If it looks
like a Rialto and reads
like a Rialto and quacks
like a Rialto ...
Almost a Rialto by Fergus McGillicuddy
The 1999-2000 Broadway Season
Anyone who thinks Broadway is dying or dead should give The League of American Theatres and Producers a call - as I did earlier this week - and ask for the latest list of reserved opening dates for new Broadway shows. (Producers who have a show ready to go in to production can "reserve" an opening date with the League, to insure two or more major shows won't open on the same night. At least, that's the plan.) Totaling up all the officially registered shows and dates, and all of the shows that have announced intentions of coming in, though without a specific date at the moment, we get some interesting numbers.
If all the currently announced shows make it in to Broadway in the remaining 11 months of the 1999-2000 season, we would see 41 musicals (29 new and 12 revivals) and 26 plays (11 new and 15 revivals) opening before next June. And, if we believe history repeats, there are at least a dozen more unheralded shows out there somewhere ready to make the jump if the chance presents itself. Of course, with one thing or another - primarily the lack of Broadway theatres - most of these productions will not make it in this season. But, just for a moment, imagine what Broadway would be like if they did . . .
Broadway's 50 Greatest Stars
Anyone who has visited the All That Chat forum these last few days couldn't help but notice nominations are coming in fast and heavy for Talkin' Broadway's official list of Broadway's 50 Greatest Stars. (Nominations will continue to be accepted via the forum until Noon, Monday, June 21, 1999. See the latest UPDATE on the forum for the nominees already accepted and instructions on how to nominate the performer(s) of your choice.)
Oddly enough, even though the forum has seen well over two thousand nominee-related posts since last Tuesday, nobody has thought to question just why we are creating this list.
Talkin' Broadway wants, with your help, to create an important historical document, a snapshot if you will, of the thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and opinions of the informed and enthusiastic theatregoer in these the last few months of the 20th Century.
Future historians - when they turn their eyes to the Broadway theatre at the turn of this century - will have the names of all the performers, designers, and technicians who have won awards, the Tonys only first among many. What they would not have, until now, is a list of names, created by the collective nomination and selection of almost a thousand individuals who, for the most part, have no direct involvement with Broadway other than as extremely well-informed and critical audience members.
If you study the list of nominees, you will realize that a surprising number of the performers on it have never won major theatre awards. You will also be struck by how many major award winners have not - for one reason or another - been nominated.
The Talkin' Broadway list of Broadway's 50 Greatest Stars is, therefore, our special and unique gift to posterity. It is a snapshot of our collective consciousness, a statement made by we the people - or, should I say "we the audience?" - that here are the names of the performers who, at this point in our lifetimes, mean the most to us. These are the performers who have made us laugh and cry, who have affected us in untold ways, and who we have remembered whether we last saw them yesterday or 50 years ago.
Instructions on how to request an e-mail ballot will be posted on the All That Chat forum Tuesday morning, June 22. Ballots may be requested through Friday, June 25. Completed ballots must be returned so as to arrive at Talkin' Broadway no later than 6 PM EST, Monday, June 28. The official list of Broadway's 50 Greatest Stars will debut on Talkin' Broadway Thursday, July 1, 1999.
Voting will be restricted to individuals who have registered and been accepted as members of the All That Chat forum on or before June 20, 1999. Security measures, to insure each member only votes once, will be explained in the ballot and strictly enforced.
Personal note to V.J. Damnit, V.J.! What the heck are you still doing on that darn boat up there in Alaska with all those icebergs? Didn't you see Titanic? Please come home. We miss you. (And, I finished off your good Scotch yesterday.)
Wanna' talk to others about this column or anything else theatre
related? Check out All That Chat