Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway

Avid Reader: S. & S. Nov. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781501166631. $28. THEATER
Theater columnist for the New York Post for more than 20 years, as well as current cohost of Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning on 710 WOR in New York City, Riedel is among the cognoscenti for all things Broadway-related. In Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway, he trenchantly depicted the transformation of Times Square from grind house sleaze and porn to a sanitized commercial Broadway juggernaut. This title focuses on Broadway during the 1990s with its myriad evolutionary developments, singular personalities, and musical hits and misses. Given his longtime standing as a New York theater doyen, Riedel has unique access to the vast cast of players he surveys, which yields an embarrassment of anecdotal riches. You know it’s going to be a fun and wild ride when the book begins with Sunset Boulevard and the internecine fight between Broadway diva Patti LuPone and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. From there, it’s a mad dash through Rent, revivals of Guys and Dolls and Chicago, Disney and the Lion King phenomenon, playwrights Edward Albee and David Hare, and...wait for it...Mel Brooks, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and The Producers.
VERDICT Readers of this breezy, fun, and informative work are the beneficiaries of the rarefied theatrical air of Broadway inhabited by Riedel. An obligatory purchase for all theater collections.
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