BWW Exclusive: Counting Down to Jennifer Ashley Tepper's THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY, VOLUME 3 - The Broadhurst Theatre
Have you ever wanted to spend time with Stephen Sondheim in the lobby during one of his shows? Did you know that Patti LuPone once had a Broadway ghostly encounter? Have you wondered what it was like to be in the landmark Broadway premiere of Angels in America?
From opening nights to closing nights. From secret passageways to ghostly encounters. From Broadway debuts to landmark productions. Score a front row seat to read hundreds of stories about the most important stages in the world, seen through the eyes of the producers, actors, stagehands, writers, musicians, company managers, dressers, designers, directors, ushers, and door men who bring The Great White Way to life each night. You'll never look at Broadway the same way again.
DRESS CIRCLE PUBLISHING will release THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY, VOLUME 3, the latest in a series by acclaimed historian and producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper on Tuesday, November 15. To pre-order the book, please visit www.dresscirclepublishing.com.
This is the third book in a series that will tell the stories of all of the Broadway theaters. Volume 3 includes the Broadhurst, the Belasco, the Edison, the Lyric, the Majestic, the Schoenfeld, the St. James and the Walter Kerr: eight Broadway theaters that light up New York City.
Below, BroadwayWorld is excited to give you a sneak peek of the new book, with a look at: The Broadhurst Theatre...
The Broadhurst Theatre
Did You Know:
Tim Federle, Writer/Actor
When the Broadway theaters lose air conditioning, that's when the real party starts?
There was a two week period during Tuck Everlasting when all four of the houses in this Shubert clump-the Shubert, Broadhurst, Schoenfeld, and Booth-all lost air conditioning. So, we all flung our doors open and during that time we spent a lot of time with the Matilda team. There was this weird mashup of characters, like Mr. Wormwood and Angus Tuck hanging out in costume. It was a joy. It was what you think when you're a kid Broadway is going to be.
Did You Know:
The Broadhurst and Schoenfeld have a special connection...
Architect Herbert J. Krapp built the Broadhurst and Plymouth to be "sister theaters". Sitting back to back, their designs have more in common than not. With their single balconies, marble lobbies, interior decorations, and exact measurements matching up, the two houses were considered a pair when built in 1917. As such, there are multiple secret ways to get from one theater to the other...
Two of these secret passageways lie in the inner alley that connects the two theaters. Street passerby on 45th Street can look to the left of the Schoenfeld to find a locked alleyway. The stage door is to the right of the Schoenfeld, but the alley on the left also provides an exit, used by audiences and show folk alike. At the very back of the alley, one door leads directly to the Broadhurst stage and another door leads to house left in the Broadhurst auditorium.
Another secret passageway leads from the men's restroom of the Broadhurst to the men's restroom of the Plymouth! Not only did connecting the buildings make sense so that they could share certain electric and heating systems, it made sense so that theatre owners, producers and stars could sneak out of their houses and depart without fanfare on another street if needed.
Through the years, hundreds of Broadway show folk have secretly traveled back and forth from one theater to the other...
Did You Know:
A stage manager's responsibilities can be unexpected!
Jerry Adler, Director, Producer, Actor, Stage Manager, Production Supervisor
In 1956, during our pre-Broadway tryout of My Fair Lady in New Haven, I helped a woman give birth. We were packing up the show at the end of the night, when I heard moans from the audience. In a stage left box, a woman was in labor. I raced up there and tried to help her, while her husband went to call an ambulance. But the baby was coming out! I took my jacket, laid it on the ground, and the baby was born. In those days, I had a tie clasp that had a razor edge to it, and I used it to cut the umbilical cord.
Did You Know:
Being part of the original production of Godspell was a singular experience?
Don Scardino, Actor/Director/Writer
Being part of Godspell was a singular experience. No matter what your background was, what religious discipline you came from, or anything else about you, everyone came together. Everyone was turned on. You could be tired, it could be the fourth show in a row, your ankles, knees, neck or throat could be hurting. It was a hard show to do. But you'd walk out there and the buzz from the audience, whether it was the first performance or the thousandth, was so electric. I don't remember ever doing a performance that didn't get a standing ovation. It was extraordinary.
When we were doing Godspell at the Broadhurst, Equus was at the Plymouth. Our intermissions were around the same time. We'd be all sweaty and happy, in our clown costumes, handing out wine-and we'd look over the alleyway to the Plymouth where the Equus cast was all serious and wearing gray. Anthony Perkins and the other cast members would joke, "Can we come be in your show? It looks fun." Then we moved into the Plymouth, and they switched to the Helen Hayes.
Jennifer Ashley Tepper is the Director of Programming at Feinstein's/ 54 Below, and the author of The Untold Stories of Broadway book series. As the leader of Feinstein's/ 54 Below's creative team, Tepper has curated or produced over 1500 shows, ranging from musicals in concert, to original solo acts, to theatrical reunions, to songwriter celebrations, and beyond. On Broadway, Tepper has worked on shows in directing, producing, and marketing capacities, including [title of show], The Performers, the 2011 revival of Godspell, and the 2013 revival of Macbeth. In addition, she is the co-creator of the Bistro Award-winning concert series, "If It Only Even Runs A Minute," now in its 6th year. Tepper was recently named one of the 10 professionals on Backstage's "1st Annual Broadway Future Power List." According to the article, "Proving herself both a zeitgeist predictor and theatrical historian with her eclectic programming, Tepper is leading the conversation on contemporary musical theatre." Follow her on twitter @jenashtep.