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Whoopi: Back to Broadway - The 20th Anniversary (2005)

Whoopi Goldberg  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Whoopi Goldberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ARXF8C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,527 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Whoopi: Back to Broadway - The 20th Anniversary" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Also includes Whoopi: Direct from Broadway (1985)

Editorial Reviews

Whoopi Goldberg, star of Ghost and The Color Purple, made her first splash off-Broadway with a one-woman show of vivid characters called The Spook Show--a title dropped when the show transferred to Broadway proper, which was then turned into a TV special called Direct From Broadway in 1985. Twenty years later she revisits some of these characters in Back to Broadway, such as the sharp-tongued junkie Fontaine--who sounds off on a whole spectrum of contemporary political issues, making this as much a stand-up comedy routine as a character monologue. Whoopi: Back to Broadway also includes Direct From Broadway and the contrast between Whoopi's young, hungry self and the supremely confident self of 2005 is fascinating, as are the two different versions she presents of a character called only the Cripple--a physically disabled woman who finds herself resisting the affections of a man who falls in love with her. The differences are not as simple as youthful dynamism vs. emotional maturity; the early performances focus on the characters, while in the 2005 show the characters are more of a channel through which Whoopi projects herself. Her appeal lies not so much in the originality of her observations--little she says will surprise anyone of a liberal persuasion--but in her emotional conviction. She speaks what she believes to be the Truth-with-a-capital-T, yet never seems preachy or didactic. That--combined with her comic timing and sheer charisma--makes for two rich, rewarding evenings. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Smart, savvy and sassy, Whoopi Goldberg exploded onto the show-biz scene in 1985, when her one-woman Broadway show wowed live audiences and, later, HBO subscribers. One of the worlds most beloved and honored acting and comedy stars -- the multiple award-winning Goldberg performs in her first solo HBO special in over 13 years. Taped before a live audience at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City (the same venue for her historic 1985 inaugural HBO special). The 20th anniversary features a refreshing mix of familiar and new Goldberg creations.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
142 of 144 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Was There in 85... November 3, 2005
Verified Purchase
I worked the entire run of Whoopi's Broadway Debut on the theatre staff, and I remember it vividly. It was Broadway's Lyceum Theatre, the same stage used for another historic TV special, LIZA WITH A Z.

The title on Broadway was just WHOOPI GOLDBERG. This show was far more than standup comedy, it was Performance Art. Sure, she made you laugh, but she also worked your other emotions and made you think.

The show consisted of six great characters: Act I - Fontaine the Junkie, The Surfer Chick, and The Disabled Girl. Act II - The Raisin Lover, The Old Entertainer, and The Little Girl with the Shirt on her Head. The show ran just about two hours. No costume or makeup changes were used... just Whoopi's own face, body... and TALENT.

When her name went up on the marquee, neither the public nor the theatre staff, had any idea who this person was. After watching one performance, we were fans. Before her second performance, Whoopi got a nice note from one of the ushers. After the show, when the audience left, she looked into the house, figured out which usher it was, walked to the edge of the stage, and called out to him. She held out her hand, but gave more than a handshake. She pulled him onstage and said "come meet Mike," then introduced him to her producer/director, Mike Nichols. A few weeks later the same usher sent a little gift from the show home to Whoopi's mom. Before the house opened for next show, he was summoned by the star to the stage for "a message from my mother" which turned out to be a warm hug.

The entire production staff was three people: A Stage Manager, A Spotlight Guy, and an Unknown Star. So who was this down-to-earth talent going to hang with? Seven ushers. After meeting her, we were all in her corner, and she, in ours.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Edited original 1985 concert November 23, 2005
I started to watch the 1985 concert, and I noticed that they edited a lot of Whoopi's dialogue when she is doing Fontaine. I remember a lot more content than what they are showing on this dvd. I am thinking of writing to HBO and ask why this was done.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Whoopi... October 17, 2005
Verified Purchase
You'll love this double DVD. The first DVD includes her complete 20th Anniversary Broadway show, with segments not seen in her HBO special. The second DVD is the complete 1985 Direct from Broadway show. There are also three short extra features -- a few bloopers, Whoopi on Whoopi and an interview with Whoopi while she's on the toilet in the theater's back stage ladies' room. These shows also contain a lot of "strong" language, so if that offends you, you probably aren't a fan of Whoopi's anyway.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as Expected October 26, 2010
I was very glad to see this 20th Anniversary DVD collection mainly because of her original HBO special was included. However, it was the edited version and not the one that actually aired on HBO. I would think if they were going to release this special DVD package it would include the original HBO special unedited.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Broadway Performance January 9, 2007
It's wonderful to see both shows, the 1985 show and the 2005 show. I read the review from one of the workers from the 1985 show and it explains a lot. Whoopi looks more uncomfortable and not as relaxed as a performer should be while giving a show. I would have been shocked if that is how the original show played out. HBO tampered with it too much and the star wasn't able to intervene.

The 20th Anniversary performance is another story. Whoopi is clearly in control and is confident in her performance. She is outstanding and the jokes and skits are very touching and funny. I'm glad Whoopi was able to come back to HBO and correct a wrong. I'm sorry that the entire performance isn't available to us from 1985.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding February 21, 2007
Stand up comedians are funny people - it's their job, and they do it for a living so we expect it. If they can make you laugh and inject some material you haven't heard or seen before, they are a great comedian. If they can raise a laugh, give you something you haven't heard or seen, and give you something to think about without "bringing you down" they are a legend, and then if they can do all this and somehow manage to take you through the entire spectrum of emotions to the very edge of welling up and crying with tears of both laughter and sadness, then they're whoopi goldberg..

I've watched a lot of standup in my lifetime.. Ellen DeGeneres is masterfully goofy and observationally so sharp, Robin Williams is hysterical and so rapid fire you can find your sides aching, peter kay does humour as only a northerner can, but only Whoopi to my knowledge has ever managed to bring out the range of human emotions in a medium such as this. Life is all about human interaction and provoking a response, and this DVD does it in spades.

The original show amply displays that the young Whoopi was a VERY competent and original performer at the time. The difference with the 20 years later show (which personally i preferred) is that the Whoopi of 2005 is eminently more confident in her roles, and uses the characters as a frame for the ideas and the statements rather than simply acting a role. I found this better as the comedy really shone through in the 2005 show. The opening (Fonataine) was so tightly scripted and funny i found myself regularly laughing all the way through (particularly the Leviticus and gay marriage section which had me weeping, Condaleeza's airforce one smile, and Whoopi's opinions on the Bush administrations efforts to find Osama!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
So funny, great buy
Published 8 days ago by E. Frazier
4.0 out of 5 stars It was good to get some of Whoopi Goldberg's one person shows
It was good to get some of Whoopi Goldberg's one person shows. Back to Broadway was fun but even better was the extra of extracts from early shows. Read more
Published 10 days ago by John A. Araneta
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 18 days ago by Florine moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this the first time I saw it on tv ...
Loved this the first time I saw it on tv many years ago. Love it again. Whoopi is the best.
Published 28 days ago by Glite
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Glad I got this one that was produced by Mike Nichols; tighter than the original, but entertaining as expected!
Published 1 month ago by Cornelia N. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
See a comic genius early in her career on Broadway.
Published 1 month ago by Randy Young
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Whoopie and you've never seen this stand-up routine
If you like Whoopie and you've never seen this stand-up routine, you're in for a really great treat; especially if you're a woman over age 35. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Diane C Spitz
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Whoopie's stand up
Ive been looking for this DVD for years, I love Whoopie's stand up. It was better than I remembered!
Published 2 months ago by H Y B G
5.0 out of 5 stars Have your tissue handy. Side splitting tears of laughter.
Whoopi is the best at making you laugh and think at the same time. To watch her development as a comic has been an amazing journey.
Published 2 months ago by Carmen H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Whoopi: Back to Broadway - The 20th Anniversary
I truthfully have not watched this as yet... but I am sure that I will love it as I do everything Whoopi has done ! ! !
Published 3 months ago by Anthonette Houston
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