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A *GREAT* BOOK: Making It on Broadway: Actors' Tales of Climbing to the Top

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WilliamT
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If you love Broadway and dream of becoming an Actor someday, you HAVE TO read this book:
Making It on Broadway: Actors' Tales of Climbing to the Top

It is the most up front and honest book with some of today's (and yesterday's) biggest stars discusing their experiences. It will make you question and question again and again, a career that is very questionable to begin with.

If you are a Bway fan with no dreams of being on the Great White Way, pay no attention to the book behind the curtain...

Just wanted to share my excitement for this one!

And may I just say that Les Miz will never be the same to me after reading this.
Updated On: 10/13/06 at 12:17 AM
Jazzysuite82
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I thought this book was ok. I thought it was more depressing than honest. It is honest, but there's no good news in it. It JUST talks about the lows. I think balance is important.
DTBG2
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i agree.
its a great book, but it can also be a downer...
some of the stories are depressing, especially if your an actor pursuing the "dream."
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WilliamT
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You can read any book about backstage of a Broadway show and get the "good news". Rarely do you find the honest to goodness truth. And unfortunately, the truth is depressing. People don't make what they should and the working conditions are wild.
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WilliamT
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Life ain't all Tony Awards, limos and expensive post-show dinners. It's best to know the whole truth about something vs. having this unrealistic image of "the top" and then getting there only to find it's a rat infested den of insecurity and often unprofessionalism.
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singtopher
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Yes, it is the "honest, gruesome, tale" But it still does not paint an accurate picture. IMO.

"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it." -Stephen Colbert
Jazzysuite82
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ummm I'm a working professional actor. I live the life everyday. I STILL found this book depressing. I'm not saying all you need is cake which is why I speak of balance. I don't need a book to get me in a bad mood. I mean the truth isn't all bad. It's good too.
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WilliamT
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DTBG2
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i agree with Jazzy....this book is extreme at times...but i think the stories and opinions shared by the actors are true to those years...i mean, c'mon...look at the time periods most of them are talking about...new york city was different back then.
things have changed a lot since...things are not quite as depressing now a days...i am too a working actor, and so far my only hardship of the biz is the rejection. but then again, maybe i'm just lucky....


i'll shut up now...
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singtopher
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The book doesn't need to be so bloody negative. You can still be honest, and true and keep it positive!

Now its been awhile since I read the book. (I read it when it first came out) I remember something about a Tony award winner having to find work as a Children's party entertainer. Sure, that is a ture story, but the lesson in the story is you MUST find work for yourself. The side job it what is paying the bills while you keep your smile on for the next job that will come your way.

I think I might pick the book up again, just so I can talk a little more fluently.
"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it." -Stephen Colbert
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jrb_actor
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I think it is a good read, but I agree that it doesn't paint the entire picture.
Blair
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While I though that the book was an interesting read, I agree, there was only like ONE positive story (Doug Storm's about the little girl and the poster).
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adamgreer
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I disliked this book immensely, because of the terribly negative tone it had. No one forces actors to do what they do. They know what a difficult life they're beginning when they make the decision to pursue acting.
sharon1
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I loved the stories in the book. The funniest one I think was the one about Aspects of Love with Michael Ball and I believe Ann Crumb and her lack of a dress.
ashley0139
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This is a very well-known book on this board. It is talked about often.

I really enjoyed this book. I realize that it's not the whole story, but I really loved reading the backstage stories that I never would have gotten to hear. Truly fascinating.
"This table, he is over one hundred years old. If I could, I would take an old gramophone needle and run it along the surface of the wood. To hear the music of the voices. All that was said." - Doug Wright, I Am My Own Wife
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The book definitely has an agenda. You'll notice there are a lot of stories from the same people over and over, some of whom have been on Broadway once or maybe on one tour. If they fit in with the author's agenda, the amount of experience didn't matter.

Have I ever shown you my Shattered Dreams box? It's in my Disappointment Closet. - Marge Simpson
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LizzieCurry
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I bought this book shortly after it came out. I really enjoyed it. Yes, it's depressing, but I don't think it's discouraging. Maybe it helps that I'm not a performer and never aspired to be one, though. re: A *GREAT* BOOK: Making It on Broadway: Actors' Tales of Climbing to the

I don't think there's so much an agenda but that it's glaringly obvious that they didn't go much further than to find actors who Jodie Langel has worked with. (Hence why there are so many Les Miz/Martin Guerre people.)
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
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Rathnait62
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And who had negative stories.

I honestly think their agenda is to try to discourage as many hopefuls as possible, thereby narrowing their own competition.
Have I ever shown you my Shattered Dreams box? It's in my Disappointment Closet. - Marge Simpson
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jrb_actor
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One poignant connection I made:

One actor tells a "hilarious" story about how he and other actors would jerk around onstage during Les Miz (which I find deplorable). In another story, he laments about how he hasn't really worked much since.

Hmmmmmm. Maybe his other story is the reason??
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WilliamT
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jrb, I never noticed that. Good point. Hmm!

when people do crap like that, how can they think that management isn't aware of what's going on? just plain unprofessional!
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ILoveMyDictionary
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I just finished reading this book, and as an aspiring performer I'm glad I read it. I never had the misconception that Broadway performers were all glitz and glamour. I knew that it was a very very very tough life. However, like many people said before me, it was just too negetive. It seemed to tell people that Broadway was a hell hole, you will never get any benefits out of it, you'll have no life, no artistic merit, everyone is unprofesional, you will become a slave, you may as well be livivng on the streets, etc. There were hardly any stories of why these people do what they do. Surely it can't be all bad or else why do the Broadway performers of today continue to perform. That being said, this book hasn't discouraged me. I'm not going to give up without trying first.
jg4892
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I'm glad I read this book, but it's really obvious that the author chose only the bad tales of the business and forgot to include any happiness these actors have encountered in their careers.
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I agree with that the book definitely has an agenda. Not balanced at all, and many of the people whom the stories come from seem very immature, like the contributor jrb mentioned.
"One no longer loves one's insight enough once one communicates it."

The opposite of creation isn't war, it's stagnation.
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ClumsyDude15
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It was a good read and had some great-little stories and such but it didn't really balance itself. It was leaned toward a cautionary tale.
ghostlight2
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A GREAT book? Not so much. WilliamT, are you NYC2004 in disguise? re: A *GREAT* BOOK: Making It on Broadway: Actors' Tales of Climbing to the Bit of a joke there - check out this old thread. Now HERE'S an amusing read:

https://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?thread=515902&boardname=bway

Here's the thing about this book - it is clearly and deliberately skewed towards the negative, and rather sneakily so, given the title. And for no apparant reason. (ETA: "I honestly think their agenda is to try to discourage as many hopefuls as possible, thereby narrowing their own competition". Maybe Raithnait is onto something there. Makes as much sense as anything else. I can't think of any other reason for the book being so overwhelmingly negative). I personally found that just bizarre.


I have spoken to several actors quoted in the book (known-name Broadway actors, not a bunch of Langel's colleagues, or some guy from the third bus and truck company of Les Mis, or some other touring company having very little to nothing to do with Broadway, as makes up so much of this book), and they all felt that they had been misrepresented in a way. A little blind-sided.

They'd given stories, many of them uplifting tales, but were then asked leading questions in order to elicit the more negative ones...and oddly enough, those were the ones that got used. Go figure.

The authors sifted carefully through a ton of material and chose the worst and saddest tales they could find, and so the actors come across as whining crybabies.

Does anyone really need to be told that the career of an actor is not always an easy one? Of course not. But c'mon...there was some story about a haunted/demonic apartment, as I recall. What the hell does that have to do with being an actor?
Updated On: 5/6/07 at 09:25 PM