What makes a musical go wrong? Theatrical manager and producer Suskin (Show Tunes; Broadway Yearbook series) attempts an answer in this lightly entertaining, obsessively edited compilation of newspaper and magazine articles and memoir excerpts, enlightened and corrected by Suskin's own commentary. A flop usually boils down to a few variables: conflicting artistic visions and/or personality conflicts, "star vehicles that failed," a nonexistent second act or costly rewrites and recastings. The earliest musical documented is Flying Colors (1932), the latest The Red Shoes (1993), with the majority from the '60s and '70s and no examples from the AIDS-torn '80s. Most of these gossip-laden, name-dropping, cattily amusing essays are too short to give more than the sketchiest outline of a show's trials and tribulations. Aspiring Broadway writers and producers looking for edification may be frustrated. The two exceptions are William Gibson's deeply felt excerpt about the posthumous musicalization of his close friend Clifford Odets's Golden Boy, an essay so literarily superior that Suskin refrains from his standard in-essay editorializing, and the book's grand finale, Lewis H. Lapham's long, funny, in-depth Saturday Evening Post article about the 1965 disaster Kelly. 100 color and b&w illus. (Jan.)
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Steven Suskin has written a dozen books on theatre and music. A long-time theatrical manager and producer, he lives in New York.
A look back at many contemporary accounts of Broadway musicals that didn't fare all that well. Granted, it is a book one can skim through to find certain shows. Read morePublished 1 month ago by voracious reader
I appreciate Mr. Suskin taking the time to scrounge up past articles written by other people for a book featuring his name as sole author. Read morePublished 19 months ago by John Gibson
The book came quickly and I am thoroughly enjoying the book! It is a great read for anyone who loves musical theater and the drama that comes with it!Published 23 months ago by Taralee Larsen
This fascinating book tells about some of the famous ("Kelly," "Breakfast at Tiffany's") and lesser known ("Skyscraper," "Flying Colors") Broadway flops. Read morePublished on March 12, 2010 by Russell T. Warne
If you really want the scoop on B'way shows, look for a couple other titles by the same author: "Opening Nights on Broadway", and it's companion, "More Opening Nights on... Read morePublished on June 29, 2009 by Thom Karlsen
I had my doubts about this book, especially based on some of the feedback I read, but I have to say I'm very happy I bought it. Read morePublished on December 24, 2008 by P. Hwang
This book, while interesting in its subject matter, is not an easy read as stated by an earlier reviewer. It is sometimes dry and rather longwinded in spots. Read morePublished on July 21, 2008 by Robert E. Gold