The Sunday Giveaway: A Signed Copy of The Untold Stories of Broadway!

Untold Stories of Broadway Jennifer Ashley TepperNo tickets this week . . . but something worth a heck of a lot more:  secret, insidery, never-been-heard-before backstage stories from some of the industry’s coolest people including Hal Prince, Susan Stroman, Jason Alexander and Patti LuPone.

Oh, and me too!

I’m talking about the brand new book from the new Broadway focused print house, Dress Circle Publishing, by (my former employee and the researcher for many of the blogs you’ve read right here on this site) Jennifer Ashley Tepper.

It’s called The Untold Stories of Broadway  . . . and, well, I don’t think there could have been a better title, because that’s what it’s about.  Unless, of course, it was called The Untold Stories of Broadway from Some of the Industry’s Coolest People including Hal Prince, Susan Stroman, Jason Alexander and Patti LuPone. Oh and Ken Davenport is in it too.

If you can’t wait, you can get the book here.

If you want to try and win a brand spankin’ hot off the press new copy, signed by the author herself, then here’s what you’ve got to do:

What’s your favorite Broadway story that no one knows?  The time you saw Goodbye Girl and Martin Short made Bernadette Peters laugh so hard that the entire audience broke up?  The time you saw the understudy go on in Sound of Music and realized the girl was going to be a star (it was Laura Benanti)?  Or the time there was a blackout in Manhattan and your show was canceled so you slept out on a roof with other company members?  (Yep, those are some of mine, P.S.)

It can be anything . . . comment below with your story and you’ll be entered to win.  And maybe Jen will put you in her next book!  God knows, I’ve got some of the coolest people in the web reading my blog.



(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • Aaron Deitsch says:

    I am not sure if this counts, but when

    • Aaron Deitsch says:

      Sorry about that! My computer decided I was done before I did…
      Like I said, I don’t know if this counts, but when I was 17, I went to see Next to Normal and I sat next to a complete stranger who wept throughout the entire performance. That was the first time I ever saw someone have such an emotional response to theater and that’s when I realized the power and importance of theater. That is my personal untold story.

  • Lauren says:

    I was doing standing room at Spamalot with some friends. We had just settled into our “slots” when someone laid an arm across my back. It wasn’t violent, but it was firm. I tried to turn around but couldn’t. “I need you to stay where you are for just a moment, ma’am,” I heard from behind me, just as I was realizing that there were dozens of men in dark suits planted all over the theater. The center aisle suddenly cleared and Condoleezza Rice strode through the Orchestra and settled into her eighth row aisle seats. Just as suddenly as the man behind me had appeared, he was gone. It was strange watching a show while strangers were watching you, but we got a kick out of the disconnect between the show’s humor and Sec. Rice’s public persona. At the stage door that night, the cast related their thoughts about her taking in their show. The most common refrain? “I don’t agree with her on anything, but I’m still insulted she didn’t come backstage!”

  • Michael B says:

    In 1973 (at 17 years old), while waiting outside the box office of the Mark Hellinger Theater hoping to snag a cancellation ticket for the original Broadway production of “Jesus Christ Superstar, I struck up a conversation with an elderly woman ahead of me in the line. As it turns out, the final two cancellations were to be ours. Being naive, I had no idea that those last-minute cancellations were usually house seats going unused – and were always the top-priced ticket. Disappointed that I hadn’t brought enough cash with me, I thanked the man in the box office and started to leave. As I stepped away from the line, the woman says “Oh no, young man!” (we hadn’t even formally introduced ourselves) “You came all the way from New Jersey by yourself. You’re going to see this show!” And she purchased the last of the two available tickets and handed it to me – refusing to take the money that I DID bring with me. It was the first time that evening that an initial disappointment wound up with a satisfying conclusion. Just before the houselights dimmed and the show began, an announcement was made that an understudy would be going on in the role of Jesus. As it turns out, the understudy gave a performance that was not to be believed! The understudy’s name was Ted Neeley, and I had big time bragging rights when the show made it to the big screen!…

  • Evan schild says:

    One time when i saw rent off broadway at new world stages a bunch of understudies where on so they didnt have enough girl swings so a guy went on for the part of alexi darling but switched it to alex darling

  • Karen Campbell says:

    At the first preview of “All My Sons” I watched the zaniness of Scientology protesters and Cruise/Holmes/Suri spotters outside the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre until five minutes before curtain. When I entered and paused at the back of the orchestra to take in the set and breathe in the theater I was bumped from behind. I turned to see it was Tom Cruise that had bumped me and he smiled as he brushed by on the way to his seat. As I made my way down the aisle to my seat near the front I saw Dustin Hoffman and Tom run toward each other and embrace in the opposite aisle. Cameras flashed and people cheered and stood in the mezzanine to get a better glimpse of the “Rainman” moment.

  • skip koenig says:

    I was friends with Anna Sosenko who produced Merman and Mary Martin in TOGETHER ON BROADWAY and Merman at Carnegie Hall. Anna had been friends with George Gershwin and the two rode together in Gershwin’s car to the Philadelphia tryout of GIRL CRAZY. Anna positively knew that Gershwin told Merman to never take a singing lesson IN PHILADELPHIA [not New York] and that this show would “make her.” THAT GAVE MERMAN extra confidence to go “out there” at the Alvin on October 14, 1930.

  • Matt says:

    In New York with my girlfriend, we decided to split up our shows for the evening. She went to see The Homecoming (major Raul Esparza fan) and I went to see Xanadu.

    My show was pretty short so I began heading from the Helen Hays to the Cort to meet Stephanie after her snow got out and on my journey walked past the St.James. The street was all but empty and silent (strange, even for a Sunday) and as I walked past the stage door to the St.James I heard the orchestra kick in for Rose’s Turn. I wasn’t even sure it was the orchestra T first…then I heard Patti. I looked up, realized where I was, and realized that from just outside the stage door I could almost perfectly near Patti Lupone sing Rose’s Turn from the street.

    I sat on the sidewalk and pressed my face against the metal door (gross, I know) and listened to the whole number and almost cried.

    It was the best broadway performance I never saw.

  • Andrew says:

    May 18, 2008. It was a Sunday night and the final Spring Awakening performance for both Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff. I don’t think anyone, not the company nor the groupie-filled audience, knew what they were in for. That evening the Eugene O’Neill Theatre transformed from a physical stage into an intangible, legendary rock experience. It felt like time stopped and all there was, was the show.

    The moment that will stick with me forever was when the titular number “Totally Fucked” came to a roaring end. The blinding lights at the end of that song illuminated the entire theatre. We could see every seat in the house and, more importantly, we knew the performers could see us. It was a shared emotional connection unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in the theatre. The audience, in one swooping motion were brought to their feet for the loudest (and longest… I think it clocked in at almost 3 minutes) standing ovation I’ve witnessed. The energy was deafening. Ten seconds into the ovation Lea Michele began weeping uncontrollably. Better yet, for the entire duration of the applause, she was forced to stand with her middle finger pointed defiantly up in the air. Jonathan Groff, hanging off the back wall, followed suit. The more they cried, the more the audience cheered. I’ll never forget Lea Michele balling while simultaneously cursing off every person in the audience.

    That moment brought a tacit understanding that explained the importance of Spring Awakening, the family it created, and the journey endured to get it to where it was. It was something overwhelmingly magical and unexplainable. But, that’s the funny thing with theatre—everyone has that one indescribable moment of falling in love. That night just so happened to carry the same moment for 1,102 of us.

  • Sarah P. says:

    My fave one was probably the time I saw Holland Taylor’s one-woman show ‘Ann’, which takes place primarily during the Clinton years, because guess who happened to be in the audience? Bill & Hillary, a row behind me and one section over! And there happened to be a scene in which “Ann” has a lengthy phone call with an unseen, unheard Bill Clinton at the other end…and everyone in the audience, who by this point knew the Clintons were there and where they were sitting, all turned to watch Bill’s reactions. He laughed and blushed a lot, especially when she onstage related a dirty joke “Bill” had told her. 🙂

  • Cara says:

    I don’t know that I necessarily have an untold broadway story, but my favorite story is of the first time I saw Newsies. It’s was the very first preview at PaperMill Playhouse. The first time the show had EVER played to a paying audience. The energy in the theatre was beyond anything I had ever felt. I went on to see the actual opening night at Papermill as well as the first broadway preview. I will never forget those boys faces as thy received a standing ovation just minutes into most of their broadway debuts. Their pride yet humility at what they were experiencing was overwhelming. I felt as though it was MY broadway debut. I was moved to tears. I have never connected to a show or a cast like this and that’s why Newsies means so much to me.

  • Katie Marie says:

    For my 16th birthday, I convinced my parents to get me and two friends tickets to Spring Awakening, not knowing anything about the plot. We sat in the second row and I was mortified watching certain parts of the show while sitting next to my parents. When we went to see Godspell a few years later for my 19th birthday, my mom still remembered Hunter Parrish as the naked guy.

  • James V. says:

    I was 16 and doing a TV show during the day and a community theatre production of West Side Story at night. I mentioned that in passing and someone said I should tell Rich, the camera guy that. I happened to be sitting near him at lunch and mentioned it. He asked who I was playing (Chino..a very white bread community) and he mentioned that he had done WSS. I asked which role he played. He said “Tony.” I asked him where he did that and he said “Ummm… I did the movie with Natalie Wood.” I don’t know which of us was more mortified…

  • Sarah Clausen says:

    I moved to NYC in Jan. 2004 so the very first Broadway show I ever saw was that spring: Rent. A relatively unknown Kendra Kassebaum happened to play Maureen that evening (she was the understudy) and I have been a fan ever since, through her turn has Glinda in Wicked through Leap of Faith. Looking forward to her eventual Broadway return.

  • Alex Bishop says:

    Oh just that time I saw Kinky Boots and Billy’s assembly line machine wasn’t moving while he was dancing on it and he had to just keep going!

  • I had seen the revival of A Chorus Line on Broadway and cried my way through the entire final number. I was so overwhelmed, A Chorus Line the film was what made me want to move to New York to be an actress. After the show, I was desperate to express my gratitude and congratulations to Charlotte D’Amboise (who played Cassie). She finally got to me in the line at stage door and I held out the playbill ready to have it signed and tell her how inspirational the show was and what it meant to me, but I was so overcome I couldn’t speak! I spluttered out something that made absolutely no sense and she looked at me as though I was crazy.

  • Ray Quirolgico says:

    Remember the great Snowpocalypse of 2011? I was stranded on the lovely island of Manhattan with no way of getting back to my mother’s house in Queens for post-Christmas family time for about three days. I should have stayed there before the snow hit but I couldn’t give up my show date: “Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown.” That’s right. I was one of the previous few who were totally committed to Patti LuPone, Sherie Rene Scott, Laura Benanti, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Danny Burstein, et al. As soon as the show ended, visibility outside the theater was a windy 10 feet or less but I couldn’t care: Broadway makes everything worth living!

  • Gabbi Hanes says:

    I went to see a production of Flahooley in New York and Liza Minelli was there. The show was awful but any production of Flahooley is awful. The only reason my friend and I stuck around was to try and meet Liza but as soon as the lights came up for intermission she was gone.

    I also saw Jeremy Jordan when he went on as the understudy for Tony in West Side Story and Drew in Rock of Ages.

    Two more star sightings. When I went to see Jane Lynch in Annie, I was a couple seats a way from a large part if the Glee cast and when I went to see Holland Taylor in Ann, Meryl Streep and Hilary + Bill Clinton were sitting right in front of me!

  • Ron Cervi says:

    I think it was my first Broadway play…back in 1996. I was excited to see two greats on stage, George C. Scott and Charles Durning taking each other on in the classic “Inhert the Wind”.

    We were very near intermission when Mr. Scott turned to the audience and Said, “I’m very sorry ladies and gentlemen, but I’m not feeling too well and I won’t be able to continue.”

    At that, he grabbed a handrail on the set and slowly walked off the stage while his fellow actors rushed to his side.

    The lights went dim and the curtain closed. But moments later, Tony Randall walked on the stage into a spotlight and announced that the show would go on and he, Tony Randall, would perform Mr. Scott’s role.

    To see the professionalism as everyone reassembled and for the audience to actually be brought back into the story was part of the magic of Broadway. The show must go on and it did.

    Mr. Scott was able to resume his role the next week after announcing a case of exhaustion.

  • Rick Reynolds says:

    I was attending a matinee performance of “The Glass Menagerie” starring Jessica Tandy in the 1980’s. At intermission there was a stir in the orchestra section and who should emerge out of a crowd of people but Katharine Hepburn. She graciously accepted the adoration but admonished us to sit and get ready for the second half of the show. After the curtain calls, she and Miss Tandy sat at the edge of the stage, feet dangling, and took questions from a group of acting students. Sheer theatre magic!

  • Cash says:

    When I saw the 1983 revival of “Show Boat,” Act II included a very short, perhaps truncated book scene on the show boat with Donald O’Connor (Cap’n Andy). The mishap was confirmed when Mr. O’Connor’s microphone was slow to be turned off on his exit, so the entire audience heard him express his displeasure from backstage–in words that I will not repeat here.

  • Becca S says:

    I once saw three men play Berger in Hair over the course of two nights! This was in June of 2009. Will Swenson was scheduled to take Thursday off because it was opening night of Twelfth Night in the Park starring Audra. I went to see the show Wednesday, and during the song “HAIR” we saw him take a rather rough tumble…being the great performer he is he powered through the rest of the act, visibly in pain all the while. At intermission, he was helped onstage by the stage manager, and together over god mic they announced that Ryan Link would be playing Berger for the rest of the show. The next night, Steel Burkhart went on as Berger for the first time. Anything can happen, I suppose!

  • Becca S says:

    One more just for nostalgia…Lin-Manuel Miranda has his own nickname for me. It’s “arts and crafts.” It came from the fact that when I was in high school, I loved to make custom tshirts with an old Hanes and my sharpies, so I took to making In The Heights themed ones. Anything from “In The Heights for best musical 2008!” To “In The Heights won 4 Tonys? ¡No me diga!” To a full recreation of the cast recording cover after it won the Grammy (“what up? Buy this album!”). As a thank you gift to Lin for inspiring me, on closing night I gave him a book of my templates and sketches. It made the experience of the show so much more memorable for me!

  • Eb says:

    The Little Dog Laughed was in previews. We had tickets for the Sunday Matinee. A 2 p.m. Performance. At 2 the curtain did not rise, the audience patiently waited. At 2:10 ish, the director came out and explained that the lead (Julie White) was not there yet. They could not reach her, but since most Sunday shows are at 3, perhaps she had her time wrong. He let the audience vote 1. Wait until 3 and do the show
    2. Go on with the show with the US. The audience voted to wait until 3. We all left the theater ( there was a street fair outside). As we are pouring out if the theater, there is Julie walking up to the stage door…asking “what’s going on ”

    We all enjoyed the two o ‘clock show at three o’clock!

  • Jeryl M. says:

    My grandmother, my brother and sister and I went to see a performance of the musical I Remember Mama. It happened to be Richard Rodgers birthday and he was there. After curtain calls, Liv Ullman brought him out on the stage and the whole audience sang Happy Birthday to him. Not long after that he died.

  • Barbara Silverberg says:

    In the middle of The Heiress, Jessica Chastain’s dog ran onstage looking for her. Without missing a beat, Ms. Chastain scooped up the dog, deposited him off stage, and continued her lines. At curtain call she held her dog and waved its paw at the audience. Priceless.

  • Brian says:

    I saw the Mary Tyler Moore version of Whose Life Is It Anyway? in previews. After the show as I was walking through the lobby I told my friend “I wonder if Tom Conti has seen this version.” There was a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see Tom Conti who said to me “Yes I just saw it.” He was extremely nice, signed my Playbill and praised MTM’s performance.

  • Liz Wollman says:

    Years ago, there was this absolutely horrible flop called “shimada,” and Estelle Parsons was in it. She had a monologue, and on the night I saw the show, a wad of gum she was chewing (because clearly she had given up caring at all about the play) shot out of her mouth and across the stage. Without missing a beat (or a line), she walked over, picked it up, and popped it right back into her mouth. This was hands down the best moment of “Shimada”.

  • Bruce says:

    Tuesday evening, June 27, 1989, I went to see Lend Me A Tenor at the Royale Theatre. My ticket was BB 110. There is a scene when Saunders, played by Philip Bosco, picks up a grape from a bowl of fruit thinking it’s real. He realizes that he has just bitten a plastic grape and spits it into the audience. Guess who caught the grape that night? ME!!! I had it for years, but don’t know where it is now.

  • Karen Campbell says:

    Fun contest! I’m having so much fun reading all these great stories – Jennifer Ashley Tepper should collect these for another book called The Untold Stories of Broadway Audiences .. and I’ll even put in a bid to co-author 😉

    Another of my favorite experiences happened at the first Rockers on Broadway held at BB Kings. Friends came in from out of town to see Patrick Wilson perform that night. In hoping to score great seats we got there early and froze for over a hour until the doors opened. As we were seated at a long table we found out that Patrick had been unable to fly back that day from a movie he was filming in Vancouver but we knew that we’d enjoy the show anyway. Tables were tightly arranged and my chair back was pressed against another chair back at the next table. When I heard a familiar voice I turned to find Liza Minnelli in that chair! We did score great seats! At one point in the show the audience was encouraged to sing along. Needless to say, I didn’t.

  • John Waymire says:

    In 1998 I went to New York with my best friend Emily. She was a big fan of the book of The Scarlet Pimpernel. We had bought tickets for the musical. After driving across country from Indiana on our first trip outside of the state without our parents, we were stoked to see the show. We entered The Minsoff and were amazed by the theatre. After an excellent first act and a casual intermission we settled down for the second act. Douglas Sills and company began the second act and a few minutes in a late arriving couple in one of the first rows gained the attention of Doug. (We were in the fifth row). Douglas stopped the number to welcome the couple back. He then turned to his nemisis in the show, Terrance Mann, and said “friends of yours?” The audience and in fact the rest of the cast lost their shit. It took a few moments for the cast and audience to calm down to continue the number. It was a great moment of improv and spur of the moment entertainment that we will never forget!

  • San D says:

    True story: I went to the Tony Awards the year that Avenue Q was in the running for best musical. I brought a puppet the size of the puppets in the show. He was wearing a tux and his obligatory red ribbon on the lapel. I brought him into the lobby and did my thing with him mingling with the crowd. Most there that I was part of the show. We went up the stairs and hung over the railing (in Radio City) and waved to the crowd. Of course we sat upstairs and along with the rest of the “public” crowd were very rowdy and happy when Avenue Q won for best musical.

  • gjc says:

    I don’t know if this qualifies but I was at the show GOD OF CARNAGE which had a pretty stellar cast, with names like James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, etc. etc., and I was hoping going in to not only see them on stage but maybe some other stars IN THE AUDIENCE.

    Well, the night did not disappoint as Halle Berry (with her then boyfriend) landed about 7 rows from the stage in the left hand section.

    Then to my amazement I spotted Michelle Pfeiffer headed to the same 7th row, but in the right-center section. She was with her equally famous producer-hubby David E. Kelley (“Ally McBeal”).

    That’s right, the house seat booker had made the ultimate “faux pas” putting CatWoman (2004/HB) across the aisle from Batman Return’s own Catwoman (1992/MP).

    I could barely watch the show expecting (hoping for) a SuperHero-sized CatWoman fight right in the audience, but (sadly) the 2 Diva’s played it like ladies and disappeared into the night … separately! … if they locked eyes before, during, or after I missed it. Pity.

    [P.S. If by some miracle of God I win the book, could I get Ken’s autograph, too??]

  • Gamat Gold says:

    Great contest. Good luck everyone..

  • Scott says:

    Way back when, I took a group of students to see, “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”, and met this amazing young actress by the name of Kristin Chenoweth. She was funny, encouraging, and full of life! All my students wanted me to ask her out on a date. But I was shy and settled for a photo with her. And would’nt you know it, she goes and wins the Tony that year. Now fast forward to Promises, Promises. I am in my mid 40’s, just like Kristin, single, and was in New York with another great group of students. This group, all guys, decided to stand across the street from the theatre and wait for Kristin to come out. She had crowds of people waiting to see her. When she came out, my students yelled, “Kristen, we love you!” She turned and shouted, “and I love you”. Then after a moment she made her way over across the street and talked with us for a little while. The boys wanted me to ask her out again, but of course I froze. So…they told her she needs to go out with me. She smiled and winked and again, a picture with Kristen. Now here I am, back in Dallas, with 2 photos of Kristin and realizing what a fool I was not to ask her out. I guess the lesson to learn is, when your students tell you to jump off the bridge…jump! Just kidding. Maybe our paths will cross again some day. You never know. So, thanks Kristin for giving me some fun memories with my students at your expense.

  • Back in the day, when I was a young girl, I loved Shaun Cassidy and Tiger Beat Magazine — particularly because you could learn all about the one you loved with the passion that only a young girl can.

    Years passed and Shaun Cassidy and Tiger Beat were cute memories of my childhood. Of course, considering I have a photographic memory — there was no doubt that one day, if my 14-year-old’s file on all things Cassidy would come back to haunt me . . . or haunt Shaun Cassidy, apparently!

    In 1993, a friend gifted me with tickets to Broadway’s “Blood Brothers” — starring, of course, Petula Clark, David and Shaun Cassidy. It would be the first, and at this point, the only time I would see Shaun in person.

    After the absolutely wonderful show — particularly the three stars — I decided to stage door and see if I could get autographs. A crowd of middle-aged woman, big David Cassidy fans, from years past had gathered. And sure enough, when David exited first, there was a run to get his autograph and squeal — sounding like love-sick teens — more than middle aged mother’s! David was great and signed as many autographs as he could; I even managed to get one, still, I really wanted to see Shaun (for old times sake) and Petula Clark (I often use “Finian’s Rainbow” at my auditions, then).

    Many of the middle-aged women left when David got a cab and was gone. Thus, there was only 1/2 of the crowd when Shaun came out. Shaun didn’t really speak,seemed shy, and signed autographs.

    A woman, in the crowd, near me, yells out, “Hey, Shaun, when is your birthday?”

    I blurt out, “September 27, 1958!”

    She continues, “Where and what time where you born?”

    And once again, Shaun was silent, and my memory flooded back, “Los Angeles, California at 4:00 pm!”

    Then, as the crowd looks at me, she asks another question, “What’s your favorite song?”

    I could still see the page in Tiger Beat (in my head, that is) and yelled out, “It was ‘Born To Be Wild’ in 1975!”

    Shaun stopped signing an autograph, pointed at me, and said, “You’re scaring me!” And then, laughed, as in, he was joking . . . sort of.

    I said, “Sorry, Shaun, it’s scaring me, too. I have this photographic memory and I thought I forgot all that!”

    He nodded his head, sarcastically, “Yeah, right!”

    Then, he jumped in a waiting cab and I’m still not sure if he believed me or not!

    Everyone was gone when Petula Clark came out, except me, and I introduced myself, telling her about how much I loved ‘How Are Things In Glocca Morra’. Ms. Clark asked my name, took my arm and asked me to walk with her.

    A homeless woman approached, and greeted us.

    “Hello! Hello Ms. Clark, how was the show tonight?”

    Petula handed “Mary” the money she had in her purse (quite a bit), and said, “Angela, this is my friend, Mary.”

    Then, as if it was custom, Mary took her other arm and the three of us walked to the corner (Broadway/47th Street) with Petula, and Petula and I sang a bit of the chorus of ‘How Are Things In Glocca Morra’.

    A great night, all in all, except for scaring poor Shaun!

  • Amanda says:

    I was (am) a huge fan of BILLY ELLIOT. Quite a while into their run, the boy playing the ensemble part of Tall Boy was going to get to go on for Michael, Billy’s best friend, before leaving the company to go do the national tour. Well, the poor boy ended up breaking a toe during rehearsal and he left the company on crutches instead of in the flashy way of getting to go on in a big part he understudied. That left the company with only one boy playing Michael (when there’s supposed to be two, rotating) and so on a weekend matinee, one of the Billy Elliot boys, Dayton Tavares, stepped into the role of Michael. This was Dayton’s one and only performance playing the role, too! He went on as Michael with the only other Australian Billy, Michael Dameski, playing Billy Elliot – so both Australians were on in the big roles for that one and only performance. It was something to see Dayton live it up as fun-loving Michael for that one performance! (He ended up getting to do Broadway on Broadway as Michael, with Alex Ko as Billy, that following September too!)

  • Bryan Austermann says:

    On February 8th, 2013, I was at Wicked and during Popular when Galinda throws her wand offstage and says “Just wear the frock, it’s pretty,” Alli Mauzey tossed the wand but it hit the proscenium and as the laugh from the audience coming off the line happened, I let out a scream/laugh of fright/excitement in the clear silence of the audience which led to a second laugh. So, if you were there and thought who was that crazy person cackling/screaming during Popular, the secret’s out… it was me.

  • Dayna Kurnitz says:

    I actually have 2…one involves you indirecty Mr. Davenport. Godspell was a show that was very important to me for lots of reasons and I saw it 10 times during it’s run. On closing night I was very lucky to meet Stephen Schwartz, the cast and the director and share with them how important the show was to me and thank them. Godspell happened to open exactly 25 days after I lost my daughter and close exactly 25 days after I lost my mother. It was the first thing that made me smile and helped sustain me through such a dark time, and I am still so grateful. It was always one of my favorites, but became so much more during this last run.

  • Melissa N. says:

    I was waiting by the stage door after a performance of THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD; I had already gotten a few autographs (to add to my collection) when Will Chase came out. As he was signing my Playbill, someone mentioned football. He said he was a Cowboys fan and I said I was a Giants fan. We spent a little time talking about which team was better and then he said goodnight and left. I stood there thinking I can’t believe I just had a football conversation with Will Chase.

  • Dayna Kurnitz says:

    A much less heart wrenching tale now. In March on my second trip to Kinky Boots,my friend and I took her 14 year old son and his best friend who really wanted the whole stage door experience. While we were waiting for Billy Porter, who took a particularly long time that night (so worth it he was a doll) Cyndi Lauper came out, but she was all wrapped up and nobody seemed to recognize her, but I saw her, and she definitely did not want to be recognized so I just kept quiet. When she was gone, I turned to my friend and said “You know Cyndi Lauper just left right?” She was so upset, along with several other people in ear shot, but I felt like sometimes people just don’t want to be on and you need to respect that.

  • Cheryl S. says:

    We were at a performance of Little Shop of Horrors and Douglas Sills understudy was on. Douglas Sills played many parts in the show. The understudy knew the material, but obviously never had a dress rehearsal. In the section where he plays at least four reporters (including one female), there are very quick costume changes. Every time he came back onstage he looked more disheveled and frazzled with shirts half tucked in, wigs on crooked, etc. He did his best to keep up with the lines in spite of being completely out of breath!!

  • My favorite Broadway story that no one knows is the time producer Joseph Papp left his seat in the audience, walked on the stage and stopped the opening night performance of the bus and truck tour of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” (musical) in Princeton (1974?). He asked that the house lights come up and said to the audience, “This is not my show. Let’s see if we can find out what happened to my show.”

    Before the show, the cast was asked to go to the basement for vocal warm-ups. The show was unique in that the overture was sung and started out a capella. A few actors including the first two actors who sang the very first lines of the overture never made it to the basement. They heard the ‘places’ call and got the cue to start the show.

    However, after the overture, the show fell apart. Why? Because there were too many actors missing and there was NO orchestra. It turned out that there were no ‘monitors’ in the basement. The bulk of the cast and musicians were in the basement jamming with no idea the show had started.







  • Todd D. says:

    These stories are all fantastic. I wish I had a good Broadway story to tell, but the only time I’ve ever been to Broadway, nothing went wrong, the performers were excellent, and the audiences were all fantastically well-behaved. It was one of the best weekends ever, because my now-wife and I saw four shows over the course of three days, including Avenue Q, Spamalot, and Wicked.

  • JOHN P says:

    I just want to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and everyones comments/stories above… Isn’t the theatre a wonderful thing… 😉

  • Alan L. says:

    This happened so long ago that I forget the exact date but it was either in 71 or 72. I was in my senior year in high school and a group of us kids went to see “HAIR” in Chicago. Being a bunch of high schoolers we all wanted to see the nude scene! There was another group of kids sitting a couple of rows in front of us. Several of them were “fooling around” and at times I was sure I saw a “light up”.
    When the nudes hit the stage one of the guys (in the other group, not MY group) shined a flashlight on first one female actor and then another and was about to move it to another girl when his girlfriend grabbed the flashlight and held it on one of the male actor’s mid-section. Not only that she yelled out “There…that’s more interesting!”
    It all happened so quickly but there was this low rumble throughout the theater as everyone tried to suppress their laughter!

  • I remember seeing “Spider-Man – Turn Off The Dark” in preview and had bought our tickets for what was supposed to be the final preview (the first time around). There was a horrible accident and one of the cast members was seriously injured in front of everyone’s eyes…wait…that ended up being something the world then knew about…OK, so we got to exchange our tickets for another performance a month or so later and at intermission I read on my phone that Julie Taymor had been fired and they were retooling the whole production and when we went backstage after the show to see a friend the whole cast was in shock as to the news…wait…the world knew about that as well. I often think I’m the reason for the “Spider-Man” curse as the two performances I went to had some pretty freaky things happen. But, in trying to be a glass half full kind of guy, it got the world talking about a Broadway show – and that’s pretty cool. Still, I don’t think I’m gonna see the show a third time…would probably bring the whole thing down.

  • Brian P says:

    Just after the Gulf War, I went to see Will Rogers Follies. About 5 minutes before curtain, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and his wife entered the theatre and took their seats. The buzz in the theatre grew until finally the entire audience gave the general an extended standing ovation. He graciously acknowledged the moment. No one even noticed when Joan Collins ran in at the last moment to take her seat – we were all so excited about General Schwarzkopf.

  • Robb J says:

    Mine is a much smaller issue than most here that I read. The casts of Rock of Ages have always been awesome to their fans, including those of us who are Repeat Attenders. One of the regulars’ birthday is on july 4th, and wanted to celebrate at RoA. Because of the holiday schedule the cast had done 13 or 14 shows in a row without a day off when Ashley took her seat in a front row wearing a birthday tiara. AFter the show we were standing down past the barricade when the stage door slammed open and Michele Mais comes running out with a huge Magnolia Bakery cupcake with a candle shouting “Where’s the Birthday Girl!!” Despite being worn out, She and the rest of the cast made sure to acknowledge a super fan.

  • Letty says:

    When watching The Adams Family with Nathan Lane and Bebe N., Nathan Lane forgot his lines and started improvising. The cast, including himself, could not contain their laughter, and as he’s playing a Spanish guy threw words such as enchiladas. He didn’t miss a beat and the show went on.

  • I have had so many wonderful experiences at Broadway shows, but one that pops out was when I saw WILD HONEY .

    The show had announced it was closing soon that morning. I and the rest of the audience thought it was a marvelous play and were surprised it had received its notice. So were the stars .So much so that at the curtain call star Ian McKellen waved for silence and made a passionate plea with everyone to tell their friends and spread the word about how good the show was.

    I’m sure many did besides me ,but it was not enough to prevent it’s closure . It was just marvelous to see how much a play affected the cast .

  • Joseph Giglio says:

    On Broadway in Side by Side By Sondheim.
    Larry Kert (who was Robert in Company, first the original Stand By and then took over the role a few weeks into production)totally went up on the lyric for Being Alive. He adlibbed amazing lyric that I wish I could remember.
    BUT, the look that Hermione Gingold gave him is still vivid in my mind.

  • Michael Hallinan says:

    OK. Mine is rather long, both in content and in years, but still, I classify it as one experience. In the fall of 2008, I had the pleasure of catching a performance of the Broadway musical “A Tale of Two Cities.” I had been a couple of times prior, but regardless of which, I went to the stage door after the show. Well, as I was waiting, a large group was led into the stage door when this gentleman, Robert, said, “Hey, you’ve been here before! Want to come backstage?” Being a dumbstruck college student, I of course accepted. I was led on stage where the producer for Tale, Ron Sharpe, was giving a speech and showing everyone Tony Walton’s incredible scenery. Then, Robert, the Great Samaritan, walks up to me and said, “Hey let me introduce you to Jim.” Jim, of course, was my acting idol James Barbour. I was just…flabbergasted and Jim was nothing but the consummate professional and gentleman. After that brilliant experience, as I left out the stage, Jim said, “It was so great to meet you Mike!” OK, well, unfortunately, Tale wouldn’t have the run it so deserved and would close some time later. Still, I enjoyed seeing Jim in stuff after that. About a year ago, I was experience some professional difficulties as well as a rather personal event which left me physically and emotionally hurt. Well, to finally make an outcry as to my feelings, I took to Twitter to express my disappointment. Well, one day, I’m checking an old email where I saw “James Barbour has sent you a direct message on Twitter.” It was shortly after the outburst and it read, “Hey Mike-I’ve been there. Trust me when I say the higher road (as tough as it may seem)will bring you greater peace and sense of self.” Since then, I have had the luck of not only calling Jim a buddy, but have worked with him on several concerts, all because this guy took a chance on some kid who he met during a show five years ago. I will forever be indebted to James Barbour.

  • Andrea Herbert says:

    When I first heard that the original production of Les Miserables was closing, i tried my hardest to get tickets for it. After calling the box office so many times, I found out that it was special invite only. On the day of the closing performance, I begged my parents to take me on the 40 minute train ride into the city and see what kind of excitement was happening around the theater. When we got there, we realized that a line had started for cancellation tickets. We jumped at the chance, just in case. I think we stood there for about 3 hours before the line started slowing moving. about an hour before the show, we made it through the second set of doors in the Imperial Theater lobby. By this point, crowds of people were filing in to start taking their seats. A news reporter interviewed me for NBC or CBS (never did find the footage), and I took a picture of Alan Cummings walking through the crowd. Mom stopped Rosie O’Donnell and I had my picture taken with her. About 5 minutes before the show was about to start, we were about 2 people away from the window. A minute after the show was suppose to start, we were called up next. They said they would sell us two partial view seats in the orchestra and one seat unclaimed in the balcony. We jumped at the chance. My dad took the balcony seat and my mom and I raced into the orchestra seats. Turns out they were the two seats between the cameras filming the show. Nothing partial about the view at all! My mom, who had see the show before and only thought it ok, was blown away with the performances. The energy was racing through not only the performers but the orchestra, the back stage crew, and the audience themselves. It made for an incredible night! As we were leaving, we bumped into someone who asked us where we got the large picture programs that they usually sell out front (for this performance, they were handing them out to everyone with a ticket for free.) We told her and she said she wished she had one. We handed her one of ours since we had three and she thanked us. She also told us she was one of the original ensemble members and pointed out her name in the back of the program. A few minutes later, my mom spotted Alain Boulil and i luckily was able to get his autograph along with a tired, but satisfied smile, knowing that his show just had a performance of a lifetime.

    That is my best broadway story. Remember, you don’t know until you take a chance.

  • Zanne Hall says:

    You’ve got an awful lot of good stories to route through … and here’s another one!

    I saw Sam Waterston play Hamlet (the title role, naturally) and in the middle of the show, during the Hamlet “Get thee to a nunnery scene” a gentleman in the audience had a heart attack. There was a buzz around him and the usher was called. Sam noticed something going on in the audience – which he quickly assessed had nothing to do with his performance – and stopped the show. He called for more assistance and the man was quietly taken from the audience.

    Sam patiently and respectfully waited until the man was escorted up the aisle and out into the lobby. He then took a beat, got back into character, and finished the show.

  • Mary McCann says:

    I had the wonderful opportunity to have 3rd row seats for “Chicago” w/Bebe Neuwirth & Ann Reinking. After “Nowadays” they threw fake roses into the audience & I was able to catch one! I still have that rose: a great souvenir of a fantastic musical!

  • Zanne Hall says:

    One more. (I’ve got tons as I am an avid theatregoer)

    While I was studying theatre in London I went to see Jimmy Stewart play Elwood P. Dowd in “Harvey” when he fell backward into the orchestra pit – stage right. He poked his head up, smiled, and said “That’ll get your attention!” The audience laughed. He was helped back onto the stage and finished the show.

  • David Arthur says:

    The flimsy amateur production of the musical PETER PAN that I saw in Chicago. The producer kept putting off the hiring of the company, Foy to rig the flying. When at the last, he found out prohibitively expense Foy was, he had Peter and the children change the lyrics to “I’m Flying” to “I’m Jumping.” The hideous spectacle had them climbing up and endlessly jumping off their beds. The final horror was the very end of the number when they all jumped out the window, and as far as we knew, certainly to their deaths.

  • Alex Stephens says:

    One of my favorite memories is seeing Debbie Reynolds and Harve Presnell in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” at the St. Louis Muny. This was probably somewhere in the mid-1990’s. The show was loads of fun, and no one was having more fun than Debbie and Harv. They were totally playing off each other, and the crowd was delighted. When the log cabin set piece was moving in to place, it had missed the cue slightly, and Debbie stuck her foot out to stop it rolling, saying “Looks like it ain’t quite done yet!” Then, later in the performance, she stopped the show for the entire audience at the 10,000 seat outdoor amphitheatre to look up at the lunar eclipse. The show concluded, and after the curtain call, she and Harve sat on the front lip of the stage and chatted with 10,000 people like we were all old friends in their intimate living room. So charming; such a delight watching these pros have fun together, and with us.

  • David Rigano says:

    Funny you should mention The Goodbye Girl! That was my first Broadway show. I was eight years old and in love with Bernadette Peters. I didn’t understand it, but I loved every minute!

    My mother somehow finagled a backstage visit with Ms. Peters, so at 8 years old I met Bernadette AND Martin Short. The show wasn’t doing very well (and, as we know, didn’t ultimately do very well) and Martin Short was joking that since his first big number was “Elliot Garfield Grant,” getting Mary Tyler Moore to call him “Mr. Grant” in the show might sell some more tickets. This, of course, came with a spot-on MTM impersonation.

    (I’m sure this story is probably not in the book… though I may have told it to Jen when we were interns at The York Theatre a million years ago!)

  • Eric A says:

    In August ’09, I was in NY for the Fringe Festival. A show I had workshopped in Bloomington, IN was playing (‘VOTE’, with book and lyrics by former Davenport family member, Ryann Ferguson) and I was excited to see its newest iteration.

    At any rate, after the show, the whole cast and extended ‘VOTE’ family ended up at a Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood. I started up a conversation with one of the actresses from the show, and found out she had just done the revival of ‘A Chorus Line’ on Broadway, which really excited me because an old high school choirmate of mine had been in that production, too. So we talked, and talked, and talked…

    And when I got back home to Indiana I realized I had talked, and talked, and talked with Dierdre “he-ran-into-my-knife-ten-times” Goodwin. And she had been delightful 🙂

  • Carolyn says:

    Not exactly a secret, but something really fun to watch for – EVERY time I’ve seen Peter and the Starcatcher, the actor playing Boy can NEVER keep a straight face when Black Stache is jumping around and getting in his face after he decides they’ll be enemies forever (on stage right at the end of Act 2). It’s fun to see and know that even professional actors break character 🙂

  • Fran says:

    It was the 2002 revival of Medea by the Abbey Theater. It was wonderful. The cast was using all the orchestra aisles for entrances and exits, so there was a lot of action in the audience.

    Well, about a half hour before the end, there’s additional noise from the balcony. We thought it was part of the show, then we heard “Is there a doctor in the house?” Yes, there was a sick audience member. The show was halted and we all waited. It took at least twenty minutes for help to come, examine the person and rush the person to a hospital.

    An announcement was made that the show would resume at the top of the last scene. Now at that point in the show, all hell was breaking loose, emotionally and physically.

    Fiona Shaw and the cast all came back at the same level of intensity and commitment. They were amazing. They got a standing ovation at the end.

  • Matt Bell says:

    I saw The Addams Family on Broadway the same night that Larry King did his final talk show. During the dinner scene where the entire cast is sitting around the table, Jackie Hoffman (Grandma) got up and did a five minute Larry King monologue. The entire audience was rolling in the aisles while the cast were sitting on stage in character in the sombre Addams mood. That is until Bebe Neuwirth put her head on the table because she could no longer hold in the laughter. And throughout the rest of the monologue, cast members were lowering their heads to the table to hide their laughter and then raising them up again only to put them back on the table when the audience started to watch the hilarious cast members try to keep the laughter inside!

  • Jessica says:

    I saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular a few years ago, and during the big ragdoll tap dance number, I noticed a lone tap shoe downstage left – one of the Rockettes had lost a shoe! I searched the kick line for a limping girl but couldn’t find one. When I looked for the shoe again, I realized that it was gone! However, I had not seen anyone bend down to pick it up. At the end of the number, sure enough there was an extra shoe in someone’s hand. I am now convinced the Rockettes are not just dancers – they make magic happen.

  • Barry Reszel says:

    My story is a recent one. This August, my Broadway-obsessed 16-year-old daughter and I came to New York. We had been saving and planning for a while; it’s been a long year.

    We managed to cram 6 shows into 4 days–Kinky Boots, Pippin, Chicago, Annie, Newsies and Chicago. She now has photos with Billy Porter, Patina Miller and others. Thank you, Broadway celebrities, for your accessibility.

    For my 50th birthday in September, my dear Christina made a birthday card; in it she wrote: “Thank you for New York and getting me into theatre. Theatre is one of the best things that happened to me and it wouldn’t have happened without you.”

    Indeed I have long known the arts are life-giving. But in 2013, in large part because of a 4-day trip to Broadway, I now understand theatre can also be life-saving.

  • 1977 blackout: it happened during ‘The King and I’ revival #whatever with Yul Brenner and Constance Towers. The lights went black as intermission was ending: “How rude!” – we all thought as we climbed back to our seats in the dark. After a bit, the stage manager announced the blackout, the orchestra played to flashlights while the cast – minus Yul and Constance – waltzed onstage for our enjoyment. My mom decided we needed to get out so we left the theater, ran through the loot-crazed streets and got through the tunnel to NJ right before they sealed Manhattan. But we returned to see the show again, so I saw it that version of ‘The King and I’ one and half times.

  • Jared W says:

    During the most recent revival of “La Cage,” the show was just about the Albin’s climactic Act I finale “I Am What I Am.” Douglas Hodge pokes his head out from the wings and asks “Are we going to continue?” while at the same time the stage manager enters from the other side of the stage and announces that they are having major problems with their sound system and have to hold the show.

    Without missing a beat, Kesley Grammer walks downstage and sits down on the lip. After making sure everyone can hear his unamplified voice (he projected like a champ), he proceeds to fill the time with stories from his theatrical career, including the time he was doing “Macbeth” in LA and an earthquake interrupted the show. Eventually the sound board was fixed and they went on with the show, but I loved how Grammer took the time to keep everyone entertained with his easygoing personality rather than retreat to the star dressing room and wait it out.

  • Elizabeth H says:

    I’ve had so much fun reading everyone’s stories!

    Last fall I had friends in NY that I decided had to try the Newsies lottery because I had fallen in love with it earlier that year. After my friend’s name was called I immediately ran off to find tickets to a new show on my meager budget. After failing at a couple theaters and TKTS I walked into the Walter Kerr Theater where The Heiress was playing not expecting them to have any student tickets still available. To my great surprise the nice man at the ticket booth told me I was in time for the 6:30 special and handed me a ticket for the center of the second row! He kindly asked that I not share with others how much I paid for my ticket. When I entered the theater I found myself mere feet from the incredible actors in between two fur coats that undoubtedly cost more than my car. It was an incredible experience!

  • Bobby says:

    In 1985, I went to see Bernadette Peters and Mandy Parkin in “Sunday in the Park with George! The seats at the Booth theatre where I was seating with friends were close and it was hard to see below your seats. When the show started I started feeling something rubbing up against my leg. I tried to figure what in the world it was and all during the first Act it would rub a while and then quit. I told my friends that were with me and one of the ladies asked if I wanted to swap seats and I said I would be okay and that it might have just been my coat rubbing my leg. Anyway, during Act 2, I looked down and it was the man in the seat next to me rubbing his leg up against my leg and when I would look down he would stop. I laughing turned to my friend and told her. She said next time he does it to reach over and slap his knee and tell him to stop that. Well the next time I felt him rubbing my need I slapped his knee and said quit that. Needless to say that guy never rubbed my leg again and before the curtain call was over he was heading out the door with his wife.

  • I actually took part in this story. My professional career as an actor began with A Christmas Carol–the original cast at Madison Square Garden–I played Tiny Tim in the Alan Menken/Lynn Ahrens/Mike Ockrent/Susan Stroman musical. I only had 5 lines–and one solo–but towards the end of the show when the redeemed Scrooge knocks on Cratchit’s door to give him the prize turkey I came out and said “It’s sno–oh shit–happy Christmas!” you see a minute or two later, I would look up and say “it’s snowing!” and a sea of “snow” would blanket the stage and much of the audience. But for some reason my brain was crossed that day. An 11-year old kid under 5 ft I received the Lenny Bruce award at the end of the run. I still do theatre today! 🙂

  • Matthew Turkle says:

    Short and sweet…a friend had seen “Titanic” when it played on Broadway in the 90’s. Following the final curtain, she overheard an audience member complaining that the story was “unrealistic.”

  • In the mid seventies I went with my parents to see the magnificent Ingrid Bergman in “The Constant Wife”… it became quickly apparent they were holding the curtain and they certainly don’t do as such for just anybodym it seemed like 1/2 an hour had passed! My Dad insisted they were holding it for Jackie Kennedy, and indeed that rumour spread thruout the theater. Well, not quite Jackie, but theatrical royalty…it was Lillian Gish and Helen Hayes…they had to walk quite slowly as they were so advanced in age and it was thrilling, everyone applauded their journey to their seats, you could feel the gratitude and love due these pioneers…. a true Broadway moment.

  • Alex Stephens says:

    Here’s another – the national tour of “Bye, Bye, Birdie” with Tommy Tune in the early 90’s; Ann Reinking had departed the show, and the absolutely dazzling Lenora Nemetz was now playing Rose. During one of the numbers, Nemetz did a kick and her shoe went flying across the stage. It was hilarious to watch her hop-hop-hop across the stage, still singing, pick up that shoe, hop-hop-hop while putting it back on…still singing. The whole audience was giggling and erupted into a HUGE cheer at the completion of the number. She just giggled and gave us all a little wink and on we went…

  • Fran says:

    Remembered another incident that should be included:

    When I was just out of college, I got a ticket to see James Earl Jones in The Iceman Cometh at Circle in the Square. Sometime during the first act, Mr. Jones coughed and then pulled out a handkerchief and blew his nose. This happened a occasionally for the rest of the show. He never lost focus or character. He had a cold and was still amazing. Now Iceman runs over three hours.

    So many actors would have called in sick or insisted an announcement be made. Nope. He went on, cold and all. The production was brilliant and got a standing ovation.

  • Candace P says:

    I scored stage tickets for Xanadu. I thought it would be cool to see the action from behind the actors. We sat in Grecian “bleachers,” faced the audience on stage, and watched the show interspersed with the actors who sat next to and in front of us. At one point Whoopi Goldberg and Mary Testa were singing behind us and the audience started laughing hysterically. I tried to turn and see what was going on when Mary Testa put her hands on the sides of my head and wouldn’t let me see what they were laughing at.
    Later on, when Whoopi came over and signed my husband’s program (and his program only), did I find out that she had been polishing his bald head with her scarf while they were singing!

  • Andrew Beck says:

    The original production of Gower Champion’s ’42nd Street’ just a week or so after its now-legendary triumphant/tragic opening night. The level of excitement in the audience was amazing and it seemed that the people in the row in front of us were particularly enthusiastic. Well at least the stately, immaculately dressed woman was, raising her arms as if conducting the orchestra and gently singing the lurid to “We’re in the Money.” Her enjoyment continued throughout the performance while the gentleman next to her remained quiet and emotionless throughout. Of course we realized that Sir John Gielguld could proffer an air of professional disdain better than almost anyone. But it was clear that Irene Worth was having the time of her life. It wasn’t until intermission that we realized who flanked this pair of theater royalty on either side: their hosts were, next to Ms. Worth, the populist impresario Joe Papp, and three seats away on the other side of Sir John, Gail Merrifield Papp. It was nice to see them just like us, anxious to be there to experience the show of the moment!

  • Hilary says:

    Hmm…the one that pops to mind right away is when I saw Elaine Stritch in her preview performances of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. She lost her way in a few scenes and someone (assistant stage manager?) quite literally shouted her lines to her from off stage. At first I thought that was a part of the play. PICK ME JEN!

  • I have no idea if this applies or is interesting but I’ll tell it anyways.

    I am originally from Dallas, TX and ventured to NYC with my high school choir group back in 2003-ish. So naturally, we had to see a Broadway production. Now, I have HORRIBLE stage fright – used to sing and preform, but quit because I would get panic attacks (something I’m currently back in NYC trying to overcome). ANYWAYS… we saw the Lion King, and I remember being taken by all the people who could put themselves on stage and have me so mesmerized… except for one guy. I don’t remember what part he played, but I spent 90% of the play watching him off stage. Our seats were at an awesome place and I could see somewhat behind the curtain. Every time he’d step off the stage, he’d start dancing around and trying to make the other people off stage laugh. It was kind of amazing that he was doing that. I have no idea if he was SUPPOSED to be doing that, but I always think back to him and hope if I ever make it to the stage there’s a goof there helping me relax and HAVE FUN!

  • PJ says:

    The play Prymate had just opened to terrible reviews and of course, I had to see how bad that show really was. I was not disappointed. The orchestra was half empty on a Saturday night, the only one it saw as it closed the next day. So we had great seats to see the worst thing I had ever seen on a stage. Those of us who saw it that night have a short-hand for the show “The Masterbating Monkey Play.” In the audience was the New York celebrity Joe Franklin. Shortly after the show, he announced his retirement. So we like to say that Pryamte was the show that caused Joe Franklin from show business.

  • Jacob Carll says:

    I had a friend working house at Master Class with Tyne Daly. I had bought tickets in the back of the theatre, but my friend told me she would be able to move me closer once the show started. When the show was over, I gave a standing ovation and ran out to the stage door to talk to Tyne, as well as Sierra Boggess. They both were incredibly nice and took pictures. After they left, I was ready to head back to Grand Central when I noticed that I was missing my wallet. The last time I noticed having it was when I sat down in my original seats for the show. I ran back to the stage door and asked the doorman if there was a way to check if my wallet was in the theatre. The man was incredibly nice and had me follow him through the stage door and into the house’s side doors. He asked me where I had been moved to, but I couldn’t remember because my ticket was for the last row. I pointed to a general area and he went to look under the seat, crouching low. He stood back up, and waved my wallet in the air! He came back to the door and gave it to me, and I got to walk back to the stage door and back to the street. There were still some audience members standing by the door, and when I walked out, they thought I was part of the production. As an aspiring actor, it was incredible to get a little taste of what it feels like being an actor on Broadway!

  • RJ says:

    This one is especially for Jen and I can’t believe I never told her this story! I work front of house on Broadway part time and had the privilege of working Title of Show. I loved it so much I not only paid to go back twice but also worked it about another 8 times. When I heard it was closing I was devastated to not be there for the final show since my shift was at the Winter Garden. I was so determined to be there for at least part of it I sprinted through Times Square to do it. I did walk-in at Mamma Mia and as soon as the show started sprinted out of the stage door down to the Lyceum and snuck in the back. When it was getting close to intermission I ran back up to the theatre then sprinted back for the end of TOS.

    I didn’t realize until I was catching my breathe I ended up standing next to Michael Berresse and I almost died. I didn’t want to cause a stir.

    When Jeff Bowen started to get chocked up during one of his lines towards the end, along with everyone else, Michael started under his breathe coaching him to get through it. I don’t think many people could hear him but it was as if Jeff could. He said something like “Not yet, Get through it, keep it together.” I listened and it seriously kept me from loosing it.

    The vibe in that room was like no one could exhale because it you took one more breathe you knew the magic that was TOS on Broadway would be over.

    That 90 minute show that could ran so long from applause that night I had to run out before the end but let me tell you that show meant so much to me and so many others.

    Working in these theatres and witnessing hundreds of performances it was hard to choose but I cannot imagine talking Broadway especially with the awesome Jen Tepper without sharing one of my TOS stories.

  • Lynn Anderson says:

    I have SO enjoyed reading all of these stories!

    When we saw Richard Chamberlain in “My Fair Lady” on tour in my hometown, he totally forgot the lyrics to “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” and proceeded to make up his own! I can’t recall much of it, but do recall him singing “I don’t remember what comes next” (in tune to the music)! We all laughed and gave him an ovation when he finished stumbling through what was left!

  • Lynn Anderson says:

    One more for the book!

    Ten years ago we had the honor of seeing our local Michigan hometown hero Sutton Foster in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” on Broadway. It was a magical, eye-opening, ta-dah moment for my impressionable 13-year-old daughter, who knew right then and there that she was going to spend the rest of her life pursuing a career on the stage!

    Fast forward several years, and Sutton’s former high school in Troy MI was putting on the same show. My daughter and I attended, and Sutton was also there! She had personally brought her famous red Millie dress for the girl playing the part in the show (who did a tremendous job with the role, even though the pressure of knowing Sutton was in the house must have been unbearable)! We sat a few seats from Sutton, and it was just delicious watching her reactions to the show – she had a ball! Then after the show, Sutton kicked off her heels, sat cross-legged on the stage, and gave the best talk-back ever! It was like spending the night talking with an old friend!

    She definitely influenced my daughter, who went on to get her BFA and now lives in New York, working toward The Dream!

  • Rebecca Nova says:

    This past Saturday (11/9) I got to experience the most amazing thing any fan of broadway would have died to do. I got the honor and privilege to attend the Mamma Mia 5,000 performance and after show reception. Many of my friends and other fans would have died for that journey. I won a contest on twitter through Mamma Mia’s account and was given 2 AMAZING prizes. The first was the dress rehearsal which I gave up due to work. I was also given 3 tickets to the Saturday performance and after show party. My cousins and I attended not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. We received Row H Orchestra seats at no cost which was AMAZING. The after show was even better. We meet the whole cast, got to spend time with them, take pictures with props and did an interview. We got to have cake made by Cake Boss. It was an amazing experiences I will NEVER forget and will cherish for the rest of my life.

  • Luke W says:

    I won’t name the show since I was a guest at the time, but just a few months ago I was sitting with the conductor of a show currently running on Broadway to observe during one of their performances. Just before the beginning of Act 2, he gave me this half smile and said “Just so you know– you’re about to hear the worst song on Broadway right now.”

    Of course, this show is raking in over $1,000,000/week, so who’s counting, I suppose…

  • Your reference to a blackout reminded me of one of my all-time favorite Broadway stories…

    The year was 1977. The show: The Cherry Orchard – with stage legends Raul Julia, Irene Worth and a then unknown 12 year old, Diane Lane – at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.

    I was attending a performance on the evening of July 13th. It was around 9:30pm, the lights dimmed as first act came to an end, and the audience began to applaud. When suddenly a voice from the stage says, “Thank you, but we’re not done!” Neither the house lights nor any other lights came back on.

    Within just a minute or two the stage manager announced it wasn’t just the theater that was dark–it was all of Manhattan. We were asked to calmly sit tight for just few more minutes while I plan was sorted out.

    It wasn’t long after that the stage manager was back. he told us that the blackout reach was not just Manhattan, but all of NYC. And that it was an absolute traffic mess outside.

    So they had a proposal for the audience. It turns out that the previous production at the Beaumont had been Agamemnon, and the torches used in that show were still backstage. So as alternative to us all rushing out into the dark streets, they were going to continue the performance of The Cherry Orchard by torchlight! And it was delightful!

    Eventually, alas, when the show was over we still had to brave the outside chaos. That evening the drive back to Rockland County took us over four hours!

  • Sue says:

    I was in Manhattan with my husband not long after Cats closed. We were walking near Times Square and someone handed us a flyer announcing the auction of Cats’ set pieces, props and costumes at the theater that afternoon. We went, and came home with the giant push broom (it weighs about 100lbs –anyone want it??), a giant dirty plate of “spaghetti”, a giant dirty styrofoam burger container, and 4 or 5 Cats leotards painted with stripes and embellished with fur. We bid on the Bustopher Jones black and white costume up to about $750, but apparently a cast member was desperate to have it. When we arrived home and found that other major character costumes were selling in the thousands in the e-bay auction for charity, we wished we had kept bidding. We also almost bought the pieces of Skimbleshanks “train”, which we could have reassembled and welded into a jumbo train lawn decoration. No regrets there. We now have a fastidious black and white tuxedo cat named Bustopher Jones, white spats and all.

  • Sue says:

    Here’s another story and I doubt I will win anyway, so I am tweaking the rules and entering twice. I was fortunate to attend Columbia University in the 1980s and earn my MBA degree with a customized major in Theater Management as well as Finance. I took two theater seminar classes taught by Bernard Jacobs and Gerry Schoenfeld, held Friday afternoons in their offices high above the Shubert Theater. Most of their problems centered around unions, and then there was the landmark status of their real estate, making it impossible to renovate. They would give us 6 or 8 grad students tickets on a regular basis. The best were tickets to the epic 6-hour Nicholas Nickleby, but in its second production. Jacobs and Schoenfeld never could figure out why the first production was once the hottest ticket on Broadway, while the second had so many unsold seats that they had plenty to give out to grad students! We also took a class with Bernie Gersten, who had just taken the helm at Lincoln Center Theatre. He was trying to break what was considered a jinx of that organization’s theatrical presentations, and we can say with great confidence that he has done it. I was also privileged to take a class in theater law at Columbia Law School where we did mock negotiations with unions, and we had a lecture from Serina Coyne about creating exciting, low-budget ads for Broadway production. It was a thorough education. Anyone want to hire me as an assistant??

  • Mark Corallo says:

    As a child I had always dreamed of standing on a Broadway stage. I had gone to countless shows with my parents. I have seen everything from Annie to Cats to Starlight Express, Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and many more. As an adult I continued to dream of being on that stage, however little acting experience and a full time teaching job does not help that dream. As a speech and language therapist, I have fostered theater throughout the lives of the many children I work with. This year we won the Disney Musicals in the Schools grant and performed a piece of The Jungle Book on stage at the Minskoff theater. Not only did my dream come true as I stood on that stage, but a group of children with autism and other disabilities who never before entered the world of Broadway also had their dreams fulfilled.

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