PictureMichael Riedel talking with students
Michael Riedel is the theater columnist for the New York Post, and co-host of the weekly talk show Theater Talk on PBS. His recently published book, RAZZLE DAZZLE: The Battle for Broadway, has been praised by The Washington Post, New York Times and others for pulling back the curtain on the fascinating, sometimes gritty and controversial behind-the-scenes world of one of the most famous entertainment empires ever - Broadway. 
Vanity Fair has said of him:
"Half of Broadway hates him. The other half leaks to him." 
And described him as the "assassin of Broadway".

Riedel visited DC's School Without Walls High School with FABUM artistic director Jameson Freeman on Friday, May 20th, and shared some amazing stories stories from his personal and professional journeys with a large and enthusiastic group of students. He spoke about the connection between creativity and personal growth, the importance of passion, as well as some inside scoops about a few of Broadway's biggest productions and personalities. The thoughtful questions from students kept coming until the school day ended. 

School Without Walls is unique in that its student body has young people from all eight of DC's Wards. 

Riedel was in Washington, DC to receive the Marfield Prize/National Award for Arts Writing from the Arts Club of Washington. FABUM coordinated with Sass Brown, administrator of the award, to bring Riedel to the DC public charter school before he returned to New York City.

RAZZLE DAZZLE is a vivid biography of Broadway itself, full of larger-than-life characters. It begins with the inimitable story of the three Shubert brothers, theatre moguls who had a presence across the country and by the start of the Depression owned and operated some of New York’s most important and prestigious theatres. But by the 1970s, Times Square had become the seedy symbol of the city’s decline, and the Shubert Organization found itself losing money and business as tourism fell off and theaters were demolished to make room for parking lots. Bernard Jacobs and Jerry Schoenfeld, two ambitious board members, saw the crumbling company was ripe for takeover and staged a coup. While battling corporate intrigue, personal betrayals, and criminal investigations, Jacobs and Schoenfeld managed to solidify their power and turned collapsed theater-owning holding company into one of the most successful entertainment empires in the world. They went on to revitalize Times Square, change the face of New York City, and produce many of Broadway’s most iconic productions, including A Chorus Line, Cats, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and Mamma Mia!

In RAZZLE DAZZLEthe drama on stage is often overshadowed by the intrigues behind the scenes. Drawing on extensive interviews and research, Riedel has created a comprehensive insider’s look like no other, examining influential figures and Broadway legends such as Michael Bennett, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Hal Prince, Frank Rich, and more while exposing bitter rivalries, unlikely alliances, and—of course—scintillating gossip. This is a great story, told with wit and passion as only Broadway’s most respected (and feared) commentator could. 

Pictures from the afternoon:

 


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You can really see how Michael Reidel is really enthusiastic on sharing his knowledge and experiences with the students. It's a good thing that the school invites experts to teach their students every once in a while. Broadway is a hard dream to tackle. The thing is, Broadway is starting to lose its sparkle to the audience because of new and more innovated ways to entertain people. I am just glad that there are still young fellows who are interested to succeed in such passion.

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