Ron Fassler is an author, actor, playwright, director, critic and theatre historian of forty years in New York and Los Angeles. Now with his first book, Up in the Cheap Seats, he writes of his Broadway theatregoing experiences as a teenager—back when it was possible to see the biggest hits of the day for as little as $2. From the last row of the balcony, Ron saw the original productions of Cabaret, Company, The Great White Hope, 1776, Pippin and dozens and dozens more: two hundred Broadway shows in just a four year span.
Not content to write just a memory piece, Ron expands the book's scope by bringing things up-to-date by way of fresh conversations with the leading players of that era. One-on-one interviews with such legends as Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Sheldon Harnick, James Earl Jones, as well as many others, all eager to share their stories of a Broadway of nearly fifty years ago, adding perspective to a Broadway that will never be again.
Back in the late sixties and early seventies the theatre was still available to just about everyone, even a twelve-year-old with a dedicated passion and a $10 a week budget, earnings from a newspaper route. From Ron's home in Great Neck, Long Island it was only a short train ride into the vast playground of Manhattan and a Times Square that was dirty, dingy and dimly lit... nothing like the brazen, bright lights of today. It was dangerous and scary, but in retrospect, oddly added to the adventure (in spite of an occasional mugging).
This being the time when sixty or more Broadway productions opened every season, Ron's eyewitness account to this bygone era covers everything from the original Follies the afternoon prior to its opening to attending the 2,845th performance of Fiddler on the Roof the night it became the longest running musical in Broadway history. Smashes, flops, near-misses and heartbreakers are all brought back to life in loving detail along with the added bonus of Ron's youthful encounters backstage with the likes of Henry Fonda, Julie Harris, Nicol Williamson, Maureen Stapleton, Al Pacino and Geraldine Page.
As a seasoned veteran of theatre, film and television, Ron Fassler's highly personal take and observations speak to a life's devotion to the creative arts. And his one true and everlasting love: the Broadway theatre.