On Broadway: Art and Commerce on the Great White Way

By Steven Adler | Go to book overview

1
Reconciliation Ecology

Broadway is a very, very nice place to showcase the best of what's being done. But it's no longer a place where people are creating it anymore.

—Josh Ellis, former press agent

With shows running as long as they do, I don't think there's any real worry about Broadway not existing.

—Sheldon Harnick, lyricist and composer

When Broadway is dull, business is terrible.

—Martin Markinson, theatre owner

It's important that we make theatre seem accessible and seem nonelitist.

—Jed Bernstein, president, League of American Theatres and Producers

For more than a century, Broadway has been the marquee showplace of American theatrical production. It occupies a special corner in the American cultural landscape, emblematic throughout the world of the best of American theatre. As an entertainment mecca, Broadway has maintained a steady grip on the American imagination for years. Its larger-than-life stature has been secured by a seemingly endless parade of indelible iconography that reflects some crucial element of the cultural zeitgeist, from Ethel Merman's brassy renditions of Cole Porter in Anything Goes to Harvey Fierstein's exaggerated and exuberant drag performance in Hairspray, from the Cotton Blossom docking at the levee in Show Boat to the helicopter landing on the embassy roof in Miss Saigon, from Marlon Brando's signature cry of “Stella!” in A Streetcar Named Desire to Vanessa Redgrave's hallucinating matriarch in Long Day's Journey into Night. These images loom large because they so generously cater to our notion of theatrical abundance and because they display an endless flair for both substance and style. Broadway has always been the place where theatrical imagination and artistry powerfully collide with—and are often eclipsed by—the performance of extravagance.

Although much of the truly significant innovation in dramatic literature and theatrical production has occurred in other geographical arenas

-1-

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On Broadway: Art and Commerce on the Great White Way
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • 1 - Reconciliation Ecology 1
  • 2 - The Producers 30
  • 3 - Broadway, Inc 67
  • 4 - When Worlds Collide 102
  • 5 - The Money Song 137
  • 6 - Page to Stage 166
  • 7 - The Nature of the Beast 201
  • Notes 231
  • Bibliography 237
  • Index 243
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