BWW Exclusive: Counting Down to Jennifer Ashley Tepper's UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY Book - The Lyceum Theatre
To celebrate the publication of The Untold Stories of Broadway on November 12 (today!) by Dress Circle Publishing, Jennifer Ashley Tepper will be sharing three short excerpts about each of the Broadway theaters featured in the book-countdown style! Today: The Lyceum Theatre!
THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: Tales from the World's Most Famous Theaters, Volume 1 (Dress Circle Publishing. 350 pages, $19.99) by author and musical theater historian Jennifer Ashley Tepper is the first book to recount the backstage drama of Broadway's greatest shows at eight iconic theaters. To order, click here.
Using firsthand accounts from some of the biggest names in Broadway history, the book provides a look behind the curtains of the Al Hirschfield, August Wilson, Lyceum, Mark Hellinger, Marquis, Neil Simon, Richard Rodgers, and Winter Garden Theaters.
This book is the first in a multi-volume series that will examine 40 legendary Broadway theaters in total. THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY also includes an exclusive Broadway theater map designed by Broadway artist, Justin "Squigs" Robertson. A portion of the proceeds from the book will benefit Broadway Impact, an organization of theater artists and fans mobilized in support of marriage equality. It will be available on amazon.com and in select bookstores on November 12, in both hard copy and Kindle.
Did You Know:
The Lyceum is filled with relics of the past?
Jack O'Brien, Director
When I went to the Lyceum with The Nance this year, and took the company through, we could no longer climb up the stairs far enough but we could see a paint frame at the top of the rear of the theater where they could hang canvases to paint scenery. There's a slot in the floor on every subsequent floor of the dressing rooms that flips up so that the paint frames could be lowered all the way down to the deck and taken up and be put into the theater. There's rarely been anything like it.
There's an apartment on the top of the theater that now holds the Shubert archives, but that was producer Daniel Frohman's office. He did indeed have a peep window where he could see what was playing on the stage. There's a secret passage that goes from the men's room underneath the auditorium, to backstage. There are all sorts of wonderful surprises that I know about that you would only know if you were a young person growing up in that theater.
Did You Know:
The Lyceum wasn't built on Broadway because original theatre owner Daniel Frohman thought Broadway had "too much traffic"?
To this day, the Lyceum has been home to over 300 productions. The Lyceum on 45th Street was built by producer Daniel Frohman in 1903, after receiving the news that his first Lyceum Theatre on 4th Avenue between 23rd and 24th Street would be demolished. That theater was built in 1885 and was the first theater to be lit entirely by electricity-under the guidance of Thomas Edison himself! Frohman received several offers of real estate on Broadway to build his new theater-which would at first be referred to as "The New Lyceum"-but he did not want a playhouse directly on Broadway since it was always filled with too much traffic!
When the New Lyceum was built on 45th Street, the area to the west was still called "Longacre Square." The New York Times would move uptown in 1905 and soon, the Lyceum would be considered part of "Times Square." The New Lyceum was built with several bricks taken from the old Lyceum.
Did You Know:
There's nothing like the magic of having your very own dressing room key?
Hunter Bell, Writer/Actor
There was just this special energy at the Lyceum. If I walked into the front of house to get tickets for my family or friends, I always noticed that the box office people were genuinely excited about the show. The door men and security guards were excited for us on nights when we had fans at the stage door. All of those people made me feel so much like a member of the community.
One thing I really couldn't believe about Broadway was that feeling of having your own dressing room key. The door man would hand you your key the moment you came into the space, and every night, handing it to him was the last thing you'd do before you left. It was so special and comforting to hand Neville that key every night. I had my own dressing room on a Broadway show! I couldn't believe it. I'd get my key, sign in, walk down our hallway, and head up to the third floor where my dressing room was next to Jeff's. Jeff had signatures under his dressing room table from previous occupants, and I had fresh paint on mine. I said: "Come on, let's scratch this paint off!"
To order, click here. Founded in 2011 by Brisa Trinchero and Roberta Pereira, Dress Circle Publishing is the only publisher dedicated solely to producing books with Broadway themes. Dress Circle Publishing is eager to discover and promote new literary voices among new or established authors who are actively working in show business. For more information on Dress Circle Publishing, click here.