Singular sensation The triumph of Broadway

Michael Riedel

Book - 2020

At the dawn of the nineties, the British invasion of Broadway was in full swing. Musical spectacles dominated the box office. As American musical comedy made its grand return, plays, always an endangered species on Broadway, staged a powerful comeback. 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. Then the September 11 attacks struck fear into the heart of Americ...ans who thought Times Square might be the next target. Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop of that decade, bringing readers into high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more. -- adapted from jacket

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Subjects
Published
New York : Avid Reader Press 2020.
Edition
First Avid Reader Press hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xv, 334 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 315-317) and index.
ISBN
9781501166631
1501166638
Main Author
Michael Riedel (author)
  • Foreword
  • I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Lloyd Webber
  • Boulevard of broken dreams
  • 508 Greenwich, #4
  • La vie Broadway
  • The gambler
  • I got the horse right here
  • Winging it
  • Who's afraid of Edward Albee?
  • Razzle dazzle
  • The Fran and Barry show
  • Everything's coming up Rosie
  • The making of a mogul
  • Be at the fucking matinee
  • The Lion Queen
  • The unmaking of a mogul
  • The playmakers
  • It's good to be the king
  • Epilogue: And the show goes on.
Review by Booklist Reviews

New York theater critic and author Riedel (Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway, 2015) considers the 1990s "a decade of profound change on Broadway" and here pulls back the curtain on some of its most popular shows. He interviewed more than one hundred people and found that even a theater columnist may not always be privy to what is happening behind the scenes. The saga of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, which marked the end of the British invasion of Broadway; the phenomenon that was Rent; the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls; Edward Albee's comeback; the story of Angels in America, and much more are told with all the wit and style readers could wish for. Riedel also tells the story of Mel Brooks' The Producers, from its tryouts in Chicago to its triumph on Broadway and recounts the effects of 9/11 and Broadway's response to it. Theater fans longing to see a show during this sequestered time will enjoy this entertaining look at what happens before and after the curtain goes up. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creator Bloom offers burst-out-loud-laughing personal essays that explore feeling uncomfortably different from others and finally realizing that she's not (200,000-copy first printing). Back to the Future Fox focuses on issues of hope, fear, toughness, and being realistic as he explains his struggles with Parkinson's and spinal-cord surgery that led to his learning to walk again in No Time Like the Future (350,00-copy first printing). What long-running TV show, now moving from strictly syndication to streaming, is the subject of McNear's Answers in the Form of Questions (60,000-copy first printing)? From Maerz, founding editor of New York magazine's Vulture website, Alright, Alright, Alright shows how Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused proved to be an unexpected success and the making of stars like Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, and Ben Affleck (75,000-copy first printing). And New York Post theater columnist Riedel ranges from Jonathan Larsen's Rent to Disney's The Lion King as he portrays recent Midas-touched Broadway theater in Singular Sensation (100,000-copy first printing). Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Riedel, a theater critic and longtime Broadway columnist for the New York Post, follows his bestselling Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway, about Broadway in the 1970s and '80s, with a masterful history of the key moments of the '90s, "a decade of profound change" for the Great White Way. Riedel covers the decade's biggest hits and flops: Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1994 Sunset Boulevard, whose "abrupt collapse" signaled the end of the British invasion of plays including Webber's production of Cats (1982) and Phantom of the Opera (1988). What followed was Tony Kushner's Angels in America (which premiered on Broadway in 1993 and had resounding success throughout the decade), and the groundbreaking Rent, which first took the stage in 1996 in the East Village's New York Theatre Workshop. Riedel details how, thanks to the phenomenal success of culturally inclusive and innovative shows such as The Lion King, the decade's productions had "put Broadway at the center of American popular culture in a way it had not been since the 1950s." Riedel concludes with a strong argument that the successes of the 1990s paved the way for the current moment of "cultural phenomenon" musicals, and that Broadway "is in the midst of its new Golden Age." Broadway aficionados and pop culture geeks will be entertained by this fascinating survey. (Nov.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The "New York Post" theater columnist draws on more than 150 insider interviews to celebrate the productions, artists, and movements that shaped Broadway in the years spanning "Sunset Boulevard" through "The Lion King."

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The New York Post theater columnist draws on more than 150 insider interviews to celebrate the productions, artists and movements that shaped Broadway in the years spanning Sunset Boulevard through The Lion King. 100,000 first printing. Media tie-in. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The extraordinary story of a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring gripping 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.Michael Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop, bringing readers into high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more. 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.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The extraordinary story of a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring gripping 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.Michael Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop, bringing readers into high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more. 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.