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Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops Paperback


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Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops + Broadway Musicals, Show by Show - Seventh Edition + The World Of Musical Comedy, 4th Edition (Da Capo Paperback)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (August 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312082738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312082734
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

While ample material on hit Broadway musicals is readily available, detailed critical information on musical flops has been difficult to come by. Mandelbaum's ( "A Chorus Line" and the Musicals of Michael Bennett , LJ 6/15/89) informative and entertaining survey of almost 200 musical flops from 1950 to 1990 fills the void admirably. Framed by the 1988 megaflop Carrie , which theater buffs still speak of in hushed tones, the shows are presented thematically rather than chronologically, thus better underscoring the reasons for failure. While Mandelbaum can be scathing about mediocre material, he carefully analyzes each show, pointing out both problems and strengths, and demonstrates a keen insight into Broadway musical history. Brief synopses and fascinating backstage gossip combine with intelligent criticism and well-chosen illustrations to make this study a required addition to all theater collections. Highly recommended.
- Eric W. Johnson, Teikyo Post Univ. Lib., Waterbury, Ct.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Highly readable...strong opinions backed up by solid judgment. Mr. Mandelbaum has seen nearly everything and is not easily taken in....Justified affection for worthy scenes, wisely tempered by shrewd analysis...Mr. Mandelbaum has a very good ear that leads him to champion scores that have had smaller cult followings...As befits the subject, Not Since Carrie is full of entertaining backstage reportage...The illustrations are also fun and wittily chosen, whether embarrassing production photos or sadly hopeful posters and advertising."--Frank Rich, The New York Times/WQXR

"A must-read."--Alex Witchel, The New York Times

"Best theater book of 1991...breathtaking research and pointed, but not cruel, wit."--David Patrick Stearns, USA Today

"Of all the theater books I've come across lately, none has entertained me more than Ken Mandelbaum's Not Since Carrie, a lively, illustrated account of forty years of Broadway musical flops."--Doug Watt, New York Daily News

"An enormously amusing read...I cannot recall enjoying a theatre book as much as Not Since Carrie in a long time."--Hap Erstein, The Washington Times

"The book we have all been waiting for. Not only does [Mandelbaum] identify more than two hundred flops by name, he analyzes each and every one of them at some length and misses very little in the way of backstage intrigue. Mandelbaum's chapter "Don't Let This Happen to You" could double as a primer for people who write musicals or aspire to write them. Fascinating book, this-- most definitely not a flop. It practically reads itself. And just chockful of stuff that's hard to find elsewhere."--Nels Nelson, Philadelphia Daily News

"Essential and hilarious."--The New Yorker

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Customer Reviews

This helps give the book as a whole a satisfying structure.
Michael J. Mazza
A lot IS based on the author's opinions, but I nevertheless find myself reading this book over and over again.
P. Adamson
I have read this book cover to cover several times and will probably read it again!
JB414

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
The others who have reviewed this book have said little beyond the fact they haven't really read it. Not Since Carrie is not, in any way, about gossip, unless you consider the published words of dozens of theatre critics and statements from those involved with the works in question gossip. The story of some of Broadway's greatest musical flops is told through the people that were there--the stars, the composers, and even an important element, the audience, as represented by Mr. Mandelbaum. He has done his homework, and has created a brilliant, must-have book for any theatre enthusiast's library.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By P. Adamson on November 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've often speculated that the true sign of a musical theater aficionado is when one puts Les Miz and Phantom behind them and begins to find allure in the world of the flops. If that's the case, then certifiable musical theater queens need this book for reference. For anyone who believes the shows that didn't make it are more fascinating, this book is for you. A lot IS based on the author's opinions, but I nevertheless find myself reading this book over and over again. If you are someone who would rather learn about the genesis and failure of "Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge" rather than the success of "Annie," then buy this book!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on January 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Not Since Carrie: 40 Years of Broadway Musical Flops," by Ken Mandelbaum, is a fascinating look at its title subject. Mandelbaum breaks this vast collection of flops into a number of categories--star flops, flops based on movies, "missed opportunities," etc. One particularly intriguing section of the book is Chapter 5, "Don't Let This Happen to You"; here the author gives a list of rules to follow in order to avoid creating a flop. Example, rule #9: "Don't do sequels" (such as "Annie 2").
Mandelbaum's prose is clear, authoritative, and often appropriately biting. Many accounts of flops stand out as particularly fascinating--Peter Allen's disastrous "Legs Allen," the aforementioned "Annie 2," etc. The book is full of black-and-white photographs--playbill covers, shots of the performers, promotional art. This gives the book great visual appeal. Some of the musicals described are almost too bizarre to be believed (such as "Into the Light," a show about the Shroud of Turin).
Mandelbaum opens and closes the book with spellbinding in-depth sections on "Carrie" the musical, complete with photos. This helps give the book as a whole a satisfying structure. Indeed, "Not Since Carrie" ultimately reads like a vast multigenerational epic--at times funny, absurd, and/or tragic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard E. Burcham on June 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Not Since Carrie: 40 Years of Broadway Musical Flops' is a fascinating, highly entertaining retrospective of the Broadway musical flop. Ken Mandelbaum brilliantly conveys the strengths and weaknesses of each musical examined, giving insight as to the possible reasons for their early demise. If you love musical theatre and want to expand your knowledge and understanding of it, you will find this informative reading indispensable! It is a book you will turn to for reference time and again.
R. Burcham
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Skidmore on July 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Please Ken, update the book! There have been many more flops since this was published. "Not Since Carrie" is a great read - there aren't too many shows these days that open and close in the span of a week, or a few days. The financials simply don't allow for that anymore. So this is fascinating to read and get a glimpse of the theatrical past, which is often fleeting.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By robert sorrentino on December 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
For Broadway musical buffs, music theater historians, or those of us who just want a good laugh, "Not Since Carrie" is, to put it simply, a trip. Whether the show was an undeserved flop ("Tenderloin" "Walking Happy"), a semi-deserved flop ("Goldilocks" "Mack and Mabel"), or an out-and-out stinkeroo ("Gantry" "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue"), Mandelbaum treats them all with respect, insight, and more than a touch of good humor. I've found myself going back to this book again and again over the years, and I've never been bored with it. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Samuel P. Johnson on November 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Plenty has been said about the most prominent examples of the American musical theatre repertoire; such classic shows as SOUTH PACIFIC, WEST SIDE STORY, and COMPANY have been endlessly dissected, analyzed, and deconstructed.

"Not Since Carrie," however, is the first book to take a look at the losers--the shows that, for one reason or another, failed to light up the Great White Way for long, bringing disgrace, financial loss, and (sometimes) embarrassment to all involved. The fact that the book is one of the few on musical theatre to do this is enough reason alone to pick up a copy, but Mandelbaum thankfully provides each entry with plenty of interesting information and insightful, witty commentary. Additionally, many of the shows have been lost to history (CARRIE, in particular, has been all but buried by its creators as an embarrassment), never having been recorded or having long out-of-print recordings (although studio cast recordings and rereleases of some shows have occured since the book was published), so this collection of information on the show is all casual fans have to remember the show.

If there is one criticism of the book, it is one that others below have noted: the book needs an update! In the 14 years since the book was published the Broadway scene has changed immeasurably and a new edition of the book ought to reflect that. I for one would love to hear Mandelbaum's thoughts on such recent notorious flops as DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES or LENNON, as well as more recent "heartbreakers" (A CLASS ACT, JANE EYRE THE MUSICAL).

All in all, this book represents a bit of a stepping stone for casual or beginning musical theatre lovers--once they've grown to fully appreciate the classics, they next turn to the far more fascinating story of flops, and "Not Since Carrie" is an indispensible primer.
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