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!DOWNLOAD EPUB ♜ The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway ♭ Limelight Author Goldman, A Staunch Homophobe, Analyzes Broadway From The Perspective Of The Audiences, Playwrights, Critics, Producers And Actors A Loose Limbed, Gossipy, Insider, Savvy, Nuts And Bolts Report On The Annual Search For The Winning Numbers That Is Now Big Time American Commercial Theatre Christopher Lehmann Haupt, The New York Times
An insightful look at the business and culture of the New York theatre scene Goldman spends a year following everything that goes into making Broadway what it is hits and flops, stagehands and producers, ticket sellers and stars While chronologically forty years out of date, the ideas and attitudes are disturbingly current, and some of Goldman s social opinions and observations, while tainted by the language of the time, are surprisingly progressive.Mechanically, the book is a master class in why good shows fail and bad shows succeed and again, considering how many decades ago it was written, the extent to which his conclusions apply to the modern theatre is shocking. Bailed on page 80 thanks to Goldman s bigoted preoccupation with homosexuals and hacky targeting of critics Have never gotten the BFD about this author but thought I might get some insights into the Broadway of the late sixties Got pedestrian prose, homophobia instead Hard pass and never again. Wading through William s Goldman s sad and hideous opinions on women and homosexuals for his rare insights on the business of Broadway was a chore I can t even recommend you should read it, really, given the sheer number of his worthless rants about woman who have the gall to be unfuckable and homosexuals who dare to exist Yet I admit there is value here, and a surprising amount of resonance with the state of the business today It is up to you, gentle friend, to judge how much bullshit you re willing to tolerate. A candid look at Broadway, indeed This is probably the best book on the machinations behind the scenes on Broadway ever written Funny, bitchy, gossipy and entertaining lots of inside stuff about how the world of Broadway really works or does not work, in many instances Chapters on critics, producers, gays in the theater, Jews in the theater, Steve and Eydie in the theater from Hamlet to Hello, Dolly , it s all here And the opening chapter on Judy Garland at the Palace is, in itself, worth the price of admission Mr Goldman takes an entire Broadway season, from the first show of the season to the last, and gives us the scoop on how and why each production got to the Great White Way And why Sandy Dennis must have her way As Frank Rich say in his introduction, it s a shame that Mr Goldman never again turned his journalistic talents to the theater.A wonderful book for those who love the theater, whether as participants or audience Informative and easy to read, you ll love it.Ralph There is a saying in theatre classes, an accepted truism, that the specific a choice the people can relate to it It seems counterintuitive, that specificity can speak to the larger group in ways that generality cannot, yet it is proven over and over again for example, Fun Home, the musical based on Alison Bechdel s graphic memoir, is as specific as it gets a lesbian s coming of age story, set partly in the family s funeral home, about her father s closeted life and how it led to his suicide When I music directed the show in 2017, I had the same reaction that I heard from many in the audience this reminds me of my life Alison s story speaks to anyone who has parents and struggled to connect to them as fallible humans In other words, it speaks to everyone.Which brings me to The Season, William Goldman most famous, perhaps, for The Princess Bride s non fiction account of the 1967 68 Broadway season In that year, he attended every single Broadway show, interviewed hundreds of theatre makers, and delved into the economics of Broadway One might think that this has a limited shelf life and a limited appeal, yet it speaks to larger issues that define the late 1960 s cultural moment and have ramifications to today.I first read this book about ten years ago it is an acknowledged classic within the small ish field of Broadway history I found it fascinating in how much it related to contemporary Broadway and how he accurately predicted several trends and moments that have happened since For example, Neil Simon s transformation from joke man to sensitive dramatic playwright in the 1980 s and in his final point in the book that for Broadway to remain viable it must fracture its audience, the shows must stop trying to appeal to everyone and be willing to target narrower audience demographics Yet on this reread I was most struck by the man himself His opinions, his critiques of various shows, his retelling of moments onstage and off all reiterated one thing over and over the white male perspective of entitlement and the utter dismissiveness of women, of every other race, and of homosexuality In other words, and not to mince them, the William Goldman that narrates The Season is misogynistic, racist, and homophobic Goldman died recently, and I don t know much about his personal life or his politics I do not believe he intended to be those things in 1968 when he was writing the book But over and over again he displays an obtuseness to these issues that, today, permeate so much of our national discussion It becomes obvious how we got here from there Inherent in the text is the assumption that the reader is not a woman, that he is Caucasian, and he is straight And in his very specific account of, say, the closing night of Judy Garland s Palace Theatre concerts, or his description of an altercation in the lobby of an off Broadway theatre, or his conversation with Tennessee Williams before the premiere of his latest play, I got the general, big picture, overall view of the period before gay rights and when a woman s place is in the home was regarded as fact In one of the jaw dropping in its cluelessness passages, Goldman wonders why African Americans he uses the word Negro don t see Broadway theatre, and then almost immediately notes that there were only two black actors in straight plays that season gee, I wonder why the African American theatre goer in 1968 didn t turn out in droves to see the performances of those TWO black actors Maybe they all got lost on the subway The Season is very much of its time And because it is, it is easy to see the world today, how far we have come, and how far we have yet to go I m not excusing the racial and sexual politics in the text, but I am fascinated by, and grateful for, the detailed specific insight into this moment of theatre history and American culture at large I wonder what a similar account written today would have to say about us fifty years from now. Goldman s account of the 1967 68 Broadway season is thorough, opinionated, often hilarious, and brutally honest He takes the reader through every aspect of the season and its productions, from directors, producers, and actors, to the nuts and bolts of ticket selling and theatre rentals His merciless criticism spares nobody, yet it isn t malicious or mean spirited I could feel his genuine love for Broadway and his outrage at the state it was in and the state many would say it s still in Though it s forty plus years later, much of what Goldman has to say here still resonates today I highly recommend this if you ve any interest in the subject at all. This is a long 400 pages plus set of essays about the 1967 68 Broadway season, covering everything from miscast actors to television critics to wonderful shows that go nowhere to the economics of New York theatre complete with a market research study Goldman commissioned Many of the essays are sparked by a specific production, and every essay is introduced with playbills of Broadway shows Reading it now reminds me of nothing so much as Harlan Ellison s The Glass Teat Like that volume, in which Ellison holds forth on late 1960 s television, you have a highly talented and perceptive writer discussing shows you have probably never heard of I only recognized Neil Simon s Plaza Suite and the musical Hair So, reading this fifty years later and without an encyclopedic knowledge of the theatrical arts, any joy I derived was due to either Goldman s writing or my general appreciation of musicals and straight dramas There s a lot to like Like his works on Hollywood e.g., the excellent Adventures in the Screen Trade , Goldman has a keen eye for the process of creation There s a wonderful chapter on the fourteen or so reasons a song can flop in a musical and numerous examples of how a casting choice can completely alter the direction of a show And I really valued Goldman s take as an audience member and investigative reporter there s never the feel of an insider s perspective, but the much relatable approach of a theatre fan who is trying to understand of the biz The chapters on theatre economics including ticket scalping, advance sales, and the crooked nature of producers get a bit dry, but still show a passion for a better product.It does get a bit long This is the earliest Goldman I have ever read, and his prose doesn t quite have the spareness that I value so much in his thrillers There s a far too verbose chapter on theatre critics that doesn t do much than ensure that you clearly and unambiguously understand how horrible Clive Barnes is My other concern not nearly as damning is just a bit of language Goldman carefully and I believe compassionately talks about gay culture on Broadway But he s limited to the word homosexual or occasionally, transvestite homosexual , and after a paragraph or two I was yearning for a wider vocabulary A definite read if you re a theatre fan I would rank it in the second tier of Goldman works which means it s still head and shoulders above most of what s out there. For me, THE book on the theater in New York and how it works Okay, Moss Hart s ACT ONE is great, too, and has been the spark to the match ofmany a theatrical life But this book well Goldman considers every show that opened on Broadway in the 67 68 season, anatomizes them inspecific detail and then takes a wider view in the way they function in the theatrical culture as a whole The book is funny, pitiless, honest, andclearly written by someone who loves the theatre deeply I think it s time for me to read this again. There is much that is good and much that is interesting in The Season, but way too much of the book is about things William Goldman hated That included certain actors especially females , producers, theater owners, critics and especially homosexuals The Season is about the 1967 1968 season on Broadway We get a lot of material about the influence of Jews, theater parties, stars, ticket sellers, homosexuals of course on the New York theater What we don t get is much information about the plays that were put on during that season Each chapter discusses one aspect of the Broadway theater and its influence on that season s plays For the most part, the only thing discussed about the plays is the one aspect that chapter is about For example, in the chapter Culture Hero, Goldman writes about how a few people in the theater become culture heroes, specifically the director Mike Nichols Broadway has not produced anyone comparable since Kazan almost ten years before We find out that a production of Lillian Hellman s The Little Foxes was way overrated despite what Goldman thinks was the poor direction of Mike Nichols which made this an execrable production Is The Little Foxes a good play Goldman calls it an excellent melodrama but other than that, the subject never gets discussed The cast included Margaret Leighton, E G Marshall, Geraldine Chaplin, Beah Richards, Austin Pendleton, Richard Dysart, and Felicia Montealegre That s a pretty good cast, so how was the acting Goldman never mentions it.There is a lot to enjoy in The Season, but I feel that the extreme attention to Goldman s crotchets overwhelms the rest of the book.