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Second Act Trouble: Behind the Scenes at Broadway's Big Musical Bombs Hardcover – January 1, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
It's actors vs. directors, directors vs. composers, and everybody vs. the producers as we are taken backstage to learn why a show like Jerry Lewis' Hellzapoppin turned into such a fiasco.
This is not a newly written tome. Suskin has gathered a collection of contemporary articles from magazines, newspapers, autobiographies, and biographies. And that is why they are so accurate and timely. The writers were there - they talked to the participants. This is not second-hand gossip. As Edward R. Murrow used to say: "You are there." You are there when a composer/director finds his star/wife having an affair with her leading man. There when one star's part is reduced to five lines in the first act and six lines in the second act. There when a leading man is replaced with an 11-year-old boy. There when two people standing in line at the box office say they want their money back, only to hear the producer behind them say, "So do I."
Among the shows covered are Kelly, Fade Out, Fade In, The Red Shoes, and....well you get the picture. Stars include Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore...just to tap the distaff side.
If you have heard a rumor about a show, it is probably discussed here and confirmed or laid to rest. Suskin helpfully includes his own comments at appropriate places in the articles. These serve to clarify and sometimes give us the end result of a particular action or person.Read more ›
Some of the shows had a chance. "Irene" and "Seesaw" sold tickets but were hobbled by poor production decisions. "Fade In Fade Out and "Hallelujah Baby" died when the stars left.
Some of the shows were simply misbegotten from the get go. "Dude" was a catostrophe that will make you laugh at how so many smart people could've been so wrong and "Cry for us All" was too grim to be a muscial, period.
A few of the shows are memorable only because of what happened afterwards like "Skyscapper" which has a spooky link to the Kennedy assasination.
One show, "Flying Colors" almost drove the producer to suicide.
The book ends with a long article on "Kelly" a turkey that lasted ONE day on Broadway. It was so bad it's still something of a legend. Why anybody thought that Joe & Jane Q. Public would actually want to spend money on tickets, dinner, and a babysitter to see a musical about a dope who jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge on a bet is a mystery.
Second Act Trouble tells the story of how things can go completely wrong even with smart, talented and hard working folks in charge.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am absolutely furious that I actually purchased this sham. Suskin wrote maybe three pages of a 367-page long book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by RareRare
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 10 months 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 on January 11, 2014 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 on October 2, 2013 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