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BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt From Michael Riedel's RAZZLE DAZZLE - Chapters 25, 26 & Epilogue

Read About the History of Broadway From Turn of the Century to Modern Day

By: Aug. 03, 2020
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BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt From Michael Riedel's RAZZLE DAZZLE - Chapters 25, 26 & Epilogue  Image

BroadwayWorld Book Club is officially off and running! Or should we say, reading!

Our current BroadwayWorld Book Club selection is Michael Riedel's Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway.

Recap of Chapters 25, 26 & Epilogue

If you would like to join the discussion, you can find a round-up of excerpts and fun facts from chapters 25, 26 & Epilogue

Excerpt from chapter 25:

Chess was painful, but Schoenfeld and Jacobs could, in the summer of 1988, console themselves with numbers released by the League of New York Theatres and Producers. Broadway raked in $253 million in the 1987-1988 theater season, the highest take in its history. Attendance was on the rise again, up to 8.1 million, a 16 percent increase over the previous season.

The majority of the revenue came from the megamusicals, - Cats, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express. Which led to carping that the nonmusical, American play was in trouble on Broadway. Plays were no longer profitable on Broadway, and the theater audience was being conditioned to buy the musical spectacle, some producers complained.

There was some truth in the charge. Plays Didn't generate nearly the return of musicals. But that was always the case. And, looking back, the 1980s were hardly a terrible time for the straight play on Broadway. David Mamet, Harvey Fierstein, Wendy Wasserstein, David Henry Hwang, Landord Wilson- all emerged as Broadway names in the eighties.

Excerpt from Chapter 26:

Beauty and the Beast opened at the Palace Theatre on April 18, 1994,, and the critics, for the most part, were unimpressed. The new critic at the Times, David Richards, compared it to FAO Schwarz and the Circle Line the boat tour of Manhattan- a middlebrow tourist attraction. Culture critics fretted about the Disneyfication of Broadway. And the theater community snickered at "Team Disney." The musical was nominated for nine Tony Awards that year, but won only one, for costumes. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Passion, produced by The Shuberts, beat it out for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress (Donna Murphy).

But Beauty and the Beast was unstoppable. It broke box office records at the Palace, reviving the fortunes of Jimmy Nederlander, who owned the theater. It would go on to run 5,461 performances and gross nearly $2 billion worldwide.

Passion meanwhile, ran less than a year, and lost most of its $3.5 million production cost.