Broadway's Most WantedTM: The Top 10 Book of Dynamic Divas, Surefire Showstoppers, and Box-Office Busts
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It’s not just a street anymore—it’s a genre of its own, and it’s celebrated in Tom Shea’s Broadway’s Most Wanted™: The Top 10 Book of Dynamic Divas, Surefire Showstoppers, and Box-Office Busts. Part of Potomac's popular Most Wanted™ series, Broadway’s Most Wanted™ sings the praises of musical theater with a dash of whimsy thrown in. Shea honors those who have made musical theater what it is today—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Oh, the ugly! When a show hits gold, the world’s a wonderful place, but a bomb is just as precious and enjoyable in its own perverse way. With more than forty top-ten lists packed full of fun and facts, Shea shows you the best—and worst—that Broadway, off-Broadway, and the rest of the musical theater has to offer.
So while you learn about the amazing people behind the hit Bye Bye Birdie, including the incomparable Chita Rivera, you’ll also read about the ill-fated and laughable Bring Back Birdie, which quickly indicated why Broadway doesn’t do sequels (especially twenty years after the original). While chuckling over how Jimmy Durante and Ethel Merman bickered over top billing for 1936’s Red, Hot, and Blue—with the comical result of their names being written diagonally, crossing in an X—you’ll also find praise for Paul Ford, Stephen Sondheim’s rehearsal pianist, who helps the legendary composer bring his music to life. Musicals run the gamut of topics, and Shea waxes melodic on political, western, rock and roll, and comic-book musicals, plus so much more. They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway; Tom Shea shines just as brightly with Broadway’s Most Wanted™: The Top 10 Book of Dynamic Divas, Surefire Showstoppers, and Box-Office Busts.
art forms, has evolved (some would say devolved, given the current state of the art) over time, changing as the times have demanded. Broadway’s Most Wanted is a book to honor the creators, performers, and audiences who have made the musical theater what it is today: the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly. When a show is a hit, the world is a wonderful place. But most show freaks will tell you that a bomb of a show, and I mean a real turkey, is as precious and enjoyable, in its own
she was basically playing herself, and critics and audiences loved it live. They loved her more than the show, though, and Hepburn lost the Tony Award, to … 3. LAUREN BACALL … Who made her musical debut that same season, in Applause, the musical version of the classic film All About Eve. Bacall completely dug the groovy modernday adaptation, swinging in a disco here, dishing with her gay hairdresser there, covering up her lack of real musical-theater savvy with her effortless glamour and
off-Broadway at the Colonnades Lab, Mulcahy’s pen embraced Shakespearean verse both familiar (“Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?,” “If Music Be the Food of Love”) and less so (“Crabbed Age and Youth,” from The Passionate Pilgrim). Despite the show’s lasting only fifty-four performances on Broadway in 1981, Mulcahy’s music received a Tony nomination. 5. TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA Director Mel Shapiro asked Galt MacDermot to set “Who is Silvia?” to music for his 1971 New York Shakespeare
then delayed, but Urinetown finally made it to the big time (and three Tony Awards) in fall 2001. As the nation reeled, smart comedies were what Broadway audiences seemed to want, and Urinetown filled the bill. 10. LITTLE MARY SUNSHINE In the wilderness of the off-Broadway of the 1950s, occasionally a big hit popped up, most notably the Theater de Lys production of The Threepenny Opera and Rick Besoyan’s Little Mary Sunshine. Besoyan’s 1959 spoof was entirely his creation—book, music, and
On the Town to Funny Girl in 1964, with many stops in between. Robbins rehearsed his huge company for the small epoch of nine weeks, during which time he was occasionally seen walking down the street wearing a T-shirt that read, “It’s going fine, thank you.” All the great moments were included: West Side Story’s exquisite suite of ballets, the joyful peasant dances from Fiddler on the Roof, the musical-comedy magic of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Gypsy, and many others, all