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Show Business - The Road To Broadway [DVD]


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Product details

  • Directors: Dori Berinstein
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Liberation Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Mar. 2008
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000X1CBPI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,482 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Over the course of one Broadway musical season (2003-2004), ShowBusiness follows the four high-profile productions that would eventually become Tony nominees for Best Musical: the retelling of the story of the witches of Oz, Wicked, the Rosie O'Donnell/Boy George collaboration, Taboo, the much-anticipated Tony Kushner musical, Caroline, or Change, & and an irreverent puppet show named Avenue Q. From casting to staging, from previews to red-carpeted opening nights, from the announcement of Tony nominations to the suspense-filled Tony Awards, ShowBusiness provides a never-before-seen look at the inner workings of Broadway musicals. Allowed unprecedented backstage access, director Dori Berinstein casts a camera's eye on rehearsals, backstage highs and lows, and the mysterious and wondrous creative process. Featuring a star-studded array of Broadway icons as well as ambitious new faces, ShowBusiness proves that 2003-2004 was truly a season to remember. Features interviews with Alan Cumming, Boy George, Rosie O Donnell and members of the original cast of the Broadway productions.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Roe on 29 April 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I must admit, I don't love most musicals - not the really generic, over-produced ones anyway. I did love Avenue Q, Taboo and Wicked though, and this DVD provides a fly-on-the-wall documentary of these three musicals (as well as Caroline or Change which I have yet to see). It is really interesting to watch behind-the-scenes footage of the slog that goes into opening a show from the perspective of the writers, actors and producers. Knowing how successful some of these musicals were spurs the viewer on. The footage highlights the creative process involved, as well the detrmination of all involved in getting them on stage. Recommended for anyone with an interest in Broadway and the West End theatre worlds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Morrison on 16 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD
This is highly recommended for loves of theatre, especially musicals. It deals with the 2003-2004 season, dealing with four musicals - Avenue Q, Taboo, Wicked and Caroline, or Change. Given this was one of the most prolific and strongest seasons of the past ten years, the makers picked a great group to look at. The DVD also has some excellent deleted scenes and an entertaining commentary. As always, I could have seen more clips of actual performances. A great documentary and DVD package.
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Format: DVD
exellent dvd following the journeys of several shows on their way to broadway. we also get to meet the 'big name' critics to hear their views, never have i seen such a group of shallow,mealy mouthed, vicious tongued, self loving creatures, so far up their own arses probably their own families wouldn't see anything they liked in them. i have wondered for many years why the american public would be swayed by the brain rot of these people, so much so that a show can close on the opening night. each of these shows were/are quite brilliant in their own ways whilst the critics feed on each others cruel words like vultures on decaying meat. (no i didn't like the critics) buy this film it's a fascinating view into the world of the stage musical.
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Format: DVD
This is for serious luvvies and wannabes only. The usual backstage documentary drivel, with critics sneering at one another and the latest Tony nominated shows and various casts having hysterics and touchy-feely moments. If you're looking for material from recent shows on Broadway this is about as good as you'll find till they release the complete works on DVD.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 53 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"One!...Singular Sensation!" 24 Oct. 2007
By "Rocky Raccoon" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
A documentary about the genesis, success, press, and fallout of four Broadway musicals would have to be quickly paced. Besides that, the well-rounded content of Dori Berenstein's 'Show Business-The Road to Broadway' is whole and complete--entertaining, fun, informative, eventful, and fascinating. If you love musicals, this is a must-see. If you're only luke warm, you'll probably love it anyway just to trace the creative sparks back to their origins.

Well, it's just so exciting! Especially if you don't know the outcomes (like me). Watching four selected Broadway musicals from 2004, we witness each one get created from the piano to the stage. Only a hair less satisfying are the steps of creation for the choreography, rehearsals, and press conferences. It's all in the details. Some of the participants strive for the American dream from the bottom: One got off of welfare; another was working as a temp. Then, as the show takes a life of it's own, we make our bets (like on our favorite horse race) and see which one wins (financially and/or critically). Sort of an entertainment version of 'The Apprentice' without The Donald, Adam Zucker's editing never leaves us yawning in the aisles. The film is effective enough as it reaches its climax at The Tony Awards.

How can you not love a movie that gives you a real look at 'Wicked,' 'Avenue Q,' 'Caroline or Change,' and 'Taboo'? The film features substantative sound bites from a myriad of producers, actors, writers, and artists. As an overview, I loved the round-table discussions by critics at a New York restaurant. Or how about the feistiness and passion of Boy George and Rosie O'Donnell? Then, we're left in suspense as we see which show is left standing and for how long.

Noting that some musicals make millions in a few weeks and others fold the same night, 'Show Business...' gives us "the big idea" and runs off with it. Off the stage, that is, where all the players sip champagne--and celebrate their triumphs or drown out their sorrows. Vibrant like Broadway itself, it is quite a show!

(Especially featuring--besides the aforementioned--Tony award-winning Actor, Alan Cumming and 'The New Yorker' Chief Critic, John Lahr.)
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The bonus features. 29 Oct. 2007
By Jeff Reys - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'll refrain from reviewing the movie as other reviewers have already addressed that aspect of the film. The bonus features on this DVD are enticing on their own. Liza Minnelli, Alan Cummings, John Lithgow, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Bandares, Patrick Stewart and more share their Broadway experiences in a private and personal conversational manner which makes one wish entire films were devoted to these one on one conversations. Donna Murphy has a particularly passionate and moving conversation about her love of Broadway. Dori Bernstein, Jeff Marx and Alan Cummings provide audio commentary. A study guide, deleted scenes, bonus Footage, Tony Awards clips and Broadway cares all round out the package making this a fantastic behind-the-scenes peek into making a Broadway musical which also makes one wish this were one of a nine or ten volume encyclopedic video series.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A True Valentine to One Tumultuous Broadway Season Full of Insight and Energy 28 July 2007
By Ed Uyeshima - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The odds against a Broadway musical becoming a profitable hit make Hollywood studio film deals seem like a sure thing by comparison. However, there is a more palpable energy to live theater and arguably a genuine sense of risk. Filmmaker Dori Berinstein has captured this high-wire dynamic in spades with this enthusiastic 2007 documentary, which covers the 2003-04 Broadway season culminating in the Tony Awards held in June. There are plenty of random shots from the season's shows and even coverage of a little-known rehearsal ritual of having the most prolific cast member wear a gypsy robe before opening. Berinstein's focus is primarily on four disparate musicals - the successful $14-million Wizard of Oz-inspired extravaganza, Wicked; a socially conscious period piece, the powerful Caroline, or Change; the glam-rock Boy George autobiography, the financially stunted Taboo; and the season's underdog, the adult-oriented comic paean to Sesame Street, Avenue Q.

Bouncing between the productions in various stages of development, the filmmaker intersperses brief interviews with the producers, directors, writers and principal actors, as well as scabrous roundtable conversations about the spotlighted shows among the influential theater critics who have the power to close a show with a scathing review. The diverse combination of perspectives provides interesting fodder, even though given the wealth of material gathered here, the treatment sometimes feels truncated and cursory, for example, composer Stephen Schwartz and star Idina Menzel are given plenty of attention on "Wicked", but not nearly as much is lavished on co-star Kristin Chenoweth or the other creative forces behind the show. Intriguingly, the near-legendary backstage turmoil behind "Taboo" is mentioned, but very little of that tension is evident in the rehearsal scenes or the interviews with producer Rosie O'Donnell, Boy George or stars Euan Morton and Raúl Esparza.

Even though it is not remotely a warts-and-all type of film, there are refreshingly candid comments from O' Donnell and Boy George about the unfair press coverage "Taboo" received from the New York Post's smarmy Michael Riedel. There are also moments that are surprisingly poignant like "Caroline, or Change" star Tonya Pinkins recounting her grief-filled back story and Morton near tears as he talks about his post-close struggles. Easily the most amusing scenes spotlight the young, precocious composers of "Avenue Q", Jeff Marx and Bobby Perez, who seem to have accidentally backed into their show idea and ironically came out the season's true victors. The interviews with Marx's proud but dumbfounded father are especially hilarious. As a Broadway aficionado, I couldn't help but wish there were more musical moments included beyond the snippets shown, in particular, more of Pinkins' stirring turn in her show or the wildly talented Esparza's cross-dressing turn in "Taboo". But otherwise, this all-access peek into the Broadway theater scene is genuinely insightful and wonderfully entertaining.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A remarkable look behind four shows 22 Aug. 2007
By Rob McMillin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
As this film's ending makes perfectly clear, Broadway is brutal: far more shows fail than succeed. Show Business followed four musicals (Wicked, Taboo, Avenue Q, and Caroline, Or Change) through pre-production to (some would say premature) closing, unveiling the huge amount of work expended to put these productions on the stage. Not only is it a valentine to the musical, but to the art form's fans. A must-see for anyone who loves Broadway.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A crash course in Modern Broadway Musical Theater - I love this DVD! 12 Nov. 2007
By Steve Ramm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
If you love Broadway Musicals - even if you live thousands of miles from New York and have to be content with road companies or the annual televised Tony Awards - you need to see this DVD. I'm sure Producer/Director Dori Bernstein had no idea when she chose to follow four "high profile" (meaning, in most cases, BIG BUDGET) musicals making their Broadway debut in 2004, that these shows would succeed (or, in one major disaster, fail). But with the help of "co-producer" Alan Cumming, she received unprecedented access to filming the productions from early conception to the opening (and closing) nights. Everything happens in "real time".

If you don't remember who won the Tony Award for Best Musical you'll find the film even more entertaining as the "mystery" is revealed, but - even if you do - you'll learn a lot and hear some great music. The DVD is also loaded with some great surprises. Hang in for the final credits - where Wicked's star Idina Menzel does a hip-hop version of "Lullaby of Broadway"!

There's 30 minutes of insightful bonus footage with interviews with the performers and other creative team members in each of the four musicals and even a Study Guide on DVD-ROM.

Gone are the days when shows spent a year "trying out" in cities like Philadelphia and Boston. Now they head straight for Broadway (or sometimes, like Avenue Q, are discovered "downtown" - off-Broadway). The stakes are high and a failure can be costly. And, now, there's always a Disney production to compete with for the theatergoer's dollar (more likely $101.50!).

You'll spend hours with this DVD and it belongs in the collection of anyone who loves the Broadway musical.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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