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In this deliciously revealing oral history of Broadway from World War II through the early 1980s, more than one hundred theater veterans—including Carol Channing, Hal Prince, Donna McKechnie, Hal Holbrook, Andrea McArdle, and Al Hirschfeld—deliver the behind-the-scenes story of the hits, the stars, the feuds, and the fiascoes. Along the way there are evocations of the great comedians and dramatic actors who had that indefinable magic that made them stand out above the rest. With verve, love, and passion, this ...
In this deliciously revealing oral history of Broadway from World War II through the early 1980s, more than one hundred theater veterans—including Carol Channing, Hal Prince, Donna McKechnie, Hal Holbrook, Andrea McArdle, and Al Hirschfeld—deliver the behind-the-scenes story of the hits, the stars, the feuds, and the fiascoes. Along the way there are evocations of the great comedians and dramatic actors who had that indefinable magic that made them stand out above the rest. With verve, love, and passion, this book gives us the story of more than half a century of great theater—from the inside out.
It Happened On Broadway is told by those who have spent the past 50 years in the trenches, the actors, designers, press agents, choreographers, directors, and even their offspring. With vintage photos, drawings, posters and Playbills the Frommer's provide us with a look at theatre history from a time when $1.50 would buy you a movie and six or eight vaudeville acts to the impact of the AIDS crisis on the theatre community to the vast corporate culture now responsible for many of today's Broadway shows. An invaluable and engrossing book for anyone interested in an insiders perspective on the business of the Great White Way.
Those who find backstage details about the theater (and more particularly about the musical theater) absorbing will very likely enjoy the often witty chat recorded here, including the widely varying, but generally warm recollections of the producers and actors who worked on many of Rodgers and Hammerstein's landmark musicals, and the musings of a number of figures, from Patricia Neal to Richard Kiley to Louise Lasser, about the manner in which they launched their careers. There are also loving but unsparing portraits of the lives and careers of such major innovators as Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett.
"It Happened on Broadway is a fine compendium of chat from theater greats who love talking about their careers, their shows, their lives."—San Jose Mercury News
"An oral history of Broadway by the people who lived it, this volume encompasses the triumphs and glorious failures, fights and betrayals, dedication and drudgery."—Ingram
|2||The waterfall and the camel were still there||33|
|3||It was an exciting time to be in the theater||49|
|4||That sense of truth||65|
|6||We were the essence of New York||119|
|7||Look, look, look who's dancin' now||139|
|8||You never can tell||173|
|9||The X factor||211|
|10||That's the craft||239|
|11||Epilogue : the perpetual invalid||273|
Posted June 16, 2000
Explore the magical world of Broadway from the eyes of the people who were there in It Happened on Broadway. Discover the remarkable moments of Broadway's history form its flops and fantastical successes to its fights and love stories. Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer offer more than 100 insiders' stories from the golden age before and after the Second World War to the mega-musicals of the '50s and the megahits of today. Discover what life on the Great White Way during the last 60 years was really like. Canoe -Canada¿s Internet NetworkWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 18, 2000
... Reading It Happened on Broadway is like eating cotton candy in the heat of the summer - delicious, sinful, full of hot air, and totally irresistible. A guilty pleasure. In their casual oral history of the Great White Way, the Frommers don¿t bother with a foreword, they barely introduce their characters, they have little in the way of formal structure. They just flip on the tape recorder and let you listen. But, oh, what voices ... Who can resist? If you¿ve ever seen a Broadway show, ever hummed Rodgers and Hammerstein, ever laughed at Lahr or Mostel, ever applauded Merman or Channing or Streisand, ever wept at Shakespeare or O¿Neill or Miller, ever snapped your fingers with Robbins or Fosse or deMille, ever ... in short, if you know what 'Broadway' means, you are going to love this book. I open it at random: Here¿s Al Hirschfeld explaining why 'Nina' appears in all his drawings. Flip a few pages: Here are the producers of Guys and Dolls trying to figure out whether they can use 'Fugue for Tinhorns' because the song is about horse racing... . Some of the stories are familiar, at least to a theater junkie like me. Walter Winchell¿s right-hand woman wires her boss about an out-of-town preview of Oklahoma!: 'No legs. No chance.' Anita Loos sees Carol Channing and says 'There¿s my Lorelei.' The opening night audience at Death of a Salesman is so stunned it forgets to applaud. Some are unfamiliar. Tony Walton provides Zero Mostel¿s explanation of why he worked with Jerome Robbins on Fiddler on the Roof even though he had starved for years after Robbins coughed up his name during the McCarthy era. Says Mostel: 'We of the left do not blacklist.' And when Robbins appears at the first rehearsal, Mostel greets him with 'Hiya, loose lips.' Some are hilarious: According to producer Martin Richards, the first reviews of Chicago complain that the show 'has no heart.' And Bob Fosse calls in the whole cast and says, 'Any heart that is left in the show, we¿re taking out.' Some are heartbreaking: David Merrick has to interrupt a thunderous curtain call at the opening night of 42nd Street to tell the audience that Gower Champion died earlier the same day. But all are inspiring, filled with the manic, pulse-pounding enthusiasm of highly gifted people who have arrived at the acme of their profession after years, if not decades, of hard work. Actors and writers, singers and composers, dancers and choreographers, agents and producers, set designers, hairdressers, costume designers - they¿ve made it on BROADWAY and their love for it is contagious. There are, of course, strange omissions. Where¿s the Actor¿s Studio crowd? Why quote Al Hirschfeld - not once but several times - without reproducing any of his drawings? (A copyright problem, I suspect, but could they find nothing better than those dispiriting Sardi¿s caricatures?) And why is a book that purports to be about Broadway nearly entirely about musical comedy? Still, you gotta love a book that gives you Kitty Carlisle Hart, Clive Barnes, Robert Whitehead, Betty Buckley, John Kander, Richard Kiley, George C. Wolfe, and Elaine Stritch in the same chapter discussing the future of the Broadway theater.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 4, 2000
The book speaks volumes about the history of Broadway; the book captures heart, excitement of Broadway Summary: The impermanent nature of a live stage performance provides much of the thrill of the theatrical experience. So it's appropriate that a 'It Happened on Broadway'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.