SINGULAR SENSATION, A NIGHT OF BROADWAY STORIES: Gordon Hughes, left, and Michael Reidel at the New York Union League Club. Photo by Helen Rella.

By Gordon Hughes

Singular Sensation is a song from A Chorus Line and also the title of a new book written by Michael Riedel. For those of you who are not familiar with Mr. Riedel, he is the theatre critic for the New York Post, an author and has a morning show on WOR radio with Len Berman. That radio show, incidentally, is a great way for New Yorkers to start their day. I had the distinct pleasure of introducing Michael to an audience at the Union League Club on November 23rd. Michael has been making the rounds talking to folks about his latest book. It was a treat to be Michael’s opening act that evening. I had actually first met him at The Players, a theatrical club, in 2015 when he was introducing his book Razzle Dazzle.

Razzle Dazzle was the precursor to his current work Singular Sensation. Michael is what I would call a chronicler of the Great White Way. In Razzle Dazzle he covered Broadway from the early 60’s to the late 80’s and early 90’s. Two of the high points of this wonderful book were, first back in the 60’s when producers would raise money for a show and then would sometimes buy a boat instead—think of Max Bialystock in Mel Brooks’ The Producers. Those days are a thing of the past with new protective laws that have been initiated, so that that behavior no longer exists. The second take away was Michael’s insight on the transformation of Broadway shows. At the end of the 80’s Andrew Lloyd Weber’s music spectaculars were all the rage; shows like Cats, Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard. Singular Sensation picks up where Razzle Dazzle left off. This was the beginning of a major shift in Broadway shows. Starting in the early 90’s he tells us about productions such as: Rent, Chicago, Lion King and Angels In America, that came on the scene and ushered in a new era on Broadway. Michael always includes stories of the staging, the producers raising money, huge egos as well as the passionate people who make this industry what it is. All and all it was a delight to spend an evening with Michael, listening to his facts, anecdotes and his rapier wit. It was indeed quite an evening as his passion for Broadway held the guests at the ULC in rapture.

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