If you would like to listen to the podcast, click on the arrow in the player below.
Notes and links for the podcast.
Peter Filichia | [email protected]
James Marino | [email protected]
Matthew Murray | [email protected]
The Great Game: Afghanistan
Colin Quinn: Long Story Short
Musicals with Christmas Music:
Meet Me In St. Louis
She Loves Me
Subways Are For Sleeping
Irma la Douce: Christmas Child
Annie: New Deal for Christmas
Jason Robert Brown: Surabaya Santa
Starting Here, Starting Now: I Don’t Remember Christmas – Maltby and Shire
Menken Christmas Carol
April 16, 2011: Fat Pig by Neil LaBute / Dane Cook gets a theater and a date — is this Elling 2?
You Like Us, You Really Like Us! Theatergoers Name Broadway.com #1 Source in Broadway League Report
20 shows closing, moves, reopening Scottsboro in the spring?
BWW Exclusive: Tharp Talks SINATRA in Vegas: ‘Broadway has tight expectations as to what a show is’
Gift Guide / Book Recommendations:
Peter: Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise by Sam Irvin
Peter: Hollywood Musicals: The 101 Greatest Song-and-Dance Movies of All Time by Ken Bloom
Peter: Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” by David Bianculli
Matthew: Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season – 1959 to 2009 by Peter Filichia
James: Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical Theater by Larry Stempel
The entrance music is “Twelve Days to Christmas” from the original cast recording of She Loves Me and the exit music is “A New Deal for Christmas” from the original cast recording of Annie.
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Broadway Radio: This Week on Broadway for December 12, 2010: 12 Days Till Christmas (Eve)
Transcribed by Courtney Rice
James Marino: JM
Peter Filichia: PF
Matthew Murray: MM
TIME – 00:00
JM: Good morning and welcome to Broadway Radio’s, This Week on Broadway for Sunday, December 12, 2010. My name is James Marino and on the call this morning is Peter Filichia and Matthew Murray. Peter can be found three times a week at TheatreMania.com, also writes for the Newark Star Ledger and Masterworks Broadway, and also has a book that everybody should buy for Christmas, but we’ll talk about that later. Good morning, Peter.
JM: Also with us is Matthew Murray. Matthew is the chief theatre critic for TalkinBroadway.com and also, writes for BroadwayStars. Hello… Matthew. I don’t know what that pause is.
MM: Hi, James. How are you doing?
JM: I am good. We are twelve days from Christmas Eve, so I just wanted to say Merry Holiday, or something, to everybody out there. We want to talk about a few shows and a few things that are happening around Broadway in the last week. Let’s start with The Great Game: Afghanistan; Matthew got a chance to see it. Matthew, why don’t you give us a rundown on that?
MM: Well, this is yet another show in the seemingly increasing number of epic plays that are appearing on Broadway, and off, and this is yet another one by the Public Theatre, which is also producing Gatz, the six hour adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Well, this one is, if anything, even more ambitious in that it covers 170 years of the history of Afghanistan, over the course of three plays that are divided into seven hours of playing time, and it sounds like it would be fascinating and incendiary and potentially enlightening, and, unfortunately, for the most part, it only seldom is any of those things. It basically is nineteen, very short, little play-lets that have been written by twelve playwrights, that are all roughly put together in chronological order; there’s a bit of back and forth in terms of when exactly things happened and under what circumstances. But, the problem with that is, because each of the plays has an entirely different voice and covers an entirely different subject matter, it’s very jagged. There were times when there was a very tight line across a certain span of years, or a certain action, or a certain important piece of history, but, for the most part, it is just snapshots of action and things that happened, and that makes it really difficult to obtain any real momentum over the course of two and a half hours, which is the length of the longest individual chapter, to say nothing of the entire seven hour run of the show. It’s very well designed by Pamela Howard, and it’s very well directed by Nicolas Kent, who is the artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre in London, where this came from, and his co-director is someone named Indhu Rubasingham. They both do very well with each of the individual plays in presenting them to whatever the best of their potential is but, for me, at least, they didn’t add up to very much. You had a couple of individual chapters that were very interesting, the very first one is something called… and I’m afraid I’m going to butcher this, so I apologize to anyone who might be offended… Bugles at the Gates of Jalalabad, which is by Stephen Jeffreys, which documents a very famous battle where the British were, basically, just destroyed… hundreds of thousands of them were just killed in Afghanistan, back in 1842. And then you have ones that are really jokey and almost, sort of vaudevillian, in the way that they unfold, like Durand’s Line, which is the second show in the first chapter, where kind of a daughtering old Englishmen is trying to divide up Afghanistan and Pakistan to make more sense of the world, and the guy who they put in charge of the country is, basically, saying, “oh, it’s not going to work,” or, “they’re going to keep fighting and bad things are going to happen, you better listen to me,” and the old English guy is just, you know, basically saying, “pish posh, that isn’t going to happen.” The audience is supposed to feel really good about thinking, ‘oh, yes it will,” etc. And there’s another one in that same first evening, where…
TIME – 00:05
MM (continued): …it is, basically, just an excuse to give twenty minutes of exposition that leads up to the next play, which is about a king who abdicated the throne because he was going to be the subject of ‘forced abdication’ very shortly if he didn’t. And on and on and on for seven hours. The last evening of the shows is, basically, the modern day: showing the various invasions of Afghanistan and what the soldiers have been going through over there, and when they come back, and it should be very juicy, and it should be very exciting and informative, and it almost never is. It’s difficult to watch over the course of seven hours; a show that just sort of rises and falls, like the line on an EKG in a hospital, or something. The thing about shows like the Coast of Utopia, or The Orphan’s Home Cycle, or Angels in America, or the Norman Conquests, is that they tell one complete story, but they just divide it up into parts. This is twelve individual stories, with seven other little facets on the action that are thrown in. So, in essence, you’re seeing twelve different, very short, plays with the same company of fourteen actors, very few of whom you would have heard of, because this is an all-English group. The only one you probably have heard of is Jemma Redgrave, who plays a few patrician style roles, and Hillary Clinton is probably one of the only characters that our listeners would have heard of, unless their Afghanistan-ofiles, or whatever you would call it, I don’t know. But, the acting is fine. It’s difficult for all of them, though, because they only have ten, fifteen minutes apiece, regardless of what show they’re in, to really make an impression in any given play, and that’s really not enough time to create through-lines, it’s not enough time to really help the audience remember them from one play to the next, especially since, by the nature of the whole thing, there can’t be continuing characters. There’s a point where they just leap ahead sixty years and don’t cover anything that happened during that time, and when you do that, whatever you just learned, it has to go away, you have to focus on the next thing. So, I thought it was very messy. I thought that it was, again, very ambitious but, for me, the messiness outweighed that. I wanted something that was really going to paint a large landscape of what the history of Afghanistan was, and I just didn’t get that here: I got twelve smaller, individual paintings, some of which I liked, some of which I didn’t, but over the course of seven hours, if you’re devoting a whole day to this- and it starts at 11:30 in the morning, if you go on a weekend and see the marathon, it ends at 10:00 at night, that’s a huge time commitment for something that doesn’t really go anywhere, and for the reason, I thought it was unsatisfying. But, if you don’t know anything about Afghanistan- and I admit, I probably knew less than I should, going in, you’re going to learn a lot about its history, but I wish that, in addition to being interesting history, it were also interesting theatre.
JM: Alright, Matthew. So, where is Afghanistan playing?
MM: I’m sorry; it is at the Skirball Center at NYU. It’s a production of the Public Theatre and they are doing it there, in that space, where they did Othello last season.
JM: Yeah, that’s a nice little space that NYU has there.
MM: It’s not that little but, it’s very nice.
JM: Yeah, Mummenschanz is actually going into there for a brief engagement in a couple of weeks. Peter, did you see Mummenschanz when it was on Broadway?
PF: Oh, yeah, many times, I took my little boy to it. He adored it.
JM: What years was that?
PF: 77, 78, it ran for quite some time and…
JM: I remember those commercials were everywhere, the perennial(?) commercials with the toilet paper and all the other various stuff. But, yeah, Mummenschanz is coming back to the Skirball Center for a couple of weeks at least, and I thought that was interesting.
PF: Did you know there was an original cast album of Mummenschanz?
JM: No. Do you… I’m sure you have it.
PF: I don’t, in fact, that’s where I drew the line. Mummenschanz is a mime show and what they did is they simply recorded the audience laughing, that was it, seriously.
JM: I wonder how expensive that recording was.
PF: I’m going to bet they had to get wavers from everybody for being on the album. But, that’s what it was, simply listening to people laughing, and that’s where I drew the line, I didn’t need that one.
JM: Ok, excellent. So, next on our agenda is the play, Long Story Short, Matthew, why don’t you tell us how you felt about this.
MM: Well, it’s not really a play, James. It’s more of a stand-up comedy act, starring Colin Quinn and directed by, of all people, Jerry Seinfeld. So, the thing that you can kind of be assured of, if nothing else, is that it’s going to be funny, and I thought it was, actually, quite a bit funny. It’s basically…
TIME – 00:10
MM (continued): …the history of the world in seventy-five minutes. If you go in wanting that sort of thing it’s very enjoyable. It’s actually, an interesting contrast to The Great Game: Afghanistan, believe it or not, because I actually think that Colin Quinn gets a little bit more insightful, and certainly, more trenchant, than a lot of what is in the seven hour play. So, I would actually recommend spending seventy-five minutes, instead of seven hours… a very different focus, obviously. If you don’t like Colin Quinn, and I admit that he’s an acquired taste, then it’s not probably going to appeal to you but, I enjoy Colin Quinn, I think he’s got a very good style of delivery that usually borders on deadpan and I find that more interesting than people who oversell the jokes, which is something that I don’t like about a lot of the current late-night comedians. Colin Quinn used to have a late-night show on Comedy Central that he did, it was kind of a combination of a traditional talk show and Bill Maher, but I thought it was a little bit funnier and more interesting than that. But, anyways, he just, basically, follows all the different societies of civilization, from, more or less, caveman days, until the present day. It’s very different, and it really makes you look at things in a way that you might not have expected. He goes through various countries and cultures; he ends with America, pretty much, but builds up with England and France having this, sort of, co-dependent, teenage relationship and talks about the Middle East and the various revolutions that have happened. I really don’t know what to say about it because as soon as you start getting into too much depth, you risk spoiling the jokes, and if you’re giving away the jokes, then I don’t really know what the purpose is of seeing the show because, again, it’s a standup comedy act, you want to be surprised by the connections that he makes and what he says about the stuff. But, it’s at the Helen Hayes Theatre right now, and I guess it’s just been extended till February. We’ve been talking on the show last week about how Colin Quinn was closing, and they just announced this week that it was going to be extended, prior to Rock of Ages going in there, which I certainly hope we will get the chance to talk about later. So, you have another chance to see it. Again, you have to like Colin Quinn, and you have to like history but, he doesn’t get too political about it, he doesn’t take many sides, he doesn’t get very insulting, he just basically spreads around a little bit of laughter about everybody and a few, kind of, wry comments about how we all interact with each other, and that’s it. It’s not particularly deep but, it’s entertaining, and for a standup comedy show, I would say that’s really enough.
PF: Well, if Matthew tells me that Colin Quinn is an acquired taste, I guess I haven’t acquired it and this is the first time I’ve ever seen this gentleman in any way, shape, or form, so maybe that’s the problem for me. I’m going to liken this to an archery target and, for me, he doesn’t quite hit the bull’s-eye, he’s just one circle away from the bull’s-eye. So, I didn’t laugh once, not once, during the entire show- and yes, I smiled every now and then, so it didn’t work for me, as well as it did for Matthew. One thing I did like very much, were the graphics where they showed a map, you’d zero in and, for example, when they talked about Italy, they’d show you the Colosseum drawing, rather than a picture, so I became more interested in what they were going to choose for the symbol for each country, rather than anything else. That was as much as I was interested in. It was amazing to me how the set that was somewhat resembling Xanadu, and I just wondered if they refashioned the set because there was an analogy there and some stairs that he climbed up once and sat down on, and then came back down again; so, what do you do with a comedy show? I didn’t think it was bad, I didn’t mind sitting there. I was always fascinated as to what he was going to say next, but I never felt that what he said next fascinated me so, I’ll go with Matthew: an acquired taste, and I guess I need more evenings with Colin Quinn before I feel that he and I, together, hit the bulls-eye.
MM: Yeah, Peter, he’s mostly known from television; he was on Saturday Night Live and did their “Weekend Update” for awhile so, he’s well-known to a lot of people and he actually had a Broadway show back in the 90’s, I think, but, again, he’s got a very odd delivery that you have to… open yourself up to, he doesn’t just give it to you, and I guess that’s sort of the difference between him and Jerry Seinfeld. It’s that Jerry Seinfeld seems, to me, warmer and much more approachable, and Colin Quinn seems a little bit colder and more distant, and that, I think, makes it a bit more difficult of a sell to a larger audience. Now, I mean, obviously, if the show’s extended he’s doing okay but, I wonder how many of those people are people who already knew…
TIME – 00:15
MM (continued): …and liked him going in, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a pretty big number, actually.
PF: Well, I will say that on Wednesday night- and we are in December, after all, when people tend to do Christmas shopping, though, I often wonder if they do as much today, as they used to, because one can shop so easily online but, nevertheless, the house was a little less than half full, I would say, on Wednesday night. Given the fact that I didn’t know who this gentleman was, I knew he had to be of some importance because the show was called Colin Quinn: Long Story Short, so if they’re putting him, not just above the title but, in with the title, he’s obviously a person of some import or popularity. I will say that I had one of those experiences that we don’t quite like in the theatre, where the person behind you is laughing uproariously and much too loud of a voice and a laugh, and it drives you crazy, and it was the luck of the draw that I happened to be sitting there, what can you do? And yes, I was delighted he was having a good time so, there were people who responded quite quite enthusiastically and loudly to Colin Quinn so, yeah, I guess the acquired taste thing: if you’ve already acquired it, get seats at the Helen Hayes.
JM: So, my question for both of you is: would you compare this to the other major comic, quote on quote, standup shows that have come to New York, whether it be Defending the Caveman, 700 Sundays, Good Night America…
JM: excuse me?
PF: (indistinguishable) … Sex on a Holiday…
JM: Yeah. Are they comparable to those things, or… what’s your take on that?
MM: Well, it’s… I don’t know. It’s more of a history lesson… it’s a very odd kind of hybrid. It’s not really a play, it’s kind of a combination between a standup comedy and a history lecture; whereas, the others were just, basically, they’re performers acts. This isn’t a Colin Quinn act, I mean, it’s been very carefully scripted… this isn’t something I’ve seen him do before so, it’s a new thing but, I wouldn’t put it in the same category as (nd) or You’re Welcome America, it seems to me a very different kind of a thing.
PF: And, to me, it’s not nearly as good.
JM: Alrighty, if you are a fan of Colin Quinn I would suggest, as Peter mentioned, get out there and go see it, if not, we have many other offerings on Broadway and off-Broadway if you do endeavor into… As I mentioned at the top of the podcast, we are coming up quickly to Christmas, and I think this will be the last podcast we have Peter on before Christmas so, I wanted to pick your brain about some history of Broadway, as Broadway’s connection with Christmas shows, and I can think of two off of the top of my head: Meet Me in St. Louis and “Have a Merry Little Christmas” and She Loves Me and the Christmas songs in there. What else should people pull out of their bookcases and CD cases to listen to these holidays?
PF: Well, there are a few good Christmas songs in Here’s Love, the 1963 musical version of Miracle on 34th Street, would that there were more but, nevertheless, the opening sequence on the cast album is very nice and very exciting, and I also go to bet, tremendously, for the title song, as well as the song called “That Man Over There” and then in parenthesis, is Santa Clause, when people in the court room- if you remember the story- finally come to terms with the fact that Chris Kringle is really the real thing. So, Here’s Love is certainly one that comes to mind as a genuine, no doubt about it, Christmas show. I’m also reminded that, years ago, Sacks Fifth Avenue decided to have five windows commemorating Broadway shows that dealt with Christmas and they had Mame because, of course, “We Need A Little Christmas” is an important song in the first act of the show so, they did that and they also did Subways Are for Sleeping, which wasn’t a famous show but, did have a number called “Be a Santa,” in which Michael Bennet performed, not directed, not choreographed, this was a little before he started doing that, this was 1961 but, “Be a Santa” is a nice, jolly song that Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green wrote. They also did She Loves Me, as you mentioned, was one of the five windows. The most obscure window was one for Comin’ Uptown, which nobody can listen to…
TIME – 00:20
PF (continued): …unless they have a bootleg recording, because it wasn’t recorded. Comin’ Uptown was a version of A Christmas Carol, set in current day Harlem; Gregory Hines played Scrooge, God rest his soul, nice guy, left us much too early, and that was one of the five windows, as well so, I’m thinking of that. One can also listen to “Christmas Child,” from Irma La Douce, which is a nice song after Irma, the former prostitute, does give birth, I believe to twins, if I remember correctly. I haven’t seen Irma La Douce since 1962, it rarely gets done because there’s some sort of problem with the rights between… it’s funny, we talked early about the French and the English, in terms of Colin Quinn but, the French and the English… it was originally a French show and then it was translated into English, and neither side really likes what the other did, and so, there’s some problem there, which is why we don’t see Irma La Douce. “A New Deal for Christmas,” from Annie was the other window so, that was nice. Promises, Promises: you can pull out that album because it has at least three songs that allude to Christmas. One is called “Christmas Day,” which I really believe Burt Bacharach and Hal David- I’ve never really heard this, this is just my theory- I think they really thought that they were righting a Christmas standard, and it never happened for that song. The song “A Fact Can Be a Beautiful Thing,” which doesn’t sound like a Christmas song, it does have Christmas as part of its B section and, of course, “Turkey Lurkey Time,” alludes to a “snowy blowy Christmas, a mistletoe-y Christmas.” Jason Robert Brown has written some songs about Christmas, “Surabaya Santa,” which is a Kurt Vile(?) parody and a very nice Christmas lullaby that’s called… that’s quite good. So, those come to mind. I don’t recommend for this time of year: the song, “I Don’t Remember Christmas,” by Maltby and Shire. It’s a wonderful song, it’s magnificent, but it’s sung from the vantage point of a divorced man who is still bitter about the relationship and having broken up. He’s just about ready to move on but, before he does, he’s going to have his say one more time. So, that’s not quite a holiday song, brilliant, though, it may be. I will say that if anybody doesn’t know the cast album, Starting Here, Starting Now, that’s definitely one to investigate because you really get to see Maltby and Shire at their smartest and their wittiest; they’re so good with special material and virtually everything on this disc is special. Some of these do come from some of their shows that didn’t succeed, including Love Match, a musical about Queen Victoria. Can you picture Queen Victoria singing and dancing? Anyways, after the holidays, get Starting Here, Starting Now and listen to “I Don’t Remember Christmas,” that’ll be a good time for it.
JM: Two questions, how do you spell Irma La Douce?
PF: I-R-M-A-space-L-A-I guess a space- D-O-U-C-E: Irma, the Sweet. It’s funny, it was made into a movie in 1963, and this is one of the times when Hollywood decided to drop all of the songs- there’s a little bit of one in it, where people have a celebration at a bar but, it doesn’t come across as a real number- so, all the songs were dropped, and I’ve often thought that if Irma La Douce, the musical that was first produced in Paris, then in London, then on Broadway for a good long run, if that were ever revived, people would say, “oh, they made a musical of Irma La Douce” because people don’t know it with songs, they know it as the movie, they know it as straight property.
JM: The other question I have for you guys is, do you remember the Making Christmas Carol at MSG?
(both): Sure, of course (etc.)
PF: Yeah, I think it has a really, quite beautiful song at the end.
JM: “A Place Called Home,” or…?
PF: No, I like “God Bless Us, Everyone.” I think it’s a…
JM: Oh, yeah, yeah, the Tiny Tim song, yeah.
PF: It’s a beautiful song; very nice, quality work.
JM: That was very aggressive producing. I think that they lost a lot of money in there; they had a really big idea and they put themselves out there, and they really fell flat on their face.
PF: Is that right? I mean, it lasted for years, so…
JM: It lost lots of money.
PF: No kidding! I’m very surprised, I would have thought it would have, at very worst, broken even because they kept bringing it back. Was it ten years…?
JM: No, I think it was five years, although, I could be wrong…
MM: James, I think Peter is closer to this than you are. I seem to recall that it was there for ten years and then stopped.
PF: Uh, huh.
JM: I saw a reading of that with four actors.
TIME – 00:25
JM: …a table reading at- what was it?- Eighth Avenue Studios or something, a really small room. And I was like, “wow, this is amazing, I have to invest in this show,” and then the Dodgers got a hold of it and the budget went sprawling… huge. And they tried to break a lot of the norms of Broadway that I feel can, and should, be broken in some cases: you know, they were like, we can’t do this eight times a week, we need to do this seventeen times a week, and we’re going to do this over multiple seasons, and we’re going to do this… they tried a lot of different things that broke the norm and they spent a lot of money, and… I enjoyed the show. I thought the music was great, the lyrics were great, the story was the story and there’s not much you can do with that, and some pretty good actors were in it over the years.
PF: Indeed. One of my favorite stories involving this: I’m walking down Eighth Avenue one January, and I run into an actor I know- I’m not going to give his name- but, anyways, he throws his arms out wide and says, “I’m out of prison!” And I thought, “oh my God, what did he do? Oh my god” because… and finally he said, “I finished doing A Christmas Carol” and that’s what he meant, you know, doing those multiple shows. How many did they do a week? Was it…
JM: I think some weeks it was seventeen, certainly not for the entire run but, certainly for those two weeks in December that New York gets insane. And I’m pretty sure I know who that was that said that (laughs).
PF: We’ll talk after.
JM: Cause I think he said the same thing to me.
PF: Oh, really? How funny! I think it’ll be more interesting if it’s a completely different person.
JM: His schtick (laughs).
PF: We’ll talk, we’ll talk.
JM: And then, also, we haven’t heard much about White Christmas this season. I know that it’s playing around the country, obviously, it’s not playing in New York so, they’re trying that thing, as well. Any songs from there that we should fire up?
PF: Um, “Count Your Blessings” is always one that’s worthwhile. Frankly, my favorite song from White Christmas is “Sisters,” which has nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever. But, “Count Your Blessings,” while not a Christmas song in the sense that it mention Christmas, or celebrates the holiday in any specific way, does remind us that we should count our blessings instead of sheep. That’s a very nice Irving Berlin song. I almost went to see it in Philadelphia, it was at the Walnut, it may still be there- I imagine it is- at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, where they do very very nice productions. So, I imagine that they did it proud but, I just couldn’t get there.
JM: Alrighty, and we have to acknowledge that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if all the Jewish writers didn’t write great Christmas songs.
PF: They really did.
JM: It’s really amazing. Alrighty, so, I was out last night in a meeting with a Broadway producer who mentioned to me that Fat Pig got a date and a theatre for this spring. Both of those pieces of information that he told me: which theatre and which date, have gone out of my head so, I can’t tell you but, we were talking in the overarching conversation about Fat Pig was, did the producers from Fat Pig learn nothing from Elling(?). The thought behind this was, I said, “you know, how are they going to sell Fat Pig on Broadway? Is this going to be… you know, what is this going to be if a woman comes home to her husband and says, “honey, I’ve got tickets to a Broadway show, I’m going to take you for Valentine’s Day to see Fat Pig. Is this something that is going to really work for Broadway?” And the producer said, “well, Dane Cook is going to sell the show,” and I said, “like Brendan Fraser sold Elling?” So, what are your thoughts about it? I think both of you saw Fat Pig off-Broadway, it was only five years ago but, Peter…
PF: Well, I’ll tell you, I think Fat Pig is an excellent first draft of a play. I wish he hadn’t stopped writing when he did. This is a LaBute and he always find the most fascinating things about which to write, and this is a story about a man who is smitten with a woman who is substantially overweight, and while he likes her immeasurably, the fact remains that he’s ashamed to be seen with her, and that becomes a big issue for him. Eventually, he realizes that he cannot go on because he cannot be with someone of whom he is ashamed because, like it or not,…
TIME – 00:30
PF (continued): … a lot of people judge you by the person you are with, or, at least that’s the perception that he has. It’s a very very smart subject for a play, and it’s true and valid, you know, a lot of people do feel that way. One of the things I don’t feel Neil LaBute did was make the woman fascinating enough, I thought she had a rather ordinary personality; she didn’t come out with one perception that interested me. She was acceptably nice but, I really think if you made her rivetingly fascinating- that she was funny, that she was witty, that she was perceptive, that she made him think in directions he’d never thought of- all that, to me, had to happen because it would make the tragedy of his dumping her, which he does do, all the more potent. I’ve only seen Dane Cook on stage once, and that was a few weeks ago at a memorial service. He comes from my home town Arlington, Massachusetts, and Frank Roberts, a director at Arlington High School, where I used to teach, and who then became a director at the Regal Players in (nd), a very successful operation in downtown Boston, where they do vintage musicals, and do them rather close in terms of sets and staging the original production. So, Dane Cook was very very influenced by Frank Roberts, and he showed up and he talked very lovingly about Frank at the memorial service. We’ve never met, I look forward to shaking his hand and talking about Frank, and I know that he’s a type of ‘shock’ comedian, that he’s been known to be vulgar and, I believe, that’s his trademark but, nevertheless, a lot of people who know him say that this is very good casting for this play. And the fact that you say, James, that the producer believes that this will be the drawing card is a very good point. But, you know this ‘fat’ thing, that’s a very interesting thing that never occurred to me and I see your point, James, about… First off, I’m not sure the husbands do come home with theatre tickets: we recently learned from a League study that 69% of the people buying theatre tickets are women. But, the question becomes: will women buy tickets for a show called Fat Pig? One of the lyrics from the Wedding Singer, in a song called “Single” about being glad you’re single, is that you never have to be asked, “does my ass look fat?” It certainly… weight is a big issue in this country, lord knows, and under those circumstances, it’s entirely possible that a lot of people want to avoid a play about this issue. But, boy, I would love it if Neil LaBute would go back and make this woman one of the great characters of all time, that’s what she really needs to be.
JM: So, my thought about this is… and you brought up all the points that I was going to mention… is that Dane Cook is known as this really over the top, aggressive, vulgar comic… are we going to see a total 180 in the character that he’s going to play, or is this keeping in the type of character that he is on stage? And wouldn’t it have been better to do some star casting in the woman’s role, than in the man’s role?
PF: Well, you do need a heavy lady. Ashlie Atkinson played it off-Broadway, was really terrific. But, I don’t know how many stars there are who are that heavy.
JM: Kirstie Alley.
PF: Well, I think she has to be younger, that’s the problem: they’re young people, and I think that’s even part of the story- when you’re young you tend to be more concerned about those issues, than you are when you get older or, at least, ideally so anyway. I believe Jeremy Piven played the part off-Broadway when he was doing theatre. The little I know of Dane Cook, I don’t know if he has much in common with Jeremy Piven, I hope he doesn’t have certain things in common with Jeremy Piven but, that’s another story, I guess.
MM: (nd…) sushi.
PF: Yeah, that’s right.
JM: Maybe, you know, all those great Tracy Turnblads that they had in Hairspray… certainly Marissa…
PF: Yeah, maybe she should come back, she might be good.
JM: Yeah, she headed out to Hollywood but, I don’t know if she’s lost forty pounds and, all of a sudden, and she’s very thin but, she could wear a fat suit
PF: It happened to the (nd) Hairspray lady.
JM: Ricki Lake.
PF: Yeah, sure.
JM: You mentioned the audience analysis by the League, that’s very true that: are women going to buy a play called Fat Pig about a man referring to a woman? I just think it’s got a lot of strikes against it, and we can’t overlook the fact that the reason Fat Pig is able to come in is because so many shows are closing between now and deep into the winter. And one of them that’s closing today is Scottsboro Boys, and…
TIME – 00:35
JM (continued): … there has been so much of an outcry about Scottsboro Boys and it’s a tragedy that it’s closing, and one of the things… I’m interested to see the grosses next week because you were unable to get a ticket for Scottsboro Boys this week; it was totally sold out.
PF: There’s no question that the people who love Scottsboro Boys were certainly making sure that they were seeing it again before it heads out. We are hearing rumors that it’s coming back.
JM: Yes, and that’s the other thing that I was going to say, that with all these shows closing, we have somewhat… one of those puzzles that has got sixteen spaces and fifteen pieces and they shuffle them around to make a picture, and we hear that, it’s been confirmed, that Rain is moving theatres and so is Rock of Ages, it’s moving to the Hayes and so, all these little moves that are happening are not really what you would normally see but, producers are trying to keep their shows open. And as Peter just mentioned, Scottsboro Boys, they’re talking about, not only, a film, that we mentioned last week but, that it might reopen in the spring, right before Tony time.
PF: And that’s, obviously, the reason they want that to happen so, that they’ll be recognized at the Tonys. I’m afraid, for me, this fits into the ‘I’ll believe it when I see it category,’ and, of course, I never thought In the Heights would move from 37th Arts so, what do I know? But, nonetheless, it is a situation that seems highly unlikely to me. I think if they come back, they would have a chance if, if, they got some dynamic, famous black actor to play the lead; I think then they might have a chance. I think they might have made a mistake in that from the beginning; nothing against the two gentlemen who played it first off-Broadway, and then on Broadway, nothing against either one of them, each one was terrific in the part. But, given the fact that it’s a difficult sell, that it’s a difficult subject, I think you might have to offset that with some dynamic, charismatic actor; that would have helped it immeasurably and it might have made a difference.
MM: Peter, my impression with them bringing the show back in the spring has nothing to do with them trying to make money off of but, to remind the Tony voters that…
PF: That’s right
MM: That it’s out there and it’s good so, they might be concerned about how much money they’re going to make with it. Of course, the idea that any business person wouldn’t be… wouldn’t look at this as some sort of a money-making venture is, rightly, ridiculous but, I can’t believe that they would think that they’d make more money the second time, than the first time.
PF: No, I agree; it certainly is so they can send it out there with “Winner! Tony Award,” even if they win for best lighting… precisely, we always see that. But, still, why not give the show its best shot?
JM: Peter, I have two words for you…
JM: Taye Diggs.
PF: Yeah! See, now that would really be something.
JM: You know, Taye Diggs, who’s become a Hollywood star in his own right and has got a strong Broadway pedigree…
MM: And he can, sort of, sing a little bit.
JM: He can sing, he can hum a little bit. My wife does not let me speak during Private Practice while he’s on the television screen, she puts her hands over my mouth and she says, “Taye Diggs…
PF: Wow, wow.
JM: …be quiet.” So, he’s quite popular. And…
MM: Actually, James, before we go on, can I just ask, has it ever happened that a show has ever closed, and then, come back in this way? I mean, does that have any precedent, whatsoever? I’ve never heard of it.
PF: Well, one thing that comes to mind is Ok(?), back in, I think, 1990, 1991, somewhere around there. Ok opened at the 46th Street Theatre, I think it was called then, it might have been the Rogers but, anyway, you know the place I’m talking about. It closed quickly, it closed quickly, and then it did come back, and I don’t even think it officially opened, I think it did a few previews. I think it opened in December, closed in January- these are arbitrary, I’m just estimating. But, then it came back in April. David Merrick was the producer, and he brought it back for, I think, about five previews before they finally called it a life. Way back in the 50’s, there was a John Osborne play called Epitaph for George Dillon, I think it was called. It closed and then reopened twelve weeks later, something like that. So, it doesn’t happen often but, it’s not unprecedented.
TIME – 00:40
JM: What was the two couple play with Gandolfini two seasons ago?
MM: God of Carnage but, James, that never closed, really.
JM: I thought it closed!
MM: Well, I mean, it closed for the summer but, they did used to do that. It was always said that they were going to reopen; it wasn’t like there was…
JM: My thought is…
MM: It didn’t close for reasons of bad business with the original cast…
PF: That’s right. Those were (nd).
JM: Now, if they do make minor/major changes to Scottsboro Boys before they reopen it, and if they don’t reopen in the same theatre, and they, you know, do various different things like that, will they run into Tony Awards rules conflict? Is this a revival? Is this the same production if they open with a different cast? Who’s eligible? It just opens up a can of worms in my mind.
PF: I don’t think it’ll be problematic for anybody. I think it’ll just be judged as the original production.
MM: Yeah, James, you know, again, as Peter said nothing against the actors in the show but, they’re not opening it to get the actors Tony Awards. I think that they’re opening it so they can get a Best Score and, perhaps, a Best Musical Tony out of it.
JM: That’s a good point.
MM: James, I just have one question for you, regarding what we had just talked about. Last week on the podcast we had discussed and, to be brutally frank, had mocked the possibility that Rock of Ages could possibly go into the Helen Hayes Theatre and, yet, that’s exactly what’s happening. One of the things I said last week, and that I, honestly, still don’t know the answer to, is how can they make money with that show, in that theatre? That theatre has less than 600 seats and that is a show with a cast of sixteen actors in it. That doesn’t even account the musicians, or the stagehands, or anything so, how… what is the business reality of this? How is it even possible for them to make money here? Can you explain that because I, honestly, don’t even understand?
JM: You know, there’s been reports that they’re not going to change the show and none of the actors are losing their jobs…
MM: You know, James, thank you for saying that because I neglected to mention that. I emailed the press rep for the show and I asked her, very pointedly, “are they changing anything? Are they reducing the cast size? Are they doing this, are they doing that?” and she said, “no, it’s exactly the same show.” (nd….) they have no intention to cut it down.
JM: That’s not going to change but, what does change when you move theatres is that… is the size of the orchestra and the stagehands are, actually, dictated by the theatre and not really… so, if there’s X number at one theatre and Y number at another theatre, and the producer can go above that number, those are the house minimums, and they’ll probably go to the house minimums at the Hayes which, I imagine, are smaller… You know, as I mentioned, this is just, kind of, on the back of a napkin math, there’s 587 seats in the Hayes: if they do eight shows a week, that’s 4,696 possible sales. Last week, Rock of Ages sold 5,112 tickets, according to the grosses reported by the League. So, maybe they’re hoping that they’ll sell out the Hayes because, obviously, they sold more tickets last week than the Hayes can hold, and their average ticket sale is $93.16, which is, really, pretty high. So, if they keep doing that, they’re, basically, going to stay in that same gross range if they sell out at $93.16, they’re about $4,350 a week. So, if you take those numbers and take into account that you’re largest expenses on Broadway are your theatre rental, your advertising, and, after that, your labors and things like that so, those are… the theatre cost is going to go down. The advertising… I assume that they’re going to cut back on the advertising to stay within this $4,350 maximum budget but, you know, when you cut advertising, your show, kind of, gets forgotten. So, I don’t know how the producers are going to make this work. You know… Matthew, how many actors were there? Sixteen?
MM: Sixteen, I think.
JM: Sixteen. So, you have three more equity salaries in there because the stage managers are covered under equity so, you have probably one PSM and two ASMs so, you have nineteen actors roughly… I don’t know what their salaries are but, I’m going to guess that it’s going to cost the production, you know…
TIME – 00:45
JM (continued): … $2,000 a week for these folks. There’s no real stars in the show, is there right now?
JM: No, so roughly, about $2,000 a week for nineteen actors. So, $38,000, plus you have pension, health, and welfare costs so, let’s bring it in at $50,000 a week for that, and then the theatre rental, you know, it’d be $75,000 to $150,000 a week, depending on what deal they cut to go into the Hayes. So, you know, you do have some money to be made there but, it’s really based on a sellout, and that’s scary for producing a Broadway show based on a sellout.
MM: James, I thought we weren’t going to talk about Spiderman this week?
JM: Oh! You brought up the S-word.
MM: Sorry, sorry.
JM: So, you know, it’s a doable thing, it’s not something that I think most people would look at this and invest in it. I don’t know if… is Rock of Ages out on a tour? Are they planning a tour? I haven’t heard.
PF: I believe they’re planning one.
JM: So, maybe this is just the launch of a tour…
PF: It could very well be.
JM: …and they’re just getting it all together.
PF: To me, the most fascinating thing you said, though, is the fact that there are different requirements and different numbers of backstage help.
MM: Yeah, I didn’t know that either.
PF: That’s pretty fascinating. It may warrant a move just for that reason; you can save money that way, though, of course, moving is very expensive. I mean, it’s amazing to me that Urinetown, when it still had some life in it, that it closed because they had to get out of their theatre for all the renovations that were happening, and they talked about how prohibitively expensive it would have been to move. Frankly, I think the three of us could’ve gone down there and moved it in an afternoon, I mean, considering what the set of Urinetown was but, of course, it has nothing to do with you, me, and Matthew, it has everything to do with unions and, as a result, it would have been prohibitively expensive, so they say. But, you know, I was writing about Baker Street the other day, for the new book I’m doing, this was a musical that opened in 1965 at the Broadway Theatre, and Alexander Cohen, the producer, had an enormous display above the theatre that was, really, something to see. It had movable cutouts and it was all about Sherlock Holmes and adventures so, you had a guy climbing up a ladder and being shot down and falling down to the bottom of the ladder and starting up again, that type of thing and it was, really, an enormously elaborate type of thing and at the time, I believe it cost $30,000, which was a lot of money in those days. Anyway, my point is, he had a new play called The Devils with Ann Bancroft and Jason Robards, who were white-hot stars at that time, it was a serious play but, it was… nevertheless, he had these two stars and it was going to be a big thing, and he actually evicted his own show from the Broadway Theatre, so he could put this play in. And he moved Baker Street, and taking down all that signage so, he moved Baker Street to the Martin Beck, now the Hirschfeld, and kept it there for something like ten days, I mean, it was a very short period of time. It was bizarre that he would move the show and then pull the plug on it so quickly. But, in those days, it didn’t cost so much to move and that’s why Bijou, a 1964 musical, even moved from the Shubert to the Lafontaine for a few weeks. David Merrick, I remember moved a few shows for a few weeks because it was still thought that it wasn’t that expensive to move.
JM: One of the things that you have to think about in the move, is they have to re-hang and re-tech the whole show, and it’s a very different space so, they have to re-hang and re-tech…
MM: And re-rehearse.
JM: … so, you’re talking about a two week downtime, where you have to pay everybody for two weeks, without any income. You know, we’re talking about… it could be half a million dollars, which just might not be worth it.
PF: Oh, indeed. I understand but, obviously, there was a time when it was perceived to be worth it.
JM: No, absolutely, and I think that it’s because… I think that when you move something, the number of moving parts was so much less, and I also don’t believe that everybody got paid during the move time but, now people have to get paid during the move time, the actors, at least, have to get paid during the move time. And the general manager’s office is not going to lay-off people, and the press office… everybody involved in the production has got to get paid every week, and so, I think that it’s a much more complex time… moving…
TIME – 00:50
JM (continued): …production is much more complex, than in the past. So, I was going to talk about Twyla Tharp, out in Las Vegas. She’s been on this… it seems like every time, it seems like Twyla Tharp is doing a lot of interviews in the media right now, and one of the things that she is repeating in the many interviews that she’s done is Broadway doesn’t appreciate her work, and…
MM: I certainly appreciated Movin’ Out; that ran for a long time.
PF: It sure did.
MM: I think she means that they didn’t appreciate Come Fly Away and the reason they didn’t appreciate it was because it was bad, that’s what I say.
JM: And so, she’s out in Vegas doing this Steve Wynn song, Come Fly Away, and she’s out in Vegas staging some other work out there now, and I was wondering, I guess, you answered my question: what did you think of that?
PF: Well, I have to say, too, that it must be very hard for a choreographer to do a show that is all choreography and then not win the Tony Award for Best Choreography. That must be the insult that she’s talking about because whatever one wants to say about Fela!… Fela!, however it’s pronounced, it, obviously, was not as choreographically driven as Come Fly Away. I remember when Dancin’ was on Broadway, and I remember I was with a group of people the night of the Tony Awards, and the nominees for Best Choreography are:… And I remember somebody saying, “can you imagine what a disgrace it would be if Bob Fosse didn’t win in this category? I mean, the show is called Dancin’, good lord.” So, and I thought of that the night we were at the Tonys, you may recall, I was sitting in the row in front of you…
PF: … and I remember, so vividly, when the Best Choreography Award was announced, “and the winner is:,” and I remember the woman sitting next to me droning, in a bored voice, “Twyla Tharp,” and I looked at her because I didn’t think it was going to happen, I really didn’t, and she was shocked because it just seemed that by the very nature of the piece, she was entitled to that award. But, the fact that she didn’t get it, must rankle her to some degree and may be the motivating factor to why she said what she said.
JM: Alright, so, last week we did some recommendations for good gifts to get for the theatre lover in your life. We recommended Scottsboro Boys (OCR), and this week we want to talk about books and, maybe, a theatre ticket, or two, since Peter won’t be here next week. So, Peter, why don’t you start? If you were going to give a book as a gift, what would you give?
PF: I would give one of three books that I would recommend, and one only has a very tangential theatre theme, and I’m going to bring that up quickly. I read a biography, well, I don’t know if we’d call it that but, a study of the Smothers Brothers TV show, it’s called Dangerously Funny, it’s by David Bianculli- if that’s how his name is pronounced- but, the funny thing about it was, back in the 60’s, Bonanza was the big show on TV, it was always- or close to always- the number one rated show; it was a western, a real shoot-’em-up, 9 o’clock, Wednesday nights everybody watched Bonanza on NBC. Of course, CBS had a real hard time with it and, as a result, didn’t know what to put up against it. So, they finally put up the Smothers Brothers, thinking, “let’s do something completely different.” And the Smothers Brothers, little, by little, by little, by little, starting eating away into Bonanza. Finally, one week, they win the time period but, that wasn’t the week that Bonanza was on, it was preempted that week to show Annie Get Your Gun with Ethel Merman so, that was the week the Smothers Brothers emerged triumphant- another slap in the face for the Broadway musical. A very interesting book but, again, only a few references to theatre. For those who lived through those times, it’s fun to run into names you haven’t thought of in a hundred years.
JM: Who was the author of the Smothers Brothers one?
PF: David Bianculli. B-I-A-N-C-U-L-L-I. His name may be pronounced very differently, I don’t know. The two books I would really recommend, one is Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise. Kay Thompson is a woman you may know from Funny Face, she appears as a very demanding, incredibly difficult, single-minded, drive you crazy, boss from a magazine, Maggie Prescott, and she just has to have her way in every way and a hundred percent of it too. So,…
TIME – 00:55
PF (continued): …was she really this difficult in real life? Well, I have to say that this biography by Sam Irvin claims, and really proves, that she really was. This was quite a lady. Rex Reed says that she was ahead of her time for nine decades, and I wouldn’t disagree with that at all after reading this book, which is one of the books- of the few books of my life- that the moment I finished, I went back to the beginning and read it again, and the moment I finished, I went back to the beginning and read it a third time. I couldn’t get enough of this book. So, you find out all about this woman who was a performer, certainly, and was offered tons, tons, of Broadway musicals during her career but, because she was fired from a Broadway musical in 1937, a show called Hooray for What!, because an actress was sleeping with one of the book writers, and with the lyricist, and that woman who was doing all this vamping was Vivian Vance, the future Ethel Mertz from I Love Lucy, Kay Thompson, essentially, would never put herself through that again. So, even though she was offered out of this world in Hazel Flagg and Miss Liberty, and a lot of these shows in the 40’s and 50’s, she never came back to Broadway. But, she did write a children’s book, called Eloise, based on an alter-ego she had. She liked to pretend that she was a six year old girl and spoke with a lisp-y voice, and she turned it into a book, and the book became quite a sensation. There have been many sequels, it’s still in print… the actual first Eloise was never out of print, the sequels were but, she didn’t want them back in print, she didn’t like the sequels very much and so, throughout her entire life, vowed that they would never be in print. And, of course, as always happens, as soon as these people die, their estates want to make some money and they immediately release them. So, that’s very fascinating too but, she was a musical granger, she was a stylist, she worked in fashion, she did innovations with fashion shows, changing the way that they looked and sounded so, I found it one of the best biographies I have ever, ever, ever read, and I can’t imagine anybody not being as fascinated as I was with it. So, the author did a magnificent job, especially, because we’re talking about a woman who’s been dead for a long time now, and a lot of her contemporaries have died so, he had to deal with the people he could and do the best he could under the circumstances, and I thought he did a spectacular job. So, I highly recommend that. The other book that I recommend, and I will be upfront about this, because it’s written by dearest friend in New York, Ken Bloom, is Hollywood Musicals. Many of you may have the book, Broadway Musicals: the 101 Greatest Shows of All Time, that Ken co-wrote with Frank Vlastnik; a marvelous coffee table book, with almost a thousand pictures and, again, choices made about the 101 best- that’s what he’s done here now with musical movies. He’s done a wonderful job; it’s a colorful book, even some black and white movies have some colored pictures that were taken at the time, which is fun too. And, again, it’s one of those books, like all of these books, where you disagree with certain choices. “Are you kidding? How could he put in… What do you mean? Where’s such and such?” But, the book is just as beautiful as the previous book on Broadway musicals, and those are the ones I think that any theatre lover would be thrilled to get. Certainly, Hollywood Musicals makes an eye-catching gift; for Kay Thompson, the book may not be as eye-catching but, try to take your eyes off it, while you’re reading it.
JM: Great. Alright, Matthew, what do you think?
MM: Well, I don’t really have a lot of recommendations, so I’m just going to go ahead and hock Peter’s book, which I’m kind of amazed he didn’t throw in there: the Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season – 1959-2009. He certainly has put a huge amount of work into that, and it’s been getting some great reviews from professional reviewers, and just, sort of, amateur chat-word people, and cast rec mailing people, alike. So, definitely, you can give Peter some support there; he, certainly, knows Broadway musicals like no one else, and with a lot of stories in it, and opinions that you might not have heard elsewhere. It’s certainly going to be something that a lot of people will treasure and will want to be exposed to, even as a lot of these shows fade from people’s memory. Everyone’s memory, except for Peter, of course, we were talking before the podcast…
TIME – 01:00
MM (continued): …about the tricks memory can play and what you forget and what you remember and, certainly, Peter has got a better memory than anybody. If you want to see the kinds of things he can do with that memory, obviously, Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season – 1959-2009 is a wonderful imprint way to do that.
JM: Alright, I was going to recommend that, as well. It was a very, not only an enjoyable read but, also a great point of reference; I find myself going back to it to find different little tidbits that I didn’t know before, or thought I remembered, or remembered incorrectly, and it’s great to have as, not only, something to read but, also… as a literary journey but, also as a reference book, as well. I also noticed that maybe there was another one that we should all read but, it’s maybe not the right podcast for this; it’s called Professional Baseball Franchises: From Abbeville Athletics to the Zanesville Indians.
JM: Peter, are you cheating on Broadway?
PF: That’s a book I wrote back in 1990. It’s the damndest thing; what had happened was my agent called me up and said, “I have a good friend who’s an editor at Facts On File Books, why don’t you go and propose a book to them? It’s got to be a research book.” So, I walked into the guys office and he had an Oakland Raiders helmet on his desk, and I said “oh, you’re a Raiders fan?” and he said, “no, no, no, Kenny Stable, the quarterback wrote his memoir and, of course, he can’t put two sentences together so, I was his ‘as told to’ person, and he gave me his helmet. So, that’s why it’s here. Why, are you a Raiders fan?” And I said, “not really. The only team I care about is the Baltimore Orioles” and he said, “funny thing, funny thing. I was in a bar the other night and we were trying to remember, where were the Orioles before they moved to Baltimore?” And I said, “St. Louis, they were the St. Louis Browns before they moved to Baltimore in 1954.” So, we’re getting along and I’m thinking, “oh, this is great, I’m going to make a sale,” and he says, “tell me your idea for a book,” and I say, “well, I want to do a complete study of the American musical: every song dropped, every cast member, and so on and so forth,” and his face went white, he turned around, and he pointed to 500 pages behind him and said, “we just bought one.” Ironically enough, the book he just bought was by my future friend, Ken Bloom, I hadn’t known him yet but, you know like in cartoons when they show you a dollar bill with little wings flying away? I mean, I really felt that was happening because we were getting along so well, and I was determined not to leave that place until I made a sale so, I said, “um, um, um, what about a book telling about baseball teams? Where they started, where they moved to? You didn’t know where the Orioles were from, how about that? Minor leagues, too; that would make a good book. And he said, “oh yeah, I’d buy that,” and then I had to do it. So, that’s what happened.
JM: Now, Peter, was this you, or was this a different Peter Filichia that wrote a book about cheerleading?
JM: No, ironically enough, what had happened there was the same type of thing. In this case, I was the ‘as told to’ guy. There was a book that was being written on cheerleading, and they needed somebody to come in and just help out and put it all together. So, that book has sold 350,000 copies so, just as we learned not to mock Rock of Ages moving to the Helen Hayes, we should not mock that book because it’s been extraordinarily successful but, all I did was put it into workable order.
JM: You know, a lot of people might not realize this but, Matthew and I never mock cheerleading. Isn’t that true?
PF: Really? (laughs)
MM: Well, I never mock successful books either, because they are hard to come by.
JM: For those of you who don’t know, Matthew and I used to work for a company called LifeStyle Media, which published American Cheerleader magazine…
PF: Really? I didn’t know this.
JM: … so, we sat in the office with former cheerleaders and dancers who worked on the magazine. Literally, it was a company with about a hundred people, and Matthew and I are about the only men that worked at the company, with two or three others. It was about ninety-five women and five men who worked at this company and all of them were former dancers and cheerleaders, except for Matthew and me. I was never a former dancer or cheerleader, I don’t know about Matthew.
MM: I can do a time-step, that’s about it.
PF: Boy, that sounds fascinating to me, and I think there would be a story there.
JM: I worked at LifeStyle Media after I worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, and after Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, I went to work, for many years, at Scholastic, the children’s publishing…
TIME – 01:05
JM (continued): …firm, and I could never get my friends to come have lunch with me from Wall Street when I was at Scholastic. I was like, “Scholastic’s got a great cafeteria on the roof, a view of downtown…,” “oh, we’re really busy, really busy,” and I sent out notices to my buddies that said, “hey, I’m working at LifeStyle Media, we publish a dance magazine and we publish American Cheerleader” and everybody was like, “hey! I’ll come to your office and have lunch.”
PF: Odd how that works. Very, very interesting.
JM: Aside from Peter’s book, I also want to mention that Larry Stempel’s got a great book called Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical and it’s just released this year, and I would recommend that too. It’s another great reference book, as well as a great sit down and read book. It’s got great stories in it, and we will link to all these recommendations on the show page, in case you would like to go and find them, and you missed it while we were talking about it. So, I think we’re going to wrap up here. Peter, you’ve got to head down to Red Bank and it’s cold and rainy here so, I’m going to start firing the fireplace.
PF: Yeah, I’m going to see Charlotte’s Web.
JM: Which one?
PF: No idea.
JM: No idea?
PF: No, I don’t know anything about it, beyond the fact that I have to go see it. I have to be there at twelve noon so, I’m leaving, ‘start spreading the news, I’m leaving today. Gonna be a part of it,’ Red Bank, Red Bank.
JM: Which theatre in Red Bank is it?
PF: The Two River Theatre Company, one of the most beautiful theatres you’ll ever care to go into. Magnificent structure, most comfortable seats; it’s about five years old now, I would guess. Beautiful, beautiful place. Red Bank is quite an interesting town in New Jersey.
JM: It’s exit 109. Exit 109 has got a handful of theatre companies… a bunch of theatre companies there, the Count Basie Theatre, which is brand new, the Two River Theatre Company, and Phoenix Productions, and Premier Productions, and…
PF: Yeah, I recommend exit 109, I really do.
JM: That’d be the diner on Main Street, they have the best vanilla pancakes you’ve ever had; they have the greatest pancakes, even at two in the morning so, the diner on Main Street, highly recommended.
PF: And, therefore, if James is saying about two in the morning, it does prove that Red Bank is quite the swinging place so, as a result…
JM: So, I want to remind everybody that you can subscribe to these podcasts by going to the front page of BroadwayStars.com, and on the front pages there’s a BoadwayRadio logo on the right, you can click on the subscribe button right below there. That way, each and every time that we have a new episode of BroadwayRadio, it’ll be automatically downloaded to iTunes for you, so you don’t miss anything. You can also subscribe in a few other ways: in the Zune Marketplace, and you can also subscribe with Android, and through Stitcher Radio. Stitcher Radio is an application that you can load onto your smart phone and listen to it without having to sync with your computer. We are also on Broadway World Radio at Wednesdays at noon, Thursdays at 7pm, and Saturdays at 2pm if you want to listen to us on the BroadwayRadio stream and, also, we haven’t mentioned this before but, you can hook up with me and with Matthew on Twitter and Facebook. My handle on Twitter is @James Marino, Matthew what’s yours?
MM: AmmaMarieonBway, I, unfortunately, don’t update that one but, I’m trying to get better at it.
JM: So, Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook.com/JamesMarino, or Facebook.com/BroadwayStars. If you go to Facebook.com/JamesMarino, I mostly talk about my kids so, be prepared for that, it’s not much Broadway but, /BroadwayStars is going to be updated more often. Also, if you want to reach out and comment to us and say hello, as well as on Twitter and Facebook, you can send us an email by going to the front page of BroadwayStars.com and there’s a contact form in the upper right hand corner, or you can give us a call at 646-873-7695 and leave us a voicemail. And if you do leave us a voicemail, we may play it on the podcast so, on behalf of Peter Filichia and Matthew Murray, this is James Marino saying thanks so much for listening to Broadway Radio’s: This Week on Broadway. Bye bye.
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