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ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway (2007)

PG  |   |  Documentary  |  19 April 2007 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 300 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 6 user | 19 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

Going behind the curtain to capture the most controversial, passionate, risky and high-profile Broadway season in decades.

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Cast

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Hope Clarke ...
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Nancy Marlowe Coyne ...
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Storyline

Follows the four high-profile productions that would eventually become Tony nominees for Best Musical of 2004: "Wicked," (currently the highest grossing musical of all time), the Rosie O'Donnell/Boy George musical brought from London, "Taboo," Tony Kushner's "Caroline, or Change," and a grown-up puppet show called "Avenue Q." Digging behind the scenes, from casting and out-of-town previews to the suspense-filled Tony Awards, "ShowBusiness" provides an engrossing look at the inner workings of Broadway musicals. Listening in to critics around the dinner table, interviews with the creators, footage of rehearsals and openings all combine to make this one of the most entertaining documentaries (and dramas) about the world of musical theater. Written by Andrew Stephens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Real Drama is Behind the Curtain.

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and some sexual references
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

19 April 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Showbiznes: Droga na Broadway  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$8,829 (USA) (11 May 2007)

Gross:

$151,792 (USA) (29 February 2008)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song that Idina Menzel sings over the credits is a much-changed version of "Lullaby of Broadway," written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren. The song originally appeared in the Warner Brothers film Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)and won the 1936 Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was one of many Warren and Dubin songs eventually included in the 1980 musical "42nd Street" (based mostly, but not entirely, on their 1933 movie of the same name). The version that Menzel sings in this documentary was arranged by Jan Folkson and Jeanine Tesori and given an almost entirely new tune, as well as some new lyrics - a spoken interlude drawn from Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay's 1920 poem "On Broadway;" Billy Porter performed the McKay portion of the song. See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are intercut with outtake footage of the film's subjects, including: a clip of "Caroline or Change" director George C. Wolfe discussing his love of dairy foods such as cheese and ice cream during a rehearsal, Alan Cumming visiting a psychic, and "Taboo" star Euan Morton lifting the kilt he wore to the Tonys to reveal that underneath, he is wearing boxer shorts with the Scottish flag on them. See more »

Soundtracks

Moon Trio
Lyrics by Tony Kushner
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Sibble Songs and That's Music to My Ears, Ltd.
Performed by Tonya Pinkins, Harrison Chad and Adriane Lenox
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User Reviews

 
A True Valentine to One Tumultuous Broadway Season Full of Insight and Energy
10 June 2007 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

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" 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 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.


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