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BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Neil Simon Theatre

BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Neil Simon 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 Five: The Neil Simon 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:

Did You Know:

The original production of Sondheim's Company and Merrily We Roll Along were both staged in the Neil Simon [Formerly The Alvin] Theatre?

BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Neil Simon Theatre

Ann Morrison, Actor

The first Broadway show I saw Company at the Alvin Theatre. I was a teenager, and my family came into New York for the first time ever. We were all very excited about seeing the show.

We sat up in the mezzanine for Company, and I was absolutely enthralled to be getting to see a real, live professional play of this nature. It was spectacular. I'd been listening to Sondheim for so many years; I had danced around to West Side Story at age seven in my living room. So I was sitting there in the mezzanine, and my family and I were loving it. When the show got to "Ladies who Lunch" and Elaine Stritch sang, "Everybody rise! Rise Rise!" a bunch of people in the theater stood up and we did too. We were absolutely spellbound.

The funny thing about the Alvin is that years later, I made my Broadway debut in that theater with Merrily We Roll Along. Every time I went on stage for Merrily, I'd always look at the seat I sat in, way back when I was watching Company, as a kid. I played especially to that spot once in a while, because I knew that there was going to be a kid up there who had probably never seen a Broadway show before, and they were going to get to have the same thrill that I had when I saw Company right there.

Did you know:

Hairspray was a big jumping off point for some of today's biggest Broadway stars?

Bernie Telsey, Casting Director

BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Neil Simon Theatre Hairspray was one of those shows where many of the people in the ensemble were so special. The show started with many informal readings put together by Jack and Jerry, where they just put people in it that they knew and really loved, and a lot of those people ended up getting Broadway offers.

In Seattle, we lost our Link to a movie, and we plucked Matthew Morrison out of the ensemble. Kerry Butler and Laura Bell Bundy were in supporting roles, and you just knew: you are both going to be starring in Broadway musicals. Within a just a couple years, Matt, Kerry and Laura were all starring in their own Broadway musicals. We had someone like a Jenn Gambatese in the ensemble, and someone like Jackie Hoffman, making her Broadway debut. It was a cast where you really felt: Oh my God, there are a lot of surprises in this crackerjack box! I remember feeling that way from the auditions all the way to the performances.

Did you know:

The companies of Hairspray, Flower Drum Song, and Jersey Boys had a tradition every day at "five minutes to places"?

Brynn O'Malley, Actor

What we would do at the Neil Simon, and what they would do over there,, was that BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Neil Simon Theatre when they called "five minutes to places," everyone would just open up their windows, and scream at each other! People would take their shirts off, there were a lot of dirty things and nudity. And the funny thing is, everyone would participate. Everyone would just do horrible and dirty things. People down there on the street could totally look up and see what we were doing. And then Jersey Boys would do it too, they got into it.

Sometimes, Jersey Boys would stage things, and I remember one time Flower Drum Song did like, a performance for us- they did a bunch of crazy shit. It ranged form the filthy and stupid to the , "They just did a art piece for us!" This was every Saturday night at five minute call.

Now join the discussion!



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