For almost a century, Americans have been losing their hearts and losing their minds in an insatiable love affair with the American musical.
Jack Viertel is the senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns and operates five Broadway theaters. Meet Jack Viertel as he reads from his new book The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built. The short story deals with a vague and mild-mannered man who drives into Waterbury, Connecticut, with his wife for their regular weekly shopping and his wife's visit to the beauty parlour. Mitty's turn as a brilliant surgeon immediately follows his taking off and putting on his gloves (as a surgeon dons surgical gloves) and driving past a hospital. Skuldom's Faeces Christ and his onstage injuries Photo: Heath MortlockMusicians are seldom compared to high-performance athletes.
Yadana Saw meets people who have injured themselves in the pursuit of perfect sound and the professionals who help get them back onstage. Take one black metal bassist, a packet of medical grade scalpels and the biggest music event in the extreme metal scene and you are guaranteed to carve yourself into metal folklore. Music isn’t often associated with life-threatening danger - as the more risky proposition is the off-stage, after-hours pursuits of many musicians. Early in their set at Satanfest 2002, Faeces pulled out his surgical scalpel to carve an inverted cross onto his chest. The next time Faeces Christ took a trip to the doctor it was after a run-in with a bloody craft knife and rotten sheep head. Jack Lemmon plays the piano at New York's Old Knick Music Hall in 1947, his first job in the entertainment industry.

To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. To automatically re-order this item before you run out, select the recurring order option during checkout. It often begins in childhood in a darkened theater, grows into something more serious for high school actors, and reaches its passionate zenith when it comes time for love, marriage, and children, who will start the cycle all over again. He has been involved in dozens of productions presented by Jujamcyn since 1987, including multiple Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winners, from City of Angels to Angels in America.
Yet the physical demands of practicing and playing music push performers’ bodies to the extreme. But whatever the genre or instrument, the passion to play your very best can have some unexpected and unwanted consequences.
Navy flying boat in a storm, then he is a magnificent surgeon performing a one-of-a-kind surgery, then as a cool assassin testifying in a courtroom, and then as a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot volunteering for a daring, secret suicide mission to bomb an ammunition dump. But what, exactly, is a musical?In The Secret Life of the American Musical, Jack Viertel takes them apart, puts them back together, sings their praises, marvels at their unflagging inventiveness, and occasionally despairs over their more embarrassing shortcomings. He once said that there were two things he could do well and get attention for: acting and music. In the process, he invites us to fall in love all over again by showing us how musicals happen, what makes them work, how they captivate audiences, and how one landmark show leads to the nexta€”by design or by accident, by emulation or by rebelliona€”from Oklahoma!
He conceived the long-running Smokey Joea€™s Cafe and the critically acclaimed After Midnight and has been a creative consultant on many shows, including Hairspray, A Christmas Story, and Dear Evan Hansen. He was the Mark Taper Foruma€™s dramaturg and the drama critic and arts editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and he has spent a decade teaching musical theater at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

The ultimate insider, Viertel has spent three decades on Broadway, working on dozens of shows old and new as a conceiver, producer, dramaturg, and general creative force; he has his own unique way of looking at the process and at the people who collaborate to make musicals a reality. As he told reporter James Carter in a 1993 interview, his first job in New York after deciding to pursue an acting career was playing piano, in a club run by another Harvard grad. He shows us patterns in the architecture of classic shows and charts the inevitable evolution that has taken place in musical theater as America itself has evolved socially and politically.The Secret Life of the American Musical makes you feel as though youa€™ve been there in the rehearsal room, in the front row of the theater, and in the working offices of theater owners and producers as they pursue their own love affair with that rare and elusive beasta€”the Broadway hit. You got a meal." It helped sustain Lemmon while he waited for acting jobs, and later, the piano helped him survive Hollywood.
His son, Chris Lemmon, is an actor and writer who says music helped his father survive Hollywood. He says that behind the scenes — even between takes on movie sound stages — his father was forever noodling on any piano he could find, even when the movie did not involve music. Sometimes the studio would provide a piano; after all, a happy actor gives a happy performance. And [he] loved to play the piano." Throughout his life, Jack Lemmon said he was never far from a piano. It's been an hour and a half.' " Still, Lemmon was always modest about his abilities, and was quick to mention that double-threat performers are far from rare.

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