"UP IN THE CHEAP SEATS"

Theatre yesterday and today

 

 

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A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN

Eugene O’Neill, the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize for literature, is still a Broadway staple sixty-five years after his death, with many of his plays coming back time and again. Last season brought a successful revival of The Iceman Cometh, starring Denzel Washington, that was the play's fourth Broadway revival since the failure of its first 1946 production. And today marks the 45th anniversary of an important O'Neill milestone: that of A Moon for the Misbegotten. 1973 marked its first Broadway revival, and since its rediscovery during that cold winter week just before New Year's, it has returned three more times, tying with Iceman's total of four revivals, although still o

"THE WORST MUSICAL I'VE SEEN UP TO DATE"

Forty-nine ago today (seriously, how could that be?), I headed home to Great Neck on the 5:00 train, having just seen a matinee for what was my 42nd Broadway show. When I got to my house, I headed straight for my bedroom, sat down at my desk and wrote my review, as was my standard routine by that time. I was twelve years old. Since March of that year, I had begun my weekly trips into Manhattan to see a Broadway show. I would eventually file 200 of these during this period from 1969 to 1973, which I cover in my book Up in the Cheap Seats: A Historical Memoir of Broadway. It was an extraordinary time—and as it will forever bear repeating—could be had at an affordable price. The show was Jimmy

BACK TO BEFORE: "THE MUSIC MAN"

It's December 19th again, which means I can't let the day go by without acknowledging that 61 years ago, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre (okay, I wrote about it on its 59th and 60th anniversaries as well, so sue me!). Though by no means the greatest musical ever written, it does count as my all-time favorite. How so? Let me count the ways. I readily admit that its charms may not be universal. There are many who think it’s cornball and a bit silly (which it is). But it’s also deep and true, which is why it has endured for so long as such a popular title in schools and regional theatre. Willson based it on the people he knew from his home town of Mas

PRINCE PHILIP

When a man dies, people often say that in life he was "a prince." Perhaps it stems from one of the final lines of Shakespeare's Hamlet, when his friend Horatio eulogizes him by saying, "Good night, sweet prince." Of course Hamlet really was a prince ... but I would offer that even though he was hardly one by birth (his father was a carnival worker from New Jersey), Philip Bosco was a prince. Not only a princely man, but a prince of a theatre. Philip Bosco (in an undated photo), which is the way I'll always remember him. When I first began attending the theatre on a steady basis as a twelve-year-old, Philip Bosco was already a well-established actor in regional and New York Theatre. When I s

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© 2016 Ron Fassler - All rights Reserved

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