BWW Book Club: Read an Excerpt from UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: The Richard Rodgers Theatre
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BroadwayWorld Book Club is officially off and running! Or should we say, reading!
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Recap of Chapter One: The Richard Rodgers 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:
All through the years, companies working at the Richard Rodgers and Imperial Theatres have bonded during their time together on 45th and 46th Street?
Tim Pettolina, House Manager
"We have a bond with the Imperial Theater because it's right next door. Our stage doors are next to each other. During the time of Billy Elliot and In the Heights, it seemed like everyone got to know someone working on the other show, and we'd go back and forth meeting for dinners and drinks after shows. A lot of us are still friends."
For nearly two years, Chicago was at the 46th Street Theatre while Fosse's Pippin was playing the Imperial next door. A small alleyway connecting the two theaters allowed the dancers to run back and forth and watch each other's shows.
Did You Know:
Dinty Moore's on 46th Street was a favorite hang-out for the theater crowd. An upper end Irish joint, it was located just next to the 46th Street Theatre, a spot now occupied by the breezeway of the Marriott Marquis.
The owner was James Moore, and the place was first called "James Moore's." Then, restaurant regular George McManus penned the comic strip Life With Father, featuring an Irish tavern owner named Dinty Moore. James Loved this presumable tribute, and changed the name of his venue.
In the 1920s, Dinty Moore's was the place to go for hooch, as the restaurant paid no mind to Prohibition. Over the years, the place was populated by everyone from Walter Winchell to Will Rogers to Audrey Hepburn to Frank Sinatra to Judy Garland.
Not only was Dinty Moore's frequented by the theatrical cognoscenti, Damon Runyon was also a regular. Police raids and unsavory dealings were frequent there during his time, which is especially poignant given that Runyon's Guys and Dolls would open next door at the 46th Street Theatre, years later.
Dinty Moore's closed in the early 1970s, shortly after a change in ownership. The last crowd to spend time there was the No No Nanette cast, after performances next door. Talk about nostalgia.
Did You Know:
The Richard Rodgers is one of only two Broadway houses with a raked audience?
Maury Yeston, Writer
When we went into the 46th Street Theatre with Nine, I was a complete novice, but Tommy Tune, of course, was not. Tune said to me, "It's the 46th Street. It's the only one. It's the best one. It's the perfect theater for this show." In fact, he said, "It's the perfect theater for a musical," and he cited that Guys and Dolls had played there.
The reason is that the theater has this perfect sweep up. It's this perfect raked audience, and it allows the music to just blow off the stage and knock the audience through the back wall. It is that exciting. Before I even walked through the door, I knew it as a legendary theater.
I still get a wonderful feeling every time I walk into it. I'm the kind of author who gets to know everybody. By the time we were done with Nine, I knew not only all of the stagehands, but every single usher. Because we never got to go out of town, we had a fraught preview period. I remember hearing one of the usherettes saying, "I'm afraid for the little composer. I'm afraid he's going to have a nervous breakdown and starve to death." I got very thin. She was adorable; she was so kind.
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