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BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Al Hirschfeld Theatre

Learn about the Al Hirschfeld Theatre!

BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Al Hirschfeld Theatre

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

The first BroadwayWorld Book Club selection is Jennifer Ashley Tepper's The Untold Stories of Broadway Volume 1. Tepper has just released the first volume of the book for free on Kindle!

Join the Discussion:

Author Jennifer Tepper will be hosting a Facebook Live Q&A today at 12pm ET so be sure to tune in! You can post questions for Tepper on our Message Board HERE and on all BroadwayWorld social media!

Recap of Chapter Four: The Al Hirschfeld Theatre

If you would like to join the discussion, you can find a round-up of excerpts and fun facts from the first chapter of the book below:

BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Al Hirschfeld Theatre

Did You Know:

The Al Hirschfeld is one of the only Broadway theaters to have an outdoor box office window. On the exterior of the Hirschfeld, there is an old-fashioned ticket booth that says "Martin Beck Theatre." When the house was renamed after the famous Broadway Caricaturist in 2003, this feature was kept, in honor of its original namesake.

Did You Know:

Joanna Gleason claims to have had a run-in with a ghost in her dressing room at the Al Hirschfeld?

Joanna Gleason, Actor

During Into The Woods, Bernadette Peters and I had the two dressing rooms stage right. Every Sunday after the matinee, I would close all the lids of my makeup and I would group everything together in the center of the table, so that the housecleaning staff could come in and dust without having to fuss with my stuff too much.BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Al Hirschfeld Theatre

About three months into the run, I came in and two of my blushers were all the way down at the end of the table. I thought: That's strange. I'd put them back, a week would go by, I'd clump everything together I'd come in on Tuesday for the new week, and two blushers, again, would be all the way down the end of the table.

Nobody was using my makeup. It wasn't open, it was just all the way down at the end of the table. Then one week, on the mirror, there was the letter "M." I thought: Oh, it's just a thing on the mirror. I wiped it off. A couple weeks later, the letter "M" appeared again.

I thought: Someone is messing with me, and moving my makeup, and having a great joke at my expense. I still didn't think anything of it- and it went on until I finished the run.

Flash forward many years, and I was doing an episode of a TV show. I was picked up at my apartment by a teamster, and we went through the theatre district. I said, "Oh my God, I played that theater" and I pointed to the Martin Beck. I said, "My favorite time was there in that theater."

He said, "Yeah, my mother worked in that theater too." And I said, "Oh, she did?"

He said, "Years and years ago. She's long gone. And her name was -" It began with an "M." I said, "What did she do?" And he said, "Well, she was on the housekeeping staff. She cleaned the dressing rooms." I said, "Really?" and he said, "Yeah, she loved the stars' makeup. She loved to just go and look at all the makeup. "Okay, okay! Well, your mom visited my dressing room, that's all there is to it."

Did You Know:

The popular hang-out right next to the Al Hirschfeld used to be Ted Hook's Backstage?

Ted Hook was a chorus boy who appeared in over 400 Hollywood movies before he opened the restaurant and piano bar with his name on it in 1973. Because of his showbiz reputation, the establishment was filled with stars of Broadway and Hollywood, seated right next to chorus kids, seated right next to tourists with eyes agog.

BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Al Hirschfeld Theatre Andrea McArdle and the orphans from Annie liked to grab a bite there with their parents after the show. A Chorus Line's cast and creative team were frequent visitors. Meryl Streep liked to pop in after a performance of Happy End at the Beck in the summer of 1977.

On an average night at Ted Hook's, Liza Minnelli might get up and sing a number, or you might find Richard Burton seated next to Robin Williams. The chorus kids in the show at the Martin Beck would often make it to Ted Hook's and order a drink before the last patron had even left the theater.

Each table at Ted Hook's Backstage was dotted with a lamp with a star's name on it. When a star came in to dine, the wait staff would be sure the lampshade with their name was switched to their table. Ted himself would often lead customers to their tables and surprise them with a pirouette.

Now join the discussion!


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