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BWW Exclusive: Jennifer Ashley Tepper's THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY, VOLUME 4- Spotlight on The Fallen Five

Did You Know: In 1982, five Broadway theaters were demolished at once?

BWW Exclusive: Jennifer Ashley Tepper's THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY, VOLUME 4- Spotlight on The Fallen Five Just yesterday, Dress Circle Publishing released THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY, VOLUME 4, the latest in a series by acclaimed historian and producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper. This landmark multi-volume series tells the stories of all of the theaters on Broadway; the new addition includes the beloved houses the Imperial, Jacobs, Studio 54, Minskoff, Friedman, and Golden, as well as the five Broadway theaters that were destroyed in 1982, changing the course of New York City history.

These invaluable books illuminate Broadway through the eyes of the producers, actors, stage hands, writers, musicians, company managers, dressers, designers, directors, ushers, door people and more who bring the theater to life each night.

Can't wait to get your hands on it? While you're waiting for your copy, let BroadwayWorld hold you over with a special sneak peek from a chapter all about the Fallen Five:

The Fallen Five: The Stories of the Morosco, Bijou, Helen Hayes, Gaiety, and Astor Theatres

Did You Know:

In 1982, five Broadway theaters were demolished at once?

In March of 1982, five Broadway theaters were demolished to make way for a new structure: Times Square's Marriott Marquis Hotel. At no other time in history have that many theatrical houses been destroyed at once.

The Great Theatre Massacre of 1982 marked a turning point in Broadway history. As hundreds took to the streets to protest the destruction of the theaters, their cries fell on the uncaring ears of city officials who had seen the decline of Times Square for decades. This contemporary hotel would bring tourism to the area and enliven the decrepit block of Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets. It would contain a new Broadway theater that would be much more viable than the five old ones being destroyed, the city claimed. The Marriott would be constructed in a way so that it would face away from Times Square-after all, what tourist wanted to see that dirt and crime? The Marriott would be an essential tool of urban renewal, returning Times Square to its former glory. And no one would miss the theaters being demolished to make it happen.

The Fallen Five did change Broadway history, but not in the way that people expected.

In 1982, the Morosco, Bijou, Helen Hayes, Gaiety, and Astor Theatres met the wrecking ball. The Untold Stories of Broadway Volume 4 tells their story.

BWW Exclusive: Jennifer Ashley Tepper's THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY, VOLUME 4- Spotlight on The Fallen Five

Did You Know:

Actor and sister of Arthur Miller, Joan Copeland, has vivid memories of Death of a Salesman's premiere at the Morosco?

1949/1968: Hidden Inside Of Them

Joan Copeland, Actor

I always loved the theatre. My mother and father loved the theatre and when there was money, the first thing they'd do is find tickets so we could all go. My father was in the coat and suit business and my mother could sing and play the piano but never worked in theatre professionally. But they took my brother Arthur and me to see plays whenever they could, and as we became part of the theatre, they were always there in the audience to see us.

The original production of Arthur's Death of a Salesman opened at the Morosco. The power of Death of a Salesman is that it can be an embarrassment to men. When that play opened, I remember men were leaving the theater crying, not able to walk. It was astonishing. Many men who never knew they could be reached that way found out about themselves by going to Death of a Salesman.

Sitting here now, almost 70 years later, I'm still touched by the power of that play and how it reached people back then. People who hadn't been touched in decades, who had hidden God-knows-what inside of them, were hit by Death of a Salesman. The memory of that is brilliant in my mind.

Men who had money and were elegant would leave the theater crying and embarrassed. That was America, and Arthur was America. He was not a phony or a stiff and he had feelings about how far he could push this story so that people could see it and bear it.

Later on, in 1968, I was the standby for Esther in The Price at the Morosco.

BWW Exclusive: Jennifer Ashley Tepper's THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY, VOLUME 4- Spotlight on The Fallen Five

Did You Know:

The door man at the old Helen Hayes Theatre inadvertently starred in one performance of The Me Nobody Knows?

1970: The Kids And The Door Man

Penny Davis, Wardrobe Supervisor/Dresser

My first Broadway show as a wardrobe supervisor was The Me Nobody Knows. The costumes were simple, basically just street clothes, and the cast consisted of a dozen kids. The entire team was young-most of us backstage were in our 20s. It was a great show and a lively cast. Some wonderful talent came out of that show: Irene Cara, Melanie Henderson, Hattie Winston, and especially Giancarlo Esposito. Long before he became the dangerous Gus Fring on Breaking Bad, he was a terrific song-and-dance kid.

There was a day door man at the Helen Hayes at the time who seemed to be about 147 years old. He was completely oblivious to the show. It was apparently his habit to eat his lunch on the opposite side of the stage from where the stage door was, and one day he crossed there while a performance was actually going on.

The kids were singing and dancing around the stage and this large man shuffled slowly across the stage with his little brown bag. He never noticed there was a whole show going on around him. He just walked along, never looking to the left or to the right. 15 minutes later, he walked back across the stage again! The cast just kept going, although, if you looked closely, they appeared a bit bewildered. It was one of the most baffling things. It only ever happened once. Whenever I pass the spot where the Hayes used to be, I think about that door man.


BWW Exclusive: Jennifer Ashley Tepper's THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY, VOLUME 4- Spotlight on The Fallen Five Jennifer Ashley Tepper is producer of the musicals Be More Chill, Broadway Bounty Hunter, and Love in Hate Nation, recent projects that are part of a decade-long collaboration with the group known as Joe Iconis & Family. From producing small concerts in basements to producing a show on Broadway, Tepper has cultivated the theatrical collective which The New York Times called "the future of musical theatre." She is also the Creative and Programming Director at Feinstein's/54 Below, where she has curated or produced over 3,000 shows, including musicals in concert, original solo acts, theatrical reunions, songwriter celebrations, and more. Tepper's leadership at the venue has gained praise from publications including The New York Times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Playbill, Newsday, New York Post, and more.

On Broadway, Tepper has worked on [title of show], The Performers, Godspell, Macbeth, and The Parisian Woman, and off-Broadway Smokey Joe's Café and Boys' Life. Tepper is the conceiver and director of The Jonathan Larson Project which premiered in fall 2018 and received an original cast recording from Ghostlight Records. She is historian consultant on the upcoming tick, tick... BOOM! movie and co-creator of the Bistro Award-winning concert series, "If It Only Even Runs A Minute," now in its 11th year. Tepper recently received a 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award. She was named one of the 10 professionals on Backstage's first annual "Broadway Future Power List," which stated: "Proving herself both a zeitgeist predictor and theatrical historian with her eclectic programming, Tepper is leading the conversation on contemporary musical theatre."

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