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Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway

Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway

by Michael Riedel


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“Fun and gossipy.” —The Wall Street Journal * “A masterful history.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) * “Engaging.” —Newsweek

A “brisk, insightful, and deliciously detailed take” (Kirkus Reviews) on a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring behind-the-scenes accounts of shows such as Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, and The Producers—shows that changed the history of the American theater.

The 1990s was a decade of profound change on Broadway. At the dawn of the nineties, the British invasion of Broadway was in full swing, as musical spectacles like Les Miserables, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera dominated the box office. But Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard soon spelled the end of this era and ushered in a new wave of American musicals, beginning with the ascendance of an unlikely show by a struggling writer who reimagined Puccini’s opera La Bohème as the smash Broadway show Rent. American musical comedy made its grand return, culminating in The Producers, while plays, always an endangered species on Broadway, staged a powerful comeback with Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. A different breed of producers rose up to challenge the grip theater owners had long held on Broadway, and corporations began to see how much money could be made from live theater.

And just as Broadway had clawed its way back into the mainstream of American popular culture, the September 11 attacks struck fear into the heart of Americans who thought Times Square might be the next target. But Broadway was back in business just two days later, buoyed by talented theater people intent on bringing New Yorkers together and supporting the economics of an injured city.

“Told with all the wit and style readers could wish for” (Booklist) Michael Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop. From the bitter feuds to the surprising collaborations, all the intrigue of a revolutionary era in the Theater District is packed into Singular Sensation. Broadway has triumphs and disasters, but the show always goes on.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501166631
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 11/10/2020
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 133,003
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Michael Riedel has been the theater columnist for the New York Post since 1998. New York magazine has called his column a “must-read” for the theater world. Michael began his radio career as regular on the Imus in the Morning show in 2011. In 2017 WOR, New York’s oldest and highest-rated station, asked him to cohost its morning show with well-known sportscaster Len Berman. The Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning show is the highest-rated morning radio program in the New York City area. Michael’s book Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway won the Marfield Prize for arts writing in 2015 and is widely considered to be the successor to William Goldman’s celebrated 1967 book about Broadway, The Season. A graduate of Columbia University, Michael lives in the West Village.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

1 I'm Ready for My Close-up, Mr. Lloyd Webber 1

2 Boulevard of Broken Dreams 13

3 508 Greenwich, #4 33

4 La Vie Broadway 55

5 The Gambler 71

6 I Got the Horse Right Here 85

7 Winging It 99

8 Who's Afraid of Edward Albee? 111

9 Razzle Dazzle 127

10 The Fran and Barry Show 139

11 Everything's Coming Up Rosie 149

12 The Making of a Mogul 167

13 Be at the Fucking Matinee 177

14 The Lion Queen 195

15 The Unmaking of a Mogul 221

16 The Playmakers 239

17 It's Good to Be the King 251

Epilogue And the Show Goes On 281

Acknowledgments 301

Notes 307

Bibliography 315

Index 319

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