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Making It on Broadway: Actors' Tales of Climbing to the Top

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  167 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Countering the misperceptions about Broadway performers leading glamorous lives, the words of more than 150 Broadway stars provide unprecedented insight into their struggle for stardom. With an introduction by Jason Alexander and candid interviews with today's most celebrated Broadway stars, this book offers stories to entertain and astonish theater lovers, as well as serv ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Allworth Press
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Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you are debating pursuing Musical Theatre as a career, you NEED to read this eye-opening book. I read this book about 6 or 7 years ago and it literally changed the trajectory of my life, as cliche and exaggerated as that sounds. Having grown up being very involved in music, dance, theatre, singing, etc., I was completely set on going into musical theatre as a college major and then as a profession (of course, assuming that I would go to New York). This book went beyond the bright, glossy vene ...more
Joey Goodknight
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really cool read to learn about the personal/professional lives of broadway actors. Should also help with my once-a-year bouts of screw-it-all-i'm-going-to-try-and-make-it-on-broadwayitis.... I was a little disappointed that the stories weren't more long form: going in I thought it was a collection of like 5-10 long stories about people's journeys, but I did end up liking the vignette format. I also worry at this point that the book might be dated so I would love to read a follow up or updated e ...more
Mar 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: professional New York music theatre performers
Shelves: favorites
A must-read. I like acting books the best that take the idealism out of it and tell you the way it really is. I talked to some people who found this book depressing, but it had the opposite effect on me; I found it to be really encouraging and inspiring.
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book at a friend's recommendation and it was an easy and enjoyable read.

The book is a series of anecdotes from Broadway actors sharing various aspects of their work. The stories are funny, heartwarming, sad, eye opening and everything in between.

A few of the stories really stayed with me, like Doug Storm's recounting of the little girl and the signed Les Mis poster. I loved the parallels drawn by Marsh Hanson between a Broadway career and the song "What I Did for Love" from A Choru
Dec 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
GREAT BOOK! I was given this book as a gift and wasn't sure if it would be any good based on the cheesy title and goofy cover. But once I began to read it I realized it was full of treasure!
Making it on Broadway is full of interviews with working (or out of work...) Broadway actors. They talk about every imaginable aspect of their journey to making it on Broadway. They discuss their first jobs, their first apartments, living out of their car, auditioning, rehearsals, performing, and the crazy p
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is both depressing and uplifting. You are treated to several anecdotes about how hard a Broadway actor's path is, and it is an upsetting reality check for anyone who thinks that the lifestyle is all glitz and glamour. I also found it quite sad that so many of the actors seemed disillusioned and disappointed with the direction in which Broadway was heading (being corporatized).

On the flip side, it was very uplifting to realize that the people who have "made it" are dedicated to their cr
Jul 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
If you think that being a performer on Broadway is easy, romantic, glamorous, or will make you rich, just read this book. Stories by many Broadway performers are chronicled, including why they became an actor/singer/dancer, how they auditioned and auditioned and auditioned before appearing on Broadway, how they tried to make ends meet in one of the most expensive cities in the world on an actor's salary, as well as an inside look taking a show on tour, and what tricks they had to make their perf ...more
Apr 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Aimi by: Erica Hansen
If you have any ambitions to be on Broadway, this is a must read! If you just love theatre in general, you will enjoy this book! This book is literally made up of quotes by those who are and have been on Broadway. Many of them, are Tony award winners and nominees. They talk about their experiences from moving to the Big Apple all the way to their Tony Award experiences. I loved reading this book because it tells you the truth behind everything and what to expect. It's also full of great stories ...more
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book was incredible. It was so inspiring to hear from legions of Broadway actors who had BEEN THERE. They know what it's like, and hearing about the experience changed my life. I realized that unfortunately it's not as "dreams do come true" as the Season 1 finale of Smash, but it also really motivated me. And the fact that they got anecdotes from Lea Salonga and Idina Menzel just made this book even better. Anyone who has ever dreamt of being a Broadway star NEEDS to read this book.
Sep 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theatre
I read this at a time when I was convinced I was going to become a musical theatre celebrity.
It gave me many realistic, practical stories about why one should never go into musical theatre unless there is nothing else one CAN do.
Even after giving up my Broadway dreams, this is still an interesting & informative read.
Stephanie Kelley
Sep 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I felt this book had a lot of good insight but I've heard from a lot of contributors that they took the most negative points of the interview and stuck those quotes in the book which I find to be a bit unfair. But it was a good read and I'll definitely be referencing it again in the future.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great book, but there were definitely parts I didn't like. For instance, I certainly hope the actors I've seen aren't half assing it! I was also disappointed by how judgemental many of the actors were of the audiences.
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: acting-books
To summarize this book:
1. People creating idealized hopes and dreams of "making it" on broadway and basing their happiness on the success of this dream.
2. People find out broadway is not ideal in any way shape or fashion.
3. People are unhappy.
Caroline Strange
Dec 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
this book gave me a realistic view of how Broadway really is...not really glamorous, but if you can't imagine doing ANYTHING else, then theatre is for you. :)
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: acting, theatre
Takes the glamour out of the dream but it helps you to keep from being too disappointed with the reality of that dream
C.A. Gray
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went to see an absolutely incredible touring performance of "Newsies" that left me in tears. When I was in high school and even after, I used to think that my dream life would be to be on Broadway... only I didn't have the guts (or the talent) to pursue it. So that night I googled the lives of the performers, wondering if it's really as glamorous a lifestyle as it seems. What could be better than belting at the top of your lungs and doing backflips before a standing ovation in an enormous audi ...more
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I really did. The only issue is that they mainly showed the negatives of Broadway, and less then one chapter was about the positives of it. While I know that this is real life, it would've been nice if they asked the actors about any happy memories of Broadway. I was looking for inspiration, and I got that, but I was also left with a sour image of Broadway. It was still interesting to read about their experiences in the business. If you want a brutally honest review of Broad ...more
John Porcaro
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a complete and total Broadway nerd, I loved everything about this book. I read it over the course of about 3 days and found it absolutely fascinating and fun. If you're at all interested in anything 'Broadway' I would recommend it. It's basically a series of interviews with professional actors who are sharing their stories both on and off stages.
While it's a little dated because it was written about 12 years ago, lots of the stories are still surprisingly relevant and there were a lot of rea
May 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a great book for someone who knows nothing about Broadway. It's realistic and truthful and really good for a student who might be interested in pursuing this as a career.

As someone who works in the industry on the production side, I'm not really the intended audience. I didn't finish the book because it just wasn't that interesting to me...I already knew most of what was in here (and agreed with much of it). But, good for students.
Dec 26, 2015 added it
Trying to scare a teen out of a career pursuing musical theatre? Then this book is perfect. It takes every possible approach to attempt to convince the reader that they are not meant for this. They use filth they use unstableness. Yes it paints a realistic picture, but they didn't show how fulfilling it is for those obsessed with this career to get a break.
May 27, 2010 is currently reading it
Trying to keep up with Gwen . . .
meredith ann
Oct 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: theatre, ebook
a really fascinating look into the life of broadway performers through short antecdotes on a number of topics. a lot surprised me!
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Daniel Horst
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Peter Quay Wright
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David Wienir is a business affairs executive at United Talent Agency and entertainment law instructor at UCLA Extension. Before UTA, he practiced law at two of the top entertainment law firms where he represented clients such as Steven Spielberg and Madonna.

Amsterdam Exposed: An American's Journey Into the Red Light District is his fourth book. His previous books include Last Time: Labour’s Lesson
More about David Wienir

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