Singular Sensation (Hardcover)

The Triumph of Broadway

By Michael Riedel

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster, 9781501166631, 352pp.

Publication Date: November 10, 2020

Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (11/10/2020)

List Price: 28.00*
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The extraordinary story of a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring gripping behind-the-scenes accounts of shows such as Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, and The Producers—shows that changed the history of the American theater.

The 1990s was a decade of profound change on Broadway. At the dawn of the nineties, the British invasion of Broadway was in full swing, as musical spectacles like Les Miserables, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera dominated the box office. But Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard soon spelled the end of this era and ushered in a new wave of American musicals, beginning with the ascendance of an unlikely show by a struggling writer who reimagined Puccini’s opera La Bohème as the smash Broadway show Rent. American musical comedy made its grand return, culminating in The Producers, while plays, always an endangered species on Broadway, staged a powerful comeback with Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. A different breed of producers rose up to challenge the grip theater owners had long held on Broadway, and corporations began to see how much money could be made from live theater.

And just as Broadway had clawed its way back into the mainstream of American popular culture, the September 11 attacks struck fear into the heart of Americans who thought Times Square might be the next target. But Broadway was back in business just two days later, buoyed by talented theater people intent on bringing New Yorkers together and supporting the economics of an injured city.

Michael Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop, bringing readers into high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more. From the bitter feuds to the surprising collaborations, all the intrigue of a revolutionary era in the Theater District is packed into Singular Sensation. Broadway has triumphs and disasters, but the show always goes on.

About the Author

Michael Riedel has been the theater columnist for the New York Post since 1998. New York magazine has called his column a “must-read” for the theater world. Michael began his radio career as regular on the Imus in the Morning show in 2011. In 2017 WOR, New York’s oldest and highest-rated station, asked him to cohost its morning show with well-known sportscaster Len Berman. The Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning show is the highest-rated morning radio program in the New York City area. Michael’s book Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway won the Marfield Prize for arts writing in 2015 and is widely considered to be the successor to William Goldman’s celebrated 1967 book about Broadway, The Season. A graduate of Columbia University, Michael lives in the West Village.

Praise For Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway

“A masterful history . . .  Broadway aficionados and pop culture geeks will be entertained by this fascinating survey.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A very smart, very serious look at the business of Broadway, told with lacerating wit and keen insights into how it works—and how it doesn't." —Scott Rudin

“[A] brisk, insightful, and deliciously detailed take [on Broadway] . . . An entertaining diversion for fans until the curtains rise again.” —Kirkus Reviews


“This book is a love letter to Broadway, both a splendid history of this American institution and a wonderful account of how art gets made. It made me fall for Broadway’s magic all over again: its history and its myths, its heroes and its villains, its up and its downs, its dirt and its dish, its failure and its glory.” —Hugh Jackman

“There have only been a handful of books in history that have come close to accurately depicting the energy and drive that run the business of Broadway. Michael Riedel’s Razzle Dazzle joins that very short list that includes William Goldman’s legendary The Season and Richard Maney’s classic Fanfare—and is every bit the equal of those books that those of us who love Broadway can recite by heart.” —Scott Rudin

“Razzle Dazzle is a fantastically fun book, full of high energy, anecdotes, and wit. Michael Riedel lays bare the secret history of Broadway in all its grease paint, shady dealings, and shining moments. Written with love but also a piercing eye, this is one show no one should miss.” —Amanda Foreman

"Riedel brings enthusiasm and authority to this rich, lively debut history of New York theater in the 1970s and '80s. . . . Riedel masterfully builds suspense as he chronicles productions from idea to stage to reviews to Tony Awards. A captivating gift to theater lovers."Kirkus (starred)

"Fabulously juicy." The Chicago Tribune

Razzle Dazzle by Michael Riedel, the New York Post's flamboyantly mischievous Broadway columnist, tells the thrilling history of the larger-than-life impresarios who helped transform the Great White Way from cultural ugly duckling in the seedy 1970s to the grand billion-dollar swan it is today.” —Los Angeles Times

“The trouble with Razzle Dazzle is . . . you can’t put the damn thing down.”Huffington Post

"Michael Riedel’s new book, Razzle Dazzle, brings this gritty world [of 1970's and 80's Broadway] back to life. . . . Riedel unearths treasures from the recent past and contextualizes events that would otherwise be too easily forgotten." —The Washington Post