Book Review: Mr Broadway by Gerald Schoenfeld

Mr Broadway: The Inside Story of the Shuberts, The Shows and The Stars tells the story of Jerry Schoenfeld in his own words.  It was completed just one month before his death.

Jerry was the lawyer for the Shuberts, and after their passing he ended up helping to run their company.  He spear headed a movement in the 1970s to help clean up Times Square, which had been filled with whore houses, hookers and was not an area that they wanted theatergoers to be walking through. (Shows were even moved an hour earlier so that the patrons would get out of the shows at an earlier hour).

It is great to hear the story from one of the main players in the game, and not just from someone who had done research.  You get better recounts of conversations that went down, lawsuits, threatening to be fired every other day by JJ Shubert, etc.

The book includes a foreword by Hugh Jackman, who became rather close with Jerry.  It also includes an introduction from Alec Baldwin (which unfortunately was missing from my review copy) and an epilogue and prologue with thoughts from Jerry’s wife Pat.

Definitely one of the more interesting autobiographies I have read!  A must read for anyone who is interested in the music business, especially musical theater. A great look behind the scenes and “backstage.”

I received a free e-copy of this book through Net Galley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated or asked to write a positive review. All opinions are 100% mine.

About the Book

“The Broadway theatre as we now know it is largely the achievement of Jerry Schoenfeld.”

That was how current chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts – and, at the time, rival theater executive – Rocco Landesman, described the man who, with his partner Bernie Jacobs, led the Shubert Organization, the largest and most important theatre owner on Broadway.

Schoenfeld, who died in 2008 at the age of 84, recounts that achievement in Mr. Broadway: The Inside Story of the Shuberts, the Shows, and the Stars (Applause Books; April 17, 2012; $27.99), the memoir he completed just one month before his death.

Bringing the reader backstage, Schoenfeld shares his triumphs and failures, sings praise, and settles scores. He recounts nightmarish tales of the Shuberts – the meanness of Lee; the madness of J.J.; the turmoil surrounding John’s personal life, and the drunken ineptitude of Lawrence, Jr.; the man who succeeded them and nearly brought the Shubert legacy to an ignominious end.

Schoenfeld describes how he and Jacobs created the theatre as we know it today, bringing to the Broadway stage some of its greatest hits — from A Chorus LineEquus, and Amadeusto PippinLes MisérablesEvitaCatsThe Phantom of the OperaGodspellAin’t Misbehavin’DreamgirlsDancin’Sunday in the Park with GeorgeThe Life and Adventures of Nicholas NicklebyGlengarry Glen RossThe Heidi ChroniclesThe Gin GameMiss Saigon, and Chess.

Mr. Broadway: The Inside Story of the Shuberts, the Shows, and the Stars includes a foreword by Hugh Jackman, introduction by Alec Baldwin, and a prologue by Pat Schoefeld, Jerry’s wife of 58 years.

Category: Book Review
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