Sammy's Reviews > Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops

Not Since Carrie by Ken Mandelbaum
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's review
Jun 13, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: b-the-good
Read in April, 2006

I had to write a book report on this for school, so the following is an excerpt taken from that. It's much to long to put the whole thing on here...

"This book is definitely a must-read for all of those that plan on putting a Broadway musical on in the future. This is a perfect guide book to help you avoid putting on a flop. It tells you about what to avoid, whether the time is right, and signs your show is doomed. Especially nowadays this book is a must-have seeing as practically every failure has been done already and if you repeat the failure, it’s even more of a slap in the face and there’s bound to be someone standing there saying, “I told you so.” It’s almost a history book of all the battles lost on the Broadway stage, who doesn’t like to read/see about failure. Though it does get dry and text-bookish at times the book still had it’s moments of interest. Also, since many of these musicals are flops that happened in the 50s-60s, most of the readers may have never heard of the shows, so Mandelbaum will recap the synopsis the best to his ability. He also has a non-critical outlook on each show, gently pointing out what went wrong, along with highlighting the great things about each show. There were maybe two shows in all that he mentioned he didn’t have one good thing to say about. Also, due to the content of the book, the reader is often left shaking their head, wondering why any one would be stupid enough to put on a musical based on certain subject matters or in certain performance arenas. The reader may also be shocked to see that some of their favorite musicals are listed as flops, because they may have only heard the score or cast recording. Most of the musicals in this book, surprisingly, have beautiful scores, and it’s often why regional theatres sometimes make the mistake of repeating failure by wanting to put on the show again, thinking the storyline and the score is great they don’t look into why the show failed in the first place. This book also comes in handy as a guidebook for that. If you’re desperate to put on one of these flops again, you can look it up in the book, see why it failed, and try to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice."

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