comedy directed by the choreographer Bob Fosse. It typifies Bob Fosse’s style: absurdist elements, people-as-stage, and intense camp. It had to have inspired that Potiphar number, right?

There’s one more place it popped up recently: in Rihanna, DJ Khaled, and Bryson Tiller’s great performance of Wild Thoughts at the Grammys in 2018. Same bizarre movements, elegant and camp dress, same dept of staging and silhouetting.