BWW Exclusive: Counting Down to Jennifer Ashley Tepper's THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY, VOLUME 3 - The Walter Kerr 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 Edison Theatre...
The Walter Kerr Theatre
Did You Know:
The Kerr was once available for rent, to anyone who would take it?
In December 1974, an advertisement appeared in Variety, placed by the Robert F. Kennedy's Childrens' Theatre, who currently occupied the Kerr, offering the venue for rent. It read:
Available for rent.
A Broadway theatre located between Broadway and 8th Avenue, next to MaMa Leone's.
40 ft. proscenium
10 dressing rooms
Rental can be negotiated on a percentage basis or for a flat fee. You can be guaranteed the lowest rental rates of any theatre or concert hall in Mid-Manhattan over 500 seats.
Did You Know:
Angels In America was a cloud-parting moment for Joe Mantello?
Joe Mantello, Director/Actor
There are certain moments when the clouds part and you see with such clarity, where you are at one moment in your life. I had that happen in tech of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. It was a very long tech process, and everyone involved was tired and anxious. But one night, I was sitting off stage getting ready to enter and the clouds parted. I thought: You're on Broadway. You're going to be in a Broadway show. I felt such a strong combination of complete disbelief, incredible pride and overwhelming giddiness.
I knew Angels in America was going to be important from the moment I first read it. I felt like I was vibrating when I read the script. I couldn't believe as I turned the pages how extraordinary the play was.
Did You Know:
Gavin Creel, Actor
Patti LuPone is one of the reasons why I thought about performing. Scott Ellis and Susan Stroman put together a celebration of Stephen Sondheim at Carnegie Hall in 1991, and Patti sang "Being Alive". I had that on videotape, and I rewound her singing "Being Alive" over and over and over again as a kid. I just found the way she sang to be so exciting. Everything about her performance was thrilling, and she had such passion. Later on, Sutton Foster and I bonded over this. She watched it over and over, too.
Later on, I took a trip from college in Michigan, in the middle of a snowstorm, to New York. I piled all of my friends into my parents' conversion van, and we went to see Patti LuPone in concert on Broadway. It was November of 1995 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, and we got to see Patti LuPone live. She did a ton of songs we knew, and it was awesome. My friends and I drove 17 hours in a blizzard, when the drive typically would've taken nine or ten. It was insane. We were so excited.
I'm here in London doing Book of Mormon right now, and I recently saw Patti perform at the Leicester Theatre on my night off. It was unbelievable. I'm still just a fan, inspired by her passion and her artistry and her unapologetic nature. I just love her.
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.