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The 1990s was a decade of profound change on Broadway. At the dawn of the 90s, the British invasion of Broadway was in full swing, as musical spectacles like Les Miserables, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera dominated the box office. But soon after, a new wave of American musicals was ushered in, beginning with the ascendance of an unlikely show by a struggling writer who reimagined Puccini’s opera La Boheme as the smash Broadway show Rent. In a moment where the future of performing arts is uncertain, what can we learn from the lessons of Broadway in the 90s?
With singular insight from this decade of triumphs and disasters, theatre columnist Michael Riedel joins us in conversation with Broadway producer David Stone to explore the resilience of live theatre. Together, they look at the transformative 90s—high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, tough Tony Award battles, and more—and the recovery of the arts after 9/11 to consider a future. What are the current efforts and innovation that we’re seeing in the performing arts? What could live performances look like in the post-pandemic world? What are the obstacles and opportunities for an industry that is such an essential and important aspect of human life and connection? Don’t miss this poignant reminder that Broadway has ups and downs, but the show always goes on.
Michael Riedel has been the theater columnist for the New York Post since 1998. He began his radio career as regular on the Imus in the Morning show in 2011. In 2017, WOR asked him to co-host its morning show with sportscaster Len Berman. Riedel’s book Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway won the Marfield Prize for arts writing in 2015.
David Stone is one of Broadway’s leading producers and is currently represented around the world by productions of Wicked. He has also produced over a dozen other Broadway hits including The Boys in the Band, War Paint, If/Then, Next to Normal, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and more. Stone serves on the boards of The Broadway League and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. He also serves on the advisory boards of V-Day and Second Stage Theatre.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.