If you’ve ever wanted to know the history of Broadway – and some of its dirty little secrets – Razzle Dazzle will give you the inside look. Michael Riedel, theater critic for the New York Post, shares his rich knowledge of theater history by following the rise and dominance of the Shubert Organization. The book begins in the early 1900’s with the Shubert brothers, young Russian immigrants who became theater magnates despite their lack of education and inexperience in theater management. By the 1940’s, the brother’s Shubert Organization ran half of the Broadway theaters in New York City, held major political sway over Midtown, and Broadway shows had become a multi-million dollar industry. But the times changed and just thirty years later, Times Square had become overrun with drug use and prostitutes, and the number of Broadway shows being produced dropped dramatically.
Razzle Dazzle details how Broadway built up an empire, watched it fall, then fought its way back from the financial failure of the 70’s. Through remarkable shows such as A Chorus Line, and Phantom of the Opera, and the leadership of theater organizations such as the Shubert’s, Nederlanders, and later Disney, Broadway became a lively and family-friendly district in Midtown Manhattan. Union battles, backstage drama, and organizational chaos all have a role to play in Broadway history and Riedel gives it to readers in great detail. If you love a good show, don’t throw away your shot at Razzle Dazzle.