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Publisher's Summary

Razzle Dazzle is a provocative, no-holds-barred narrative account of the people, money, and power that reinvented an iconic quarter of New York City, turning its gritty back alleys and sex shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way - and bringing a crippled New York from the brink of bankruptcy to its glittering glory.

In the 1970s, Times Square was the seedy symbol of New York's economic decline. Its once shining star, the renowned Shubert Organization, was losing theaters to make way for parking lots. Bernard Jacobs and Jerry Schoenfeld, two ambitious board members, saw the crumbling company was ripe for takeover and staged a coup amid corporate intrigue, personal betrayals, and criminal investigations. Once Jacobs and Schoenfeld solidified their power, they turned a collapsed theater-owning holding company into one of the most successful entertainment empires in the world, ultimately backing many of Broadway's biggest hits, including A Chorus Line, Cats, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and Mamma Mia! They also sparked the revitalization of Broadway and the renewal of Times Square.

With wit and passion, Michael Riedel tells the stories of the Shubert Organization and the shows that rebuilt a city in grand style, revealing backstage drama that often rivaled what transpired onstage, exposing bitter rivalries, unlikely alliances, and, of course, scintillating gossip.

©2015 Michael Riedel (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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A good play or musical is emblematic of what we love about entertainment—a chance to escape, to be fully immersed in another world, to engage with our most human emotions in a moment brought brilliantly to life by the talents of impeccable performers. It's possible to get your fix of the Great White Way in the comfort of your own home. Here are just a few of our favorite theater audiobooks to tide you over until curtain call.

What listeners say about Razzle Dazzle

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too long and boring in spite of a vibrant subject

Long winded and recitation of facts and figures rather than real storytelling style. The narrator operated at the same pitch- a kind of whispered urgent delivery that would be fine for certain instances but as a whole book was really difficult to listen to. There were so many theater owners ,producers ,operators that I couldn’t keep them apart and was overall extremely disappointed and I love Broadway!!

2 people found this helpful

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Razzle Dazzle does Dazzle

Michael Riedel puts his undergraduate History background & insiders knowledge of Broadway & it's movers & shakers to showstopping good use in "Razzle Dazzle". Part Theater History, how Broadway was developed, part personality history of influential producers & creatives -- directors, composers, playwrights & performers and the back stories on Broadway's most successful shows & painful flops, this book covers it all. It makes you want to listen to those shows & find your old Playbills. It will join the ranks of Goldman's "The Season" if you love & want to fully appreciate Broadway.

2 people found this helpful

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INTERESTING, BUT NOT GREAT

The book is almost three separate stories. The beginning recounts the story of the large theater owning families. The middle is about some of the iconic producers. The third part is about some of the most popular productions of the past 40 years; Cats, A Chorus Line, etc.

1 person found this helpful

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Good story

A nice history of Broadway as seen through the lens of the Shubert organization.

Best listened to at 1.5x speed.

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Great story, awful reading.

I love the book and the stories here, but the narrator is awful. He makes everything feel so smarmy and sleazy. Even when the people aren't.

3 people found this helpful

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Beloved Stories Ruined by a Bad Narrator

This is clearly a book for people who love theater and never get tired of hearing the same old stories. But those are also the same people most likely to be bothered by hearing the mispronunciation of the names of treasured people and places. For example, the accent is on the second syllable of Tony-winning actor George Grizzard's surname, which rhymes with the word "hard." Similarly, the famous Central Park West apartment building that has been home to theater celebrities ranging from Eddie Cantor to Fred Ebb is called the San Remo with a long e. A truly professional reader would have done his done homework.

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Very Interesting and Highly Entertaining!!

Such a fun listen. If you love musical theater, this book is a in depth journey from the beginning of Broadway through 2015.

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Riedel Dazzles

As an avid fan of Broadway and theatre history, I found Riedel's book both fascinating and engaging. He divides the history into the various stages of Broadway's history including The Golden Age, The British Invasion, and the Disneyfication, among others. Riedel has the ability to personalize each historical interaction as though he was in the room as things were happening. His in depth look at Schoenfeld and Jacobs and their relationships with such Broadway characters as Merrick and Bennet shines a whole new light on the famous theatre district and the shows that have inhabited those historic theatres. A great read for any theatre nerd or Broadway novice. Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

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Astounding

Makes me want to move to Manhattan, as close to 42nd Street as possible! The narration was very energetic

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Most informative book ever on Broaday

What made the experience of listening to Razzle Dazzle the most enjoyable?

the narrator was wonderful and the book written so well with so much Razzle dazzle if you will. so much great information will review it again and again.

Who was your favorite character and why?

the info on the Schubert's especially JJ was amazing. would be a great moview.

What does Peter Berkrot bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Just his attention to every word and liveliness of his delivery as if he started reading and never put the book down. Really exceptional narration.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the miracle of someone like Michael Bennet what he brought to it and left there even after a pretty short career. What a marvelous character.

Any additional comments?

Anyone who has ever uttered the word Broadway should pick up this book. What treasure.