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4.3 out of 5 stars
Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 1998
This is a book for any theatre lover. Haven't you wondered whatever became of a show that didn't run very long or how it got that way? The author, through interviews and reading scripts and listening to selections from shows (often audition tapes, since these shows, for the most part, didn't cut original cast albums), discusses shows that never could have made it as well as shows that deserved better than they got. I saw some shows in the book that I had seen on stage and enjoyed the comments made about some that I felt were better than their run had indicated. Anybody can offer their opinions of the smash hits, but if you want a more complete look at an often neglected area, take a look at this book. It will be a great addition to any theatre library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 1999
Essential reading for show fans. A better history of American theatre than you'll get from any "comprehensive" dissertation. Mandelbaum's writing is sharp, funny, and concise -- and I suspect his research is absolutely correct. This is one book that I own two copies of -- one for rereading, one for lending. I now understand why "Mack & Mabel" never worked.
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on 11 February 2014
Many other entertainment areas could benefit from having more books dedicated to their failures rather than merely celebrating the successes. Several other reviewers have suggested that the author should have interviewed more of the prime movers involved in these many flops and they are quite correct. However the research and tracking down he must have done to come up with this study would have probably been tripled had he gone down that route - not many want to discuss their failures knowing they will be preserved in print and this is even more the case in the States where fewer revel in negatives than in the UK. What we have is a bold and fascinating study that can be dipped into and enjoyed on its own terms. Do we need another study that takes a more thorough and scholarly approach? Absolutely. Meanwhile just enjoy this unique slant on a popular entertainment for what it is. I guarantee there'll be many moments you are left just shaking your head and thinking 'What did they think they were doing?'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 1998
Ken Mandelbaum's book is a must-read for anyone who loves musical theatre. Mandelbaum names over 200 flops, and tells what went wrong. Witty opinions and strong facts are melded together to make this a MUST-READ. This is my "Musical Theatre Bible..."
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I've read and re-read this book many times over the years, the latest prompted by an unforgettable, entertaining, and occasionally jaw-dropping evening watching Lloyd Webber's flop "Stephen Ward" - just before it closed at the end of March 2014. Ken gives an idiosyncratic, informative and mostly affectionate account of Broadway flops of the post-war era, clearly greatly enjoying the flopperoonies, especially the ones that fall from great heights (like Carrie). There's practically nothing covered since Carrie's 1988 fiasco - since when there have been many more worthy of examination. The book also is a great help when considering the occasional revival, sing-through or concert recording that these fascinating lost souls generate. Delicious!
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on 7 January 1999
The others who have reviewed this book have said little beyond the fact they haven't really read it. Not Since Carrie is not, in any way, about gossip, unless you consider the published words of dozens of theatre critics and statements from those involved with the works in question gossip. The story of some of Broadway's greatest musical flops is told through the people that were there--the stars, the composers, and even an important element, the audience, as represented by Mr. Mandelbaum. He has done his homework, and has created a brilliant, must-have book for any theatre enthusiast's library.
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on 29 May 2014
While this book was written some time ago and only documents failed musicals staged up to 1990, it remains an interesting read. The only difficulty I have with it is that the author clearly has total belief that his view on why a show failed is the definitive one and beyond dispute. You do suspect others might hold a different view.
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on 26 March 1998
This is an excellent book that outlines the flops of the last forty years on Broadway. It should be especially importannt for those interested in writing for the theatre as it points out the mistakes made by the novice writers, producers, etc. Also, flops are just plain funny!
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on 21 June 1998
I need to say if you love musical theatre! This is a must have book to know the fate of certain shows. That didn't quite make it! And some that live in lore. Whether all truth or lined with gossip it is an enjoyable read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 1998
Although this book makes an amusing read, it is sadly spoiled by bad journalism. In researching the stories behind these Broadway flops, the author seems to have been happy to talk to one person involved and take their word for everything. This leads to some serious inaccuracies. Any researcher knows to get the story from a number of sides, but Mandelbaum reports gossip as truth, and fails to check up on the most simple of facts. As a result, the text is littered with inaccuracies, half-truths, and spurious statements. In the hands of a better journalist this might have been a great book, but it sadly cannot be relied upon for any accuracy.
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