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It Happened on Broadway: An Oral History of the Great White Way

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Home » Books » Arts & Photography » Performing Arts » Theater » History & Criticism

It Happened on Broadway

An Oral History of the Great White Way

By Myrna Katz Frommer, Harvey Frommer

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Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 30 April 2004
From the living memories of the people who created the magic of Broadway theater, "It Happened on Broadway "illustrates the history of Broadway, its triumphs and failures, its constant variety, and enduring glories.
First paperback edition
1998 hardcover, Harcourt Brace & Co.

About the Author

Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a husband-and-wife team specializing in oral history. The authors of such notable books as "It Happened in the Catskills," "It Happened in Brooklyn," "New York City Baseball," and "Growing Up Jewish in America," they live in Lyme, New Hampshire, and both teach at Dartmouth College in Hanover.


The Frommers, both professors at Dartmouth, specialize in oral histories; their other titles include It Happened in Brooklyn (LJ 11/1/93) and It Happened in the Catskills (Harcourt, 1991). Here they provide a fascinating look at Broadway from different perspectives, including interviews with actors, directors, producers, composers, lyricists, playwrights, stage managers, set designers, and critics. The authors have cast a wide net and drawn in voices from past and present. While some interviewees are noticeably missing (Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber, to name two), this book will be enjoyed by anyone who has ever been captivated by live theater, though the price may keep it off the shelves of smaller libraries.‘J. Sara Paulk, Coastal Plain Regional Lib., Tifton, GA

"An oral history of Broadway by the people who lived it, this volume encompasses the triumphs and glorious failures, fights and betrayals, dedication and drudgery." Ingram"

A chorus of more than 100 voices‘including stars, celebrities, producers, costume designers, critics, sons and daughters of Broadway greats‘lend this oral history of Broadway theater over the past 60 years the heady excitement of a blockbuster show. The editors, whose previous titles include It Happened in Brooklyn and It Happened in the Catskills, understand that what readers want are tales of magic and legend, but here they devote more attention to the drudgery and brute perseverance that go into every Broadway success. Following the lead of Jeff Kisseloff's oral history of television, The Box, the Frommers tell the history of the medium, rather than of individual shows and performances‘though there are plenty of those represented here, too. "The first time I ever set foot on-stage was in grammar school," begins Carol Channing, the book's first speaker. The remembrances that follow‘of Broadway debuts, of its richest era following WW II, of famous musicals and comedies, stars, hits and unexpected flops and a string of laments over what "Broadway no longer" is today‘move so seamlessly you often have to check back to see who's speaking. Charles Durning remembers the first laugh he got on stage. John Raitt describes almost not getting to replace the lead in Oklahoma! because he couldn't fit into Alfred Drake's costume. John Lahr says his comedian father "could get a laugh on a conjunction." Interspersed with stage and backstage photos, caricatures, playbills and posters, the hundreds of magical, informative, sometimes fallacious, never boring stories the Frommers have gathered demonstrate what it took to fill those seats. (Nov.)

EAN: 9780299197049
ISBN: 0299197042
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Dimensions: 23 x 20 x 2.1 centimetres (1.01 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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