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Mr. Broadway: The Inside Story of the Shuberts, the Shows, and the Stars Hardcover – March 1, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In this posthumously published memoir, Schoenfeld -- the long-standing chairman of the Shubert Organization, who had a hand in producing some of Broadway's biggest shows (e.g., 'Les Miserables', 'Cats,' and 'The Phantom of the Opera') -- reflects in conversational vignettes on his successes and failures. He discusses his progression from lawyer for the temperamental Shubert family -- one of the biggest names in Broadway history -- to chairman of the organization. While Schoenfeld does not hold back with regard to the backstabbing, volatile bosses, and difficult actors he encountered, he also reveals the great joy he garnered from his more than 50 years in the theater world. The book includes a foreword by Hugh Jackman and an introduction by Alec Baldwin; both actors knew Schoenfeld personally. --Library Journal

This posthumous memoir by Mr. Schoenfeld, who led the Shubert Organization for more than 35 years, gives readers a front-row (and backstage) view of the Shubert brothers zany reign over Broadway during the first half of the 20th century, as well as a detailed account of the business's subsequent reorganization and Mr. Schoenfeld's own experience with hits (including 'A Chorus Line' and 'Cats') and occasional misses. . . . He settles some scores. He unabashedly takes credit where it is due. He delivers a primer on how Broadway works. --New York Times

More than any other single individual, Schoenfeld turned the Great White Way into a business and a brand that extends across the world. . . . In the 1970s, when Broadway could easily have gone bust for good, Schoenfeld helped bring about 'A Chorus Line' (which ran for 15 years) and then 'Cats,' whose apt slogan was 'now and forever.' The tourists came back, Midtown got cleared up (mostly at Schoenfeld's behest) and Broadway was, for the first time in years, awash with cash. It never has looked back. --Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Gerald Schoenfeld, chairman of the Shubert Organization for more than 35 years, was one of the most influential people in commercial theater. He is credited with being a catalyst for the revival of Broadway and the theater district/Times Square in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Applause; First Edition edition (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557838275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557838278
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By John Esche on May 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the last quarter of the 20th century, after they had forced the last of the actual Shubert family out of control of their famous family theatrical corporation, Gerald Schoenfeld and Bernard B. Jacobs (who Schoenfeld outlived) WERE The Shubert organization - the most successful theatre owners & producers ever. If one of them turned out an honest memoir it would be an almost certain "must-have" for any serious student of the American theatre. Imagine all the inside stories of the intrigue and the artistic glory. The artists nurtured and the shows ushered in! There was plenty of material there for a fascinating tale without self justification or aggrandizement.

For Mr. Schoenfeld to name two of the Organizations best playhouses after his partner and himself while they were still alive (to hear him tell it HE didn't do it it was an appreciated tribute from his underlings) raised eyebrows - to call his memoir "Mr. Broadway" merely seems hubris. Certainly the subtitle, "The Inside Story of the Shuberts, the Shows and the Stars" is much more promising and the first chapters examining Mr. Schoenfeld's fascinating youth and rise to a powerhouse position in a legal community which still blatantly discriminated against those of his faith is essential reading for all in the theatre or out. There's much there to be justly proud of right up to the self-deprecating story (pages 16 & 17) of his first major case for the Shuberts' main law firm (the famous 1950 Federal anti-trust case) for which he acknowledges he was spectacularly unprepared. "I could move forward in total ignorance, or I could admit that I did not know what I was doing. I chose the former." It's another four solidly interesting (bordering on horrifying) pages and two years before Schoenfeld admits that "In 1952...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a person wanting to write musicals for a living, I've tried to read as much about musicals from as many different perspectives as possible. Reading Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions and Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes gives the meticulous Sondheimian writer's perspective, whereas The Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide and Strike Up the Band: A New History of Musical Theatre give invaluable history and practical insights. Of course, if you write a musical and expect to have it produced, it will have to have a producer and be booked into a theater. Enter Mr. Schoenfeld with fascinating (and terrifying) tales of the Shuberts, producing shows, and cleaning up Times Square so that shows could continue to be produced and make money there. His thoughts on stars, writers (including Sondheim), directors, city councilmen and lawyers, etc. are very interesting. What a unique man that I knew nothing about until reading this. Enjoyable and necessary!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this book immensely, it was a true inside look at the trials and tribulations of a Broadway Insider. Schoenfeld was unafraid to divulge the sometimes less than iconic realities of the Broadway stage and it's stars. For anyone who loves theater this is a must read!
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